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Kon-nichi-ha ~ こんにちは。

JAPAN | Friday, 7 December 2007 | Views [2038] | Comments [3]

Japan – to describe it in the form of a haiku…

Full of quirks and irks,

White faces, blood red rose bud lips,

Roots in Tradition

All in One Toilet

Efficiency in all things

Takoyaki balls

Meticulousness

Leading in multiple fields

Anime nation

Laugh or weep…. But I figured I’d give it a shot … =p Gotta keep this different!

We just got back last night from Japan last night…. and boy… was it an exhausting trip!It seems when you travel… or at least when Felix and I travel, the commonality in all our trips is “Go! Go! Go!” The goal is to visit as many places as humanly possible… and as a result… I got sick! BOOO to being sick! Don’t worry… I am a trouper… if I can eat a Bee… I can handle this. Thankfully my mom had a big pot of home made soup when I got back, along with a bowl of bird saliva to get me back to normal. (Yep, I said bird saliva… it’s a delicacy! AKA Birds nest!)  Maybe I should have filmed Felix eating it, cause he was NOT impressed… you should have seen his face…

Ok to the main topic! JAPAN! 日本! Felix and Stephanie’s Top three reasons for why you HAVE to visit Japan:

1) People watching is the ABSOLUTE BEST! Of the last couple countries we have visited in Asia… Japan definitely ranks as #1. The population is so diverse for one race! Its unbelievable… from the gorgeous office ladies… and I do mean DROP DEAD HOT… (and I am a girl sayings this!)… to the Ultra Cool Bad boys with pointy shoes that curl up, with strategic ripped  and teared jeans with long curly-ish hair, to the little old ladies in traditional dress with the tiny white ankle socks with the big toe and little toe separated to fit in the perfect wooden clog… I can go for paragraphs and paragraphs describing all the different types of people… you will just have to come and see for yourself!

2.) FOOD… everyone who knows me well knows I love to eat! And this place is amazing! We tried everything!! From the absolute freshest sushi at the Tsukiji Fish Market in Tokyo, to my personal version of Heaven… the Japanese Department Store Food Courts… but you really cannot even call it that! Its much more then a simple Food Court!  Its sooo high-end… they don’t even provide seating for you to eat there! (Which I still don’t understand!!!) Individual unique booths with exotic morsels of food prepared in such an exquisite manner… that you almost don’t have the heart to eat something so perfect. To simple street food, fresh ramen, takoyaki octopus balls, crepes in every flavor… (EVEN macaroni)

One thing I do not understand is their fruit!  Now I LOVE my fruit… but there is no way in hell I am going to spend $5 on an apple… even if it is the most perfect apple on earth! For whatever reason… all their fruit is exorbitantly priced. They are all grown in greenhouses, and just pure perfection in appearance, but $20 for about 10 strawberries, or $60 for a cantaloupe, or $40 for grapes is just RIDICULOUS!

3) The Japanese tradition and culture…. It’s a little beyond me, all the nuances and rituals that occur, but I definitely respect it. We went to a number of temples, shrines and castles… its Autumn in Japan now, which made for an amazing setting to see these historical sites with the leaves changing in color. We went to this one famous shrine called the Meiji Shrine, and we had to walk through this ginormous ‘amazing park,’ in the heart of Tokyo… right in Harujuku. (Which to those of you who don’t know is a bustling area similar to Queen Street… but bigger with weirder people!) It was so dreamlike… one second we are in this super cramped and busy intersection, and the next minute, we are walking in this really peaceful and Zen like park to this shrine.

There was a particular area in this place, where you can make a donation, and get a wooden plaque where you can write a wish! It had hundreds of, if not thousands of people’s wishes in all different languages…. Japanese, Korean, Chinese, English, French, German, Arabic….  People wishing for peace, for good health, for their love to last over oceans cause they will soon be separated… it’s heartwarming to say the least… You can just feel the goodness and purity pouring from that little section on the Shrine grounds. We were lucky we got there at dusk, just as it was closing… so it was so quiet with few tourists. Felix and I made a wish….take a peek at the attached  to see what we wished for.

We also tried to capture the serenity of the shrine on video… take a peek.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HCZWugyrgdU

Another observation, is that Japanese people are very considerate of others…. for example, for smoking outdoors, people bring their own portable ashtray so as to not ash outdoors (?!!!) Another example is a machine in the public toilet stall that plays flushing sounds to drown out your otherwise embarrassing sounds.  (Speaking of which, my dad, met the man who designed this machine, and he says he has now created a portable one, because without it, he cannot ‘go’ in public!!! Apparently he had some issues when he was in the U.S) Of course as nosy as I am, while I was in one of these such stalls, I pressed the button, to hear the sound.  It sounds like a recording of a toilet flushing for a VERY long time! Made me giggle! While on the topic of toilets… they also have a toilet seat warmer… which was a surprise when I sat down, cause… for me, that is JUST WEIRD! Also in every hotel we stayed in… they have a bidet built right into the toilet. I can say honestly that I did not try this one out… but the control panel said you can control the pressure and the temperature. Cool eh!

Japanese just have weird hobbies and contraptions in general….. take a peek:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5voHeZvL17c

All in all…. Highly recommend you visit this country! We visited Osaka, Kyoto, and Tokyo, and that is not even scratching the surface!

There is still so much that I wish we could have done….

I wish we could have gone to the Sumo wrestlers stables and watched a match, or gone to a Taiko drum performance… or as  my friend Eli did… she and her sister dressed up like Geishas, complete with white makeup and kimono for a photo shoot! (Felix flat out refused!) or go to the famous Onsen and submerge yourself in the hot springs in your birthday suit, or see Mount Fuji, or go to Yoyogi to see the locals in Cosplay. (My friend Carmen told me on Sundays, in Tokyo, locals dress up in these elaborate costumes from anime to goth and go out on the town!)

There is still so much we missed… we have to come back…!!!

Next stop is Bali, Indonesia… we are going to be spoilt rotten! It’s for my very good friends Freeman and Eli’s group honeymoon! They rented a luxury villa for just US (15 of us!! ) We just cannot wait! It’s gonna ROCK!

Christmas is coming up…. and it sure is different being in HK over the holidays…. To all our friends and family…. we wish you a VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS and a relaxing and indulgent holiday! We will especially miss the annual holiday festivities that have come to become tradition! Auntie Glenna, we are gonna miss your infamous Xmas Eve dinner at your house!!!! AA and Alex… eat EXTRA for us!!!

I am gonna miss our annual girls Xmas dinner, and Xmas day Brunch with Eggs benedict, and Xmas Day dinner at Felix’s house  and baking and decorating the house… and having Mao knock down all my decorations on the stair railings… =) Awww.. I miss you guys! Feel homesick now! Know that we’re thinking of you all, over the holidays!

And Felix… will miss… Hockey! The ideal Xmas gift would be someone to send him his gear so he can play here!! Hint Hint!

Tags: Adventures

Comments

1

awww...i'm super jealous about your trip to Bali for Freeman/Eli's group honeymoon! You guys are going to have an awesome time! Let me emphasize SUPER JEALOUS!
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! We really miss you guys. Don't feel homesick...time is gonna fly by! Miss you! xoxoxo

  Jaime Dec 19, 2007 7:24 AM

2

Hi, yes, Japan is one of the most under-rated countries I have ever been to. It used to be prohibitively expensive, but certainly not anymore. I lived there for a year or so, now have half-Japanese children and love to visit whenever I can.

If you are still there, here's a tip: go to Hakone or Izu and take an ONSEN (Japanese Spa). It really is a full on experience. The one I can definitely recommend is called "Unryu" on Izu. (http://www.jnto.go.jp/eng/location/rtg/pdf/pg-410.pdf)

Ganbatte.

  simon_monk Jan 1, 2008 11:50 AM

3

I def want to go to Japan at some point, mostly to see the fish market thing and to fight ninjas. Are u saying u wanted Flex to dress up like a Geisha? Do u realise that could be like asking him to dress up like a Geisha?

  King Jan 10, 2008 10:38 AM

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