Wednesday, April 23, 2008

You Can Stop Bugging Me Now

So I know you've all been waiting with bated breath to hear more about my trip to Japan. I am finally awake enough to write about it. Also, I have finally narrowed down the candidates for photos to post. (Don't start giving me any grief about the large number of pictures I'm going to post about this trip because seriously, I could have just made you look through all 488 photos I took. And that number doesn't include 2 videos and the even larger number of photos the other people there with me took. Sheesh! Consider yourself lucky!)

Without further ado, I give you my trip in installments by day, sort of.


Okay, so depending on how you count it, what with the time difference and all, this part could cover day 1, or maybe day 1 and 2. Whatever. I shall use sleep time greater than 4 hours as my daily delineation for the purposes of this discussion. Day 1 it is. I left my house early Friday morning and caught a flight to DFW. From there I met up with my sister J who flew in from SLC, and my dad's two sisters, my aunt S and my aunt A, who flew in from LAX. (Doesn't everyone think in airport codes?) We all flew from DFW to Tokyo Narita airport. The flight was 13 some odd hours. Due to some error in my physical makeup, I couldn't sleep on the plane. But I sure saw a lot of movies. One or two of them were even pretty good. We arrived at about 1:30 in the afternoon Japan time on Saturday. We met up with my dad (who was traveling to Japan on business like he does almost monthly) in customs. Then we caught a bus to our first hotel. The bus ride took FOREVER because of rush hour traffic, so when it was all said and done I think I'd been "on the road" for almost 24 hours.

The hotel we stayed in for the rest of our trip was full the first night, so we got to stay in one two train stations away from our "real" hotel. This hotel was hilarious. As we walked around looking for dinner, we decided that, best as we could deduce, it was in the middle of a neighborhood full of "gentleman's clubs." But we did find some Korean BBQ that was delicious.

J and I shared a room and it was downstairs from the lobby. The ceiling was super low. As in the door to our room was short enough that the top of my head brushed the door frame. Also, the bathroom was small even by Japanese standards. It made the airplane lavatory seem luxurious. My aunt S had a room with a special 2 foot wide by about 8 foot long strip of room extending off the main part of the room her room so that there wouldn't be a wall splitting the outside window in half. Weird.


We took the train to our "real" hotel and then a business colleague of my dad's picked us up in the company van for a trip to Hakone.

For obvious reasons, I am not in a lot of the photos I took. But here is a shot taken by my aunt S that sums things up nicely. Japan saw a lot of this - G with camera to face:
It was drizzling, so we looked like dorks with our hoods on.

There is a lake there at Hakone that was created by an ancient volcanic eruption. On a clear day, you can see Mt. Fuji in the distance, but the day we went was very cloudy. Along the shore of the lake there is a torii:

Here is my sister looking at the lake. (Again with the dorky hoods.)

At the shinto shrines you can buy a fortune. If it's bad you leave it there so it won't come true. Here are the bad fortunes tied to ropes.

Cool roof line of the shrine.

My sister J assuming the "tourist look" of camera to face (again with the dorky hoods, sorry). I swear never to make fun of the stereotypical Japanese tourist taking pictures of everything again. That was so us. My aunts were taking pictures of vending machines and food in the grocery store.
"Goodbye dignity, we'll miss you."

Hakone also has a lot of hot springs:

They cook eggs in the hot springs. They come out all black. As if boiled eggs don't smell sulfury enough by themselves! Here is a picture of everyone taking a picture of the black eggs. (A meta-photo if you will).

My dad and I peeling eggs. They were actually pretty tasty.

Okay. That's all for now. Stay tuned for Day 3 soon!


Pickles & Dimes said...

Awesome photos! I love the torri on the lake.

azufelt said...

Love the pics and the hoods! Your hotel already sounded better than mine... my "room" was just large enough to lay out my Japanese futon roll onto the tatami floor. and the bathrooms were co-ed on each floor (I came out of the stall while some dude was using the urinal -not cool) and then there were 2 pricate showers in the whole place. or you could opt for the "bath time" but then you jsut got to sit in a big stinky hot tub with a bunch of other nude Japanese women (at least not co-ed here)

Looking forward to the rest of your travel log!

Kristen said...

yay, it arrives! thank goodness your sisters took picts of you holding a camera in front of your face, or i wouldn't believe you were actually there...those eggs look interesting and yummy

Brad, Maggie, and Bradley said...

I have heard of this egg cooking method before, my mom got to do this in Mexico City about 40 years ago when the springs were still not contaminated.

It looks like you had tons of fun on your trip!!!

Contact Chauncey or Melanie West said...

I finally figured out where your blog-not just your photos were! Looks like an amazing place to travel and see. I am so glad to did it!