I feel pretty terrible about not updating my blog after Japan. It is hard to get these together without wifi or email. When I do have wifi or email while at port I am so overwhelmed contacting my parents and friends and checking up on facebook and twitter that my blog just kind of gets lost in it all. I thought I would write down a quick-ish run through of my stay in Japan for people to read and mostly for myself to have to look back on down the road when I am missing this crazy adventure. And I do mean crazy.
sorry that this is not proofread, I just wanted to get it all out quickly
Day 2 of Japan: Day two of Japan grace and I spent doing a cultural Tokyo tour through semester at sea. I am so glad that we did this tour because we were able to see things that would have been a huge pain in the but to see on our own.
Things included in the tour:
– Asakusa Kannon Temple
– Meiji Shrine with Harajuku District
– Imperial Palace Plaza
– Roppongi Hills Observation Platform
We left the tour early to check into our hotel, the Best Western in the middle of the ____ district. The hotel was actually so nice!! We loved it so much. The concierge was amazing and was about to contact our hotel for the next evening and arrange plans and such.
We walked around this area for a little while before we headed back to the hotel again to take a power nap and get ready for dinner.
This dinner we like to call the dinner from hell. Please google this place to get some laughs. It is called Locked up or Lock up.. it is in Tokyo. It is a themed restaurant where you are in a prison like atmosphere. Every table is in its own unique jail cell. You sit on the floor japanese style. The drinks were all these really strong drinks that were in like test tubes and crazy potions. It was just a really bizarre experience that i do not wish to replicate.
After this we went to a club called womb where I was let into a club without my friends being allwoed in. I thought that I was being sold into the sex trade. No fun. BUt clearly im safe.
AFter this we made some friends outside of the club while I was still mid-anxiety attack who we hung out with for a while before Grace and I headed back to get some sleep.
Day 3 of Japan:
Grace and I woke up in the best western to enjoy our complimetnary breakfast buffet. THankfullyt hey had a western style breakfast… they also had a japanese style breakfast buffet which was interesting to see.. google it…
After leaving breakfast we found the two boys that we had been hanging out with in the lobby of our hotel. Sprawled out on the couches wreaking of alcohol. Apparently after we left them they got trapped into a huge tourist scam. THe people told them that there were semester at sea kids in the bar. THey paid a $30 cover fee for unlimted drinks. BEfore they knew it there were basically stripperes trying to undress them. Luckily one of the boys noticed that the other boy was severly drugged. He had just finished hte drink that they had given him and he knew that he too be soon be drugged. He tried to get out of the bar as soon as possible. They charged his credit cards for thousands of dollars and took everything out of their wallets. Luckily they got home safe but it was just not a good experience for them.
We kind of laugh about it now. Maybe sometimes a little too much.
The boys decided to travel with us to Arima Onsen. (google it) Its this village located on a natural hot spring. One of the boys could not have been more disrespectful of the culture and grace and I were pretty appauled. While it was really embarrassing, looking back now we laugh so hard at some of the things he did. I guess it was out of anger for basically being raped and roofied the previous night. We took a bullet train all the way to Arima from Kobe. It was beautiful and COMPLETELY immaculate. Of course I slept the entire way (3 hours). When we finally got there we made our way to the Ryokan, a traditional japanese hotel. I can not begint o tell you how amazing this was. (google it). Upon our arrival we were greated with open arms and it really did feel like home. THey gave us tea, kimonos to wear, and a bag to take home with us. Our bedroom was huge with a mud room, bedroom, bathroom, shower, and tea room with huge closets. While we were at dinner our bedroom was made for us with traditional style beds on the floor. Grace and I literally could not get enough of this place. They even placed boot stretchers in our boots for us with little hearts on them. They gave us slippers to wwear with markers to mark or names or drwa a picture. They also gave us these weird toe socks that I of course had to take home with me. That night a bunch of the girls we were with rented a bunch of different hot spring rooms. They are rented for free but you just have to reserve them. ALl of the hot spring rooms are different sizes and shapes but they are all open to the mountains and they pump fresh spring water right from the ground. It was probably one of the cooolest things I have ever done. I will defintely post pictures.
After the hot springs grace and I had a traditioal 12 course japanese meal. We had the cutest waitress of all time who was obesssedd with us. The food was SO questionable… almost no idea what i was eating. Momma would be proud. We also had the BEST wine ever.. it was made from peaches or something? idk delicious.
Day 4 of Japan:
We woke up in the Ryokan at around 7:00 to make the most of the day. We went into a hot spring that we reserved at 730, followed by an 8:00 traditional mochi show and breakfast.
We arranged with the hotel to have them drop us off in this adorable village before we took a bus back to Kobe to meet the boat. They were so nice and kept ou rbags at the hotel for us and had someone drive them down to the bus stop when we were ready to leave. When we got into the bus to leave the entire staff of the hotel came out into the road and was waving at us. It may have beent eh cutest thing i have ever seen.
The arima onsen village was so quint and beautiful, my mom would have loved it. There was even a fresh hot spring int eh middle of teh village for people to put their cold tootsies in.
We took a 45 minute bus ride back to the boat where we literally coul dnot wait to get back.
It was so surreal finally seeing the boat. This was our first trip where we were really gone for a long time. IT was so crazy how relieved we were to see the boat. It REALLY does feel like home. I was so excited to see my room and get on my bed for a bit.
After hanging around for a little while grace and i explored Kobe for a bit while most people just stayd inside (we didnt want to waste a moment). I wont lie to you though, we did get mcdonalds lol
This night we went out with those boys again and random girls. Grace and I probably had one of the best nights of our lives. WE got back on the boat really late though and we had a field lab the next morning at like 8 am. Thats a whole nother story in itself
Day 5 of Japan:
Today was the Kyoto trip that Grace and I signed up for.
I dont want to get into details about this trip because its a little too much but mom and dad, don’t forget to ask me about it…. you may disown me though
I wish i could tell you which of these was my favorite but they were all so unbelievable
– Kinkakuji Temple (Golden Pavilion)
– Nijo Castle
– Heian Shrine
– Kiyomizu Templ