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Old 11-17-2012, 10:35 PM   #16
EvilinaDM101
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I am having fun, but it is tiring. But fortunately I'm going to Disneyland tomorrow!
Disneyland tomorrow!!!

Can't wait to read and see your pics!!
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Old 11-18-2012, 12:20 AM   #17
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Super crowded today! Hope you are enjoying TDL!!
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Old 11-18-2012, 09:27 AM   #18
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Day 3 - Shinkansen and Kyoto

My former boss said that the highlight of her trip to Japan was riding the bullet trains. While she was a mean, grumpy, crotchedy old lady, I knew I had to ride the shinkansen on this trip, so I bought a 7 Day JR Rail Pass, so we could travel to other parts of the country

So on day three we took the shinkansen to Kyoto. Here comes the train!



Honestly she was right. The bullet trains are incredibly awesome. Super comfortable and quick. Why there is so much push against high speed rail, and improved public transportation in general in the US is beyond me. The transportation systems in Japan, including the trains, subways, and buses are so much better here. Better than driving in my opinion. /rant over

Once we got to the station, we bought a 500 yen day pass for the bus and headed over to Kiyomizu Temple. Here's a pic of me and my friend on the bus. I'm the more excited one!



The streets leading up the slope to the temple were filled with little restaurants and shops and were pretty cool in and of themselves.





The temple is really famous for the "stage" platform.



From which there is a really awesome view.



After that, we headed over to Nijo Castle. I will tell you that I am a terrible sightseer. For the most part, I rush over the descriptions of the history and significance and mostly am there just to look at the cool looking things. So I couldn't really tell you the significance of anything here, as I didn't bother to read or forgot. (Same with the last Temple).

So in that spirit, here are some photos with no captions!









After that, my friend did some record store shopping (he buys records in Japan and flips them on eBay in the US), headed to a vegetarian restaurant, and that was our day in Kyoto. We headed on the Shinkansen to Osaka, staying in the tiniest hotel room I had ever been in up to that point in my life to get rested for our day in Osaka!

Next up: Day 4: Osaka!
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Old 11-19-2012, 03:29 PM   #19
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Super crowded today! Hope you are enjoying TDL!!
No kidding! It was crazy on Monday too. At least I got to go on Pooh twice. That is the best ride EVER!
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Old 11-19-2012, 07:41 PM   #20
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No kidding! It was crazy on Monday too. At least I got to go on Pooh twice. That is the best ride EVER!
Yes! Monday was pretty crowded! What happened is that for some schools it was a make up holiday because they had a school event on the weekend. Today the crowds are lighter.
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Old 11-22-2012, 08:37 AM   #21
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Day 4 - Osaka

So things might start to get blurry. It's been more than a week since I actually was in Osaka.

The only thing we really did this day was go to Osaka Castle and ride the Ferris Wheel.

So we headed out on the Osaka subway line, which compared to Kyoto's subway, was a breeze to navigate. The subway to Osaka castle, exits directly to Osaka Castle Park.



Cool fountain at the front of the park





View of the castle from beyond the outer and inner moat. We really need more moats in the United States.







View from the 8th floor of Osaka castle.

It really was a lovely park, so that was a really nice bonus as well



We then headed for a restaurant near Osaka Aquarium for lunch. Nearby there was a huge ferris wheel. Japan loves their ferris wheels. I saw at least 6 during the trip to Fu kuoka on the bullet train and two were in pretty small towns.



The Ferris Wheel was pretty awesome and gave you great views of the bay and of the city. The worst part was that as we approached the top, it started raining and hailing so it was really loud in there and nerve-racking





We then headed to America Town to do some shopping - mainly at record stores for my friend, but I also got to go to the Disney store for vinylmation. The area had quite a few interesting shops, including this gem which I'm pretty sure was not officially licensed.





Sweet manhole cover.

After that I mainly waited for Andy to finish record store shopping, and we went to dinner at Nataraj, an Indian restaurant with vegan options. On our way to dinner, we actually got lost, but fortunately found it in time. The japanese address system is ridiculous!

Also some random thoughts about Japan.

- The Japan address system is crazy. It's good Andy has a phone here or we would be lost all the time for sure.
- No Diet Pepsi or Diet Coke. Boo!
- Lots of Kawaii stuff here.

Next up: ***uoka and Sumo!
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Old 11-23-2012, 01:48 AM   #22
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Loving the fall colour in your pictures. Looks like you're having a great time.

Thanks for the updates!
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Old 11-25-2012, 05:50 AM   #23
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Day 5 - ***uoka

Well, I'm up at 4:51 due to jet lag and sleeping on the plane, now that I am back in AZ.

The next day we headed to Fu kuoka, for what was undoubtedly one of the non-Disney highlights of the trip. We went to see a sumo tournament.

So the sumo tournament is an all-day affair, lasting from 8 am to 6 pm or so, with the major players starting around 4 pm.

We got a late start to the day (well, late for me), and ended up leaving from Osaka to Fu kuoka around 11 am. We ended up getting there to Fu kuoka around 1:30 pm. I was actually really impressed with Fu kuoka, as the city looked very nice and modern. My friend tells me it is one of the most livable cities in the world.



So it was too early to head to the hotel to check in, we headed via bus to the Kokusai Center for the tournament with our luggage, thinking there would be lockers at the center for us to store our stuff. Of course, when we got there, we didn't see lockers, so we had to hoof it back to Hakata Station to find lockers big enough for our luggage. (This is when my friend was starting to get annoying because he was getting so flustered unnecessarily)

On the way there, we saw some lower level sumo doing some touring of their own.



So after walking back to the station and then bussing it back to the Kokusai Center, we finally got into the venue. Also it turned out they did have lockers, though they were too small for our lockers anyway.





When I was little, there were three sumo wrestlers from Hawaii (where I am from) that were doing very well in Japan, so sometimes sumo tournaments would be on tv, so it was cool to see a tournament in real life.

(Also, I am a big guy, so two people commented to my friend, who speaks Japanese, about the stables recruiting me )



While the bouts are usually only a few seconds long, it really is amazing to see these athletes move. For big guys, a lot of them are pretty agile.





I have many more pictures, but am not sure of the rules here regarding the content, since they are almost bordering on nude. :lol:

They also had these awesome sumo cookies for omiyage.



After the tournament, we walked 20 minutes to the Tenjin area to visit a vegan restaurant, that we found out had moved when we got there. At this point, my friend was really freaking out, so I decided to hail a cab to head to another vegan restaurant.

It was a really cute little restaurant. But we ended up eating some gyoza, karaage (fried) soy chicken, and other stuff I forgot to take a picture of. He was in much better spirits after that





After that, we headed back to Hakata station to get our luggage and walked to our hotel. the hotel hokke club. Mo pictures, but this was actually the biggest room we stayed in. Not huge, but it was an okay size. the place had a public bath as well, which was pretty relaxing.

coming soon: day 6 in fu kuoka
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Old 11-25-2012, 05:30 PM   #24
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Love the sumo pictures; such a shame about Disboard rules!

Was that soy chicken a combination of soy/bean curd and chicken or was it a mock-chicken thing?
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Old 11-26-2012, 01:26 AM   #25
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Love the sumo pictures; such a shame about Disboard rules!

Was that soy chicken a combination of soy/bean curd and chicken or was it a mock-chicken thing?
it was a mock chicken. i ate mock karaage chicken on three occasions and all were pretty good
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Old 11-26-2012, 02:43 AM   #26
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Looks like a really fun trip so far!! You're giving me ideas for what to do the next time I make it up there

Can't wait to see the Disney portion!
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Old 11-29-2012, 11:41 AM   #27
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Day 6 - Fu kuoka

It's ridiculous that I have to type Fu kuoka, instead of ***uoka.

Anyway, it was mostly a slow day in that we didn't do that much sightseeing, and I mostly waited for my friend as he did record store shopping.



The main thing we did was head to Canal City to shop. It's a pretty neat mall, with a lot of different stores, including a Disney store, where I got some vinylmation.



One of the coolest stores in there was Muji which was essentially a smaller department store. I really liked the displays they had in there. Floating kitchen tools and toothbrushes!





We then headed over to the Tenjin area so that my friend could do some record store shopping. It was a nice walk. It even went through the "red light district" though it was still pretty clean. A few of the stores had older men or women outside trying to convince us to come in. They were barking up the wrong tree.







Once we arrived at the record stores, I was basically waiting for about three hours. I strolled around the area as I waited, and got lost. I was pretty much freaking out at this time, so I turned on my roaming...bad idea. I turned it on for less than a minute and incurred a $50 charge. Eventually, I managed to find my way back again. Thank goodness. Even after that, my friend was still shopping, so this time I headed just one block to the Mitsukoshi store.

Japanese department stores are so awesome, especially the basements full of food stands! The variety is awesome and everything is so cool. US department stores need these food basements! : They had stands for baked goods, croquettes, dim sum, sushi, sweets and much much more.





At this point it was 15:30, and we had missed the lunch hours at most vegetarian restaurants. So we went back to the same place we visited last night. They had cafe hours, and weren't serving lunch, but were nice enough to fix up something for us since we had a nice chat with them before (or at least Andy did).

More record store shopping after that. As Andy did that, I visited a little temple that was in the area.







Later that night, we headed back to Osaka to stay in the smallest room I have ever stayed in in my life. The bed was flush against the desk and walls. One cool thing about the bed though was that you could raise it so that you could have more space when not using it.

Not raised



Raised



Cool, though I was afraid that Andy might try to squish me.

Next up: Another day in Kyoto.
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Old 11-30-2012, 02:41 PM   #28
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Day 7 - Kyoto

On Day 7, Andy and I decided to split up. He wanted to do more record store shopping, so while we planned to visit Kyoto together, he just decided to stay in Osaka, while I went to Kyoto and met his friend Mitsu there (Mitsu is the friend we were staying with in Tokyo).

I arrived in Kyoto around 8:30, where I met Mitsu. He had taken the bullet train over for the day so that he could visit some of Kyoto.

At the train station, we stopped by the Information Center where they sold the 500 yen day bus pass. Again, these were very helpful. With the bus map they give you it was relatively easily to figure out how to get where.

First up, we went to Kinkaku-ji or the Golden Pavilion. Of all the places we visited in Japan, it was the most picturesque. It really is just a beautiful sight. Even though it was raining, it actually made it quite serene and beautiful.













There were actually a ton of people there.



We then headed two bus stops over to Ryoan-ji, famous for its Rock Garden. The temple had a nice pond.





And while it was just rocks, there was something incredibly peaceful and calming about it.









After that, we headed two more bus stops over to Ninna-ji, as the person at the information center had suggested.







After that we headed to the downtown area to a Takashimaya department store. It had a Disney Store inside of it, so I could buy one more blind box and so that we could buy our Tokyo Disneyland tickets.

I asked to head down to the basement to check out the food, where they had these cute buns.



We headed up to the restaurant floors to grab lunch. (I cheated on my vegetarian diet, since Mitsu is definitely not a vegetarian). We got some dim sum and chinese noodles which were delicious.

As it turns out, it was raining all day in Kyoto, and by mid-day it was really coming down, so that put a damper on our plans. I was hoping to visit Arishiyama and possibly, Fushimi Inari, but I was over the rain. We decided to get our tickets for the shinkansen back to Tokyo, and we headed back for the day.

Coming up: Tokyo Disneyland!
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Old 11-30-2012, 07:00 PM   #29
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Nice update. Lots of rain in Kyoto.

So...you're pretty much a vegetarian? My DH is a vegetarian, although he eats seafood. We love the restaurants that serve the mock-meat substitutes in Asia, if it is done well.

Looking forward to your posts on TDL.
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Old 12-01-2012, 12:36 AM   #30
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So...you're pretty much a vegetarian? My DH is a vegetarian, although he eats seafood. We love the restaurants that serve the mock-meat substitutes in Asia, if it is done well.
Pretty much, though I cheat on occasion. Sometimes those poor little animals are just too delicious.

There are some great vegan restaurants in L.A. and even in Phoenix that serve the mock-meat. Sometimes the Asian restaurants are more hit or miss for me. Some places do it really well, and in fact, most of the mock-meat we had in Japan was really delicious. Just gotta find places that do it really well.
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