I'm so excited to start blogging Japan, luckily I took notes during our holidays otherwise I'd probably have forgotten everything by now :p
We had such a lovely start to our holiday, with everything running so smoothly for us on our flights (two upgrades!) and navigating the airport and checking into our hotel :) Although word of warning don't watch a potentially sad movie on your flight if you're anything like me. I was watching it during the time when they had turned off all the cabin lights and it was hush hush sleep time and I honestly just wanted to do that really loud sob cry after watching, Everest but had to internalise it all :P oops!
It was super freezing cold when we got into Narita (for me anyway!) and after too many hours of travel (even if it was smooth sailing) I was over everything but once we got to our hotel room, I definitely found my second excitement wind and we went round the corner to dine on our first (of many!) kombini/convenience store meals and take one super long hot bath :)
I think I naively remarked at this point how amazing and easy eating in Japan was going to be for me, although probably good to still be naive at this stage - ignorance is bliss :P
We stayed one night in Narita at U City hotel, which for me was a perfect place to stay - cheap price, simple amenities and free shuttle bus from the airport. If you like your comforts in a hotel, U City might not be a wise choice but suited our needs just fine :). We had arranged for our campervan (through camgo) to be dropped off at the hotel at 10am the next morning and since we strangely got up early (excited much?) we wandered around the streets of Narita.
I also woke up with a flu, so bought myself a face mask to wear, luckily I only needed it for one day but it was fun to pretend to be Japanese and start indulging in some of my favourite quirky things about Japan. I think the face mask concept is really sound - they cover most of your face keeping it nice and toasty and hiding your sickly face + prevents others from getting sick too :) unfortunately, I don't think they'll catch on anytime soon in Australia :p The flu also meant my ears where blocked from the flight for the whole holiday, lots of googling later and I think the best bet from now on are ear plugs on flights to help with equalisation :)
This trip I fell in love with these topiary trees which I just learned are referred to as cloud trees - how cute is that! My friends who we visited has some in her backyard and I asked her about them. She said there are people you hire who do the service on your trees for you :) For me, the trees sum up another aspect I really love about Japan, this neat aesthetic that incorporates nature - I also thought it was funny that I'd never paid much attention to them before now.
Ume Blossoms! We were lucky to see lot of Plum Blossoms in bloom when we arrived 11th of March and by the end of our 3 weeks, lots of Cherry Blossoms :) I honestly think both are just as pretty but Sakura seems to be more sought after due to it's limited life of around 14 days (from my quick googling).
I took this photo of someone's yard and Ben and I both had a little chuckle about hoarders being everywhere! I probably should of taken a wider shot to show this persons neat neighbours on either side. Talking about wider shots, we had weight restrictions when flying to keep our tickets nice and cheap but that meant some hard decision when it came to choosing which photo gear to take. I ended up bringing my 50mm and 85mm both great but I was really lacking something a little wider and was a bit sad I didn't take my 35mm or 24mm lens :(
Once we got our Van, we headed three hours north to Tatebayashi in Gunma to meet up with my friends from when I taught English in Japan. On a side note, hiring a campervan in Japan is totally do-able and I'd 100% recommend it (I'll hopefully put together a little resource guide at the end of my blogging for those with any interest).
My friends, Mami and Benny took us to an outlet store in a nearby neighbourhood called Sano. Mami is the loveliest and I'm super glad I've stayed in contact over the years. I'm also sure I've talked about Benny before - he is the biggest legend in the World with a love of English and telling stories and being hilarious. If you have room in your life for another facebook friend I'm sure he would love more!
That night I got shouted to my favourite all-you-can eat place with every table having its own hot plate. Since grilling meat is out of the equation things were a little more interesting but hey, you can still grill vegetables :) :)
First Thoughts on Japan
- so neat & miniature
- everything beautifuly presented
- my limited vocab came back to me!
- wholesome - unique identity
- wholesome - unique identity
- beautiful archietcure