The Return (お帰り)

I distinctly remember the rain on my last day in Japan, May 13th, 2013. After a few weeks of lounging around Kris’ spacious Kamigaya apartment, it was time to finally say a sad farewell. It wasn’t all terrible; I was Malaysia bound, with 8 weeks of travel ahead of me. Nonetheless, I will never forget saying “Goodbye” for the last time at Haneda airport.

In June of 2016 I finally returned. After years of dreaming I would someday return and practicing my Japanese, I made it back.

Continue reading

A Little Mexico in Tokyo

Mexican in Japan

Props to Taiki for always remembering to take pictures!

After a long day of on-going training on Saturday, a group of us decided to stay to play in Tokyo for a little bit. We shopped in Ginza and quickly visited the Apple store, then headed to Tokyo station to try out a Mexican restaurant and celebrate Taiki’s 21st!

I’ve eaten Mexican food in Japan before and it’s all been less than impressive. I realize now that it’s a very American thing. Well, for obvious reasons, it’s Mexican too. You know what I mean.

So, my hopes were high, but my fears were that it would be same old “Japan mexican.”  Continue reading

Just One of Those Days

DrivingYesterday, a group of friends and I decided to take a trip two hours north to our nearest ski slope, Hunter Mountain. As we drove, we noticed bad weather was moving in, but decided to give it a try regardless. Up in the mountain pass, my little car wasn’t cutting it, so we took a cab the rest of the way. This should have been our first sign.

We had an awesome time skiing, despite the bad visibility and somewhat icy slopes. Around lunchtime we saw friends posting pictures of our home towns further south covered in snow. Our second sign.  Continue reading

Kurisumasu 3 – Odaiba

写真 H.24-12-13 20 29 05Last Thursday, I hopped on over to Odaiba to see what sort of fun illuminations they’d set up. I really love Odaiba because it’s a completely man-made part of Tokyo and feels super futuristic. Not to mention, 10 minutes walking in any direction is something fun to do or see. It’s got everything from a full beach to an indoor theme park to a full-size gundam. No, seriously. Check out the pictures.

In my opinion, the ride on the Yurikame monorail is fun on it’s own. But, maybe that’s years of riding the People-Mover at Magic Kingdom over and over (it’s lame, go on, google it).

Anyways, here’s a few shots from the adventure.  Continue reading

Kurisumasu 2

Tokyu PlazaLast night, while shopping for survival clothes (a.k.a. sweaters for my Florida wardrobe) I got to see Harajuku officially all lit up for Christmas. The top of Tokyu Plaza, at my favorite Starbucks in Tokyo, is a huge Disney-themed light display out on the deck! It’s an amazing addition to an already amazing location! There were little disney characters everywhere too, so I hunted for Stitch, the Little Mermaid, and Peter Pan. (Success)  Continue reading

In Search of Snow

In Search of SnowSunday morning, after a night of battling with lanterns (I promise to write about it as soon as I get pictures and videos up), Kris and I were faced with our usual problem: what to explore. We talked about many great spots in Tokyo, a spontaneous road trip, or flying to China. Unfortunately the latter would require becoming mysteriously ill for a whole week, thus rendering both of us “unfit for work” temporarily. As generally honest people, we crossed China off the options list.

After debating over a fantastic homemade breakfast (admit it Kris) we landed on going for a random road trip in search of snow.  Continue reading

It’s Beginning to Look a lot Like Kurisumasu

Japan does Kurisumasu (Christmas) very similarly to the west. Most importantly, they decorate for it. Of course, houses won’t put up Christmas lights (typically) but most major shopping/sightseeing areas put up special decorations.

All the shops are decorated and sell special Christmas merchandise, to boot. If you can imagine the fine, adorable quality of Japanese stuff, it’s like a Christmas shop-a-holic’s heaven.

All over Tokyo, special “illumination festivals” are held during December, and Disney goes all out, too. I’ve taken it upon myself to personally find all of them in the greater Tokyo area. Continue reading

Japan + Disney Stuff = Love

These are all different hats modeled by Kris

I grew up with Disney world in my backyard and I went nearly every weekend for the first 9 years of my life. I’m serious. Thanks to being raised by a family in the media business, I enjoyed so many theme parks by the time I was 9, I actually didn’t want to go to Disney. Nowadays, of course, I’m a die-hard fan who can’t get enough Disney.

That said, if there is one thing that stands out to me as insanely different from the American Disney’s, it’s the merchandise.  Continue reading

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

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