My time in Japan was wonderful. I can't wait to return and explore it in more depth. I was able to do just about everything I had hoped to, as well as so much more than I thought would be possible. I have so many stories that I could tell about my experiences that if I tried to tell them all right now, I'd not be able to gain any new ones for quite a while. Since a picture is worth a thousand words, I'll tell a few stories with some pictures first. I will add to this post and the album I linked to above when I get time, and will create other similar posts for the next segments of the trip as I go. Travel blogging is quite difficult, and I will need to prepare a few more things for next time to make it easier. For example, it would be very helpful to have a computer to prepare things for the post, and then just upload things when an internet connection is available. Hopefully a light, compact, rugged, powerful, and not too expensive computer will become available before my next major trip.
Some highlights of my trip included:
Staying with two different Japanese families and eating traditional japanese foods at each home and at many nice restaurants. These foods included: ramen, sukiyaki, shabu shabu, chanko nobe, sushi, sashimi, sansai udon (edible wild plant noodle soup), dango, onigiri, and many others.
Walking through spectacular parks and gardens, including an immense sculpture garden.
Visiting many amazing shrines in the city of Tokyo and in a few more remote areas. There are shrines and sacred objects tucked into so many places in Japan, and it is a joy to explore and discover them.
Playing my recorder while Nana-chan played the piano beautifully.
Singing Karaoke in Japanese, Portuguese, and English.
Running up a mountain past many gravestones, past a shrine, through a hidden bamboo forest, cedars, clouds, and over rocks and roots to the top. And then running back down in time to change my clothes and catch my train.
Taking many novel forms of transportation around Hakone with Yamaguchi San, and then exploring the area on my own for a couple days.
Bathing in the bath at the resort hotel in Hakone.
Teaching origami at the Origami Center in Tokyo, meeting the director and talking with a cute girl who worked there, and receiving many souvenirs and gifts.
Exploring Akihabara with Ishigamori San and Yamaguchi San, including the Tokyo Anime Center where I drooled over some transforming robot toys and models, and a giant anime and manga department store with seven levels.
Learning about the history of Tokyo at the Edo-Tokyo museum, and seeing a complete collection of Hiroshige's 53 stations of the Tokaido ukiyo-e woodblock prints.
Making a hand-turned ceramic bowl at a craft-town, and then playing around at a river-side campground where I climbed a few retaining walls.
Driving through the mountains of Gumma and Nikko with Itoh San, and hiking around the flower-covered mountains, from which we saw some beautiful waterfalls and landscapes.
Studying the design of many products, interiors, and vehicles.
Learning Japanese as I went, and using it.
I'll elaborate on these highlights and add to the list as time permits. Thanks for your patience.
Labels: Japan, travel