How Japan Does Halloween

In anticipation of Halloween tomorrow, I thought the western hemisphere might like to know how this eastern country does Halloween! As you may have guessed, they DO celebrate it here. In fact, they celebrate it nearly to the same extent that we do in America, with pumpkin flavored foods, candy, and costumes. The biggest difference, of course, is they don’t do trick-or-treating at all. In fact, they don’t really wear costumes. I mean, a lot a kids will wear costumes at Disney, or with friends, and they are available in stores, but it’s a lot more rare.  Continue reading

My Time in ‘Nam

So far you’ve heard about my ride on a train, our trip to the hospital, and a snake-eating experience. These are great stories and all, but I thought you might like some insight into my thoughts about Vietnam. If I’m wrong, then stop while you’re ahead!

When Becky and I were looking for somewhere to travel over the summer, many destinations came up. We talked about Malaysia, South Korea, China, and many more. South Korea is actually near the top of my list for countries to visit in Asia, so needless to say, I was pushing hard for that one. In the end, Vietnam won out because the flights were the cheapest and we knew that while in ‘Nam, things would be even cheaper. When Becky said you can get beer for 80yen ($1) I was instantly sold. Grab your aviators, we’re going to Vietnam, baby.  Continue reading

3 Mistakes and 3 Successes Climbing Fuji

While we waited- one our successes

Of all the traveling I’ve done in Japan, Mt. Fuji probably had the most room for error. It’s a long climb, where resources and time are limited, and it can be quite dangerous in the wrong conditions. Having said that, from my previous entry, it’s safe to conclude that I was ultimately successful. That doesn’t mean, though, that I (we) didn’t make a few whoopsies along the way…  Continue reading

Eating Snake Hearts and Drinking Blood in Hanoi, Vietnam

Upon our arrival in Hanoi, we’re immediately encouraged to sign up for the big event of the night hosted by our hostel: the Snake Village Tour. The sign-up sheet was complete with an ominous looking red on black logo of an undoubtedly poisonous snake.

“What’s this?” Dana asks.

“Oh! It’s our snake village tour. You get to eat snake heart and drink snake blood! It’s really fun!” replies the broad gentleman in the cut-off shirt.

Eating snake hearts. Sounds fun.  Continue reading

Climbing Mt. Fuji (富士山)

From the top of Fuji looking down

Before coming to Japan, I compiled a list aptly named “Top Things to do in Japan.” As you can imagine, this included mundane things (drink bubble tea), exciting things (visit Hokkaido), and adventurous things (climb Mt. Fuji). Someday, the plan is to show you the list in detail. Until then, just know that I am working checking off every last thing. Back in July, I knocked the ominous “climb Mt. Fuji” off the list.

Actually, in all honestly, since I knew so many people who’d climbed it, I figured it was an easy task. In fact, I imagined well paved roads and information signs every 10 feet. Needless to say, I wasn’t fully prepared for the 8 hour climb up a nearly vertical gravel slope in the middle of the night at near freezing temperatures.

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The Post-Apocalyptic Saigon Hospital

Becky, braving the infection

Ok, so “post-apopalyptic” might be a bit of an over exaggeration, but not by a whole lot! While rock-climbing in Ha Long (I’ll write about that soon, I swear!) Becky managed to get a small scratch no larger than a piece of long-grain rice. Of course, it’s not that simple in developing countries, where the word “sanitary” has yet to enter the vocabulary. Within two days, it became a swollen, purple mass of scary. And by”scary” I mean that people would glance at it, make a startled noise and say “Oh my god! What happened to your leg?!” We were starting to frighten passerby’s. I supposed this is the time to visit a doctor. Of course, in Vietnam, you don’t go to doctors, you just go to the hospital.  Continue reading