Tag Archives: Japan

Blog Ni from Japan (or two in English)

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The day started with plans to head to the town of Hakone for a dip in some hot springs and nice view of Mt. Fuji.  However, it was sort of derailed when we got to talking to our host at the hostel, Lee, about a bunch of temples and shrines nearby in Kamakura.  The deciding factor was that Kamakura was only a 30 min train ride away as an opposed hour and a half to Hakone.

Entrance to the Engaku-ji temple

The first temple we went to was Engaku-ji, and we really can’t tell you much on the subject as every sign was in Japanese. In fact we found it very discouraging to wander around the place looking at buildings that had no explanation or meaning to us. Later on (with our friend google) we learned it’s one of the most important zen temple complexes in the area. As well that it was founded by a Chinese Monk in 1282 by the request of the Japanese ruler at the time to honor those who died in a war to fend off a Mongolia invasion the previous year.

We did partake in a tradition Japanese tea ceremony where you are given a cup of green tea, a couple little odd shaped sweets and a incense to put in a sand pit.  After the cup of tea we wondered around and looked at the last few buildings on site we didn’t see then moved to the exit.  In Kamakura, there are many many Buddhist temples and Shinto shrines all scattered throughout the city but after our initial experience with the temple we decided that one was enough. Besides it all being in Japanese characters, it wasn’t very affordable, with the entrance to every shrine at 300yen and 100yen more for each divided part once inside.

A little discouraged we hopped on a train to head to our original plan Hakone.  Enroute, we got side tracked once again in a town called Odawara looking for food and then side tracked even further when we found a castle in the town.  The only  castle in the surrounding Tokyo area.  Food wise we opted for something close to home, Kentucky Fried Chicken, it was no easier ordering here over anywhere else we’ve tried.  The chicken burgers, dare we say, were better than back home (just really small portions) and the pop selection was really cool, Aaron opted for some fizzy green unknown substance while Jessica stuck to the good ole Coke.  By the time we were done with the good ole kernel, the castle in town was closed (after we finally found it) so we just walked around the grounds for a while, which was free and still quite beautiful.

We were leary about trying to make it to Hakone, as a friend had told us a story about missing the last train and sleeping at the station, so we opted to wander around for a bit more before we left back to Yokohama. Walking around pretty aimlessly we wound up finding a hole in a seawall that lead to a beach, there was a few locals swimming and a couple fishing.  The evening was put to rest by just sitting on the rocks looking around and playing with the camera.  The day didn’t totally pan out the way we wanted, but did see a bunch of different things and we got to spend some lovely quiet time amongst the busy life here just lazing by the sea.

The View Of The Ocean

Things here start looking up by the next blog and all we can hint is that it involves an old friend for Jessica and 300 pound men.  Stay tuned and Thanks for Reading!

-Aarissca

Outside Odawara Castle

Yo from Yokohama

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Jim's Lip

Well it is day three here in Japan and we have to say that we are doing really well for ourselves. It seemed like a toss-up whether or not we would actually even make it out the door to the airport as in classic Jessica style someone wasn’t packed yet at 3am following a night-cap with some gfs…. I know the suspense has been killing you readers and we (mostly Jessica) are so excited to report that Jim DID shave off his mustache.  Much to Barbs dismay, who mentioned that “Jim has no top lip” and the mustache was no longer there to  hide that fact.

The flight to Tokyo was in total about 15 hours of air time, most of which we slept and we arrived here at approximately one in the afternoon.  We managed to purchase a subway ticket to Yokohama (with a little local help) and took a two-hour train to our destination.  Once we got off the train we proceeded to wander in circles lost until someone (in true Jessica style) batted her eyelashes at a man who walked us the entire way to the hostel.  The hostel is lovely by the way, and was all handmade by a Japanese & Canadian carpenter.  The entire thing is natural honey colored wood and has ship helms mounted on the ceiling.  We feel that we have almost mastered the train stations and have had many successes full wanders around, seeing the Landmark hotel, a carnival, and Japans own China town.

 

Gate at Japan's China Town

It has been a bit more difficult than we had originally thought to get around as not many people speak English, and most signs are in Kanji symbols   There are also many customs that the Japanese people abide by and we have seen that it is very offensive to some to break them, for example we were holding hands side by side on an escalator and an older Japanese man wanted to walk down instead of standing. He proceeded to yell at us in Japanese (we can only assume he was telling us to move over) so when he got by us we started to laugh. That obviously offended him because he chased us all over the shopping mall (literally) screaming at us in Japanese. We escaped him by walking quickly and not looking back.

 

Heart of love at the top of Landmark tower

The landmark hotel was very cool to go to, it had the worlds second fastest elevator and on a clear day you can see all the way to Tokyo and Mount Fuji. The day happened to be clear for us and the view was great. Lastly our struggles here have been with food. The meals here have been different from home, even sushi is nothing like Canadian sushi. Venturing out for dinner we purchased a rice bowl with pork and a Japanese man proceeded to crack a raw egg onto it which was to eat, as is. Not exactly our favorite food. China town had delicious noodles and Peking duck (we opted for roast pork because the duck was sold out) and was probably our favorite meal here. There is also healthy inexpensive meals at local stores similar to 7/11 in Canada where you can purchase fresh noodle bowls and take them home to cook. We have decided that this will be our go to food from now on. Today we are going to venture out of the city to Hakone and hope to visit the natural hot springs or Onsens (in Japanese) and will be meeting Jessica’s friend Lisa tomorrow for dinner in Tokyo, we are also hoping to catch a Sumo wrestle tomorrow.

The view from Landmark tower

It’s another busy day ahead of us full of annoying old people so thanks for reading!

P.S.  There is a comment section below, feel free to leave your interesting comments or questions.

-Aarissca