Island Hopping (6) – Yokohama

We took a day trip down to Yokohama to visit Amy’s grandparents. I’d say, it was one of the best meals I had in Japan. It was great to see a real Japanese home and kick back some sake with Ojiisan Endo.


Delicious home-cooked food. Fun at the izakaya. Late night video games. Late night street ramen. Awesome train ride back to Tokyo.

Good times.

Whiskey and Eggs
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Island Hoping (5) – Tokyo

I know my posting came to a stand still, but I took some time tonight to upload my photos from Tokyo. After Matsumoto, Steven and I headed back south to a warmer Tokyo. There, we met up Angela and a couple hours later some other folks joined the fun! More photos here.

Some things I learned in Tokyo:

  • The subway is pretty darn convenient. Plus, I like the pleasant sounds that play when they arrive in the station.
  • There are a LOT of Japanese people. This one is probably obvious, but when you are crossing the street in Shibuya, it is a little scary.
  • You can drink on the streets. Why buy drinks at the bar when you can walk across the street and drink in front of 7-11?
  • Tuna fish are big. I’d freak out if there were a bunch of these things swimming next to me.
  • I’m not sure how Japanese people are as skinny as they are because I would be 10 pounds heavier if I lived there. The fried chicken they sell at Family Mart (kinda like 7-11) should be taken seriously.
  • Only in Japan can you go to a bar called The Lockup and be handcuffed and served drinks with fake eyeballs in them.
  • Abercrombie & Fitch is not a clothing store. It is a daytime club with guest list and bouncers.
  • If you think getting a private karaoke room is fun, you need to try and get your own private virtual golf room.
  • The streets are so clean. Problem is, you feel bad littering so you walk around for blocks with random trash in your hand and no garbage cans to throw it away.
  • Tokyo is best enjoyed with friends. Thanks Atsuko for showing us around!

You Had Me At Hello
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Island Hopping (4) – Matsumoto

From modern Osaka, Steven and I headed north toward Nagano to Matsumoto where we got a much more authentic experience at the Muramyo Ryokan. Before you ask “Why Charles did you end up going to Matsumoto?”, the answer is simple. When planning the trip, we googled “samurai castles” and Matsumoto Castle is the second coolest castle in all of Japan (behind Himeji). Check out more pictures here.

Here are things we learned in Matsumoto

  • Japanese people are really nice. This guy was going to walk 10 minutes with us to our Ryokan when we got lost. It took a lot longer to explain to him that he didn’t need to escort us
  • Even when it is snowing and freezing, Japanese girls still walk around wearing skirts. Crazy.
  • Did I mention that Japanese castles are really amazing?
  • Not a big fan of horse sashimi
  • The really old ryokan was surprisingly very comfortable, not to mention the shared bathroom smelled very pleasant.

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Island Hopping (3) – Osaka and Himeji

Happy New Years! To help bring in the new year, some more Japan photos…

From Kyoto, we headed to Himeji for the day to check out the castle there and then back to a modern Osaka. Here are a few things we took away from these two cities.

  • Japanese castles are seriously amazing. I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves
  • Riding bikes around Japanese castles is even more fun than it sounds
  • It is really clean… everywhere
  • Blowfish is not bad… and hardly as dangerous as the Simpsons makes it out to be
  • Confused why they get small Japanese women to carry luggage to our room… it not only didn’t feel right, but she probably couldn’t even lift our bags anyway
  • I wouldn’t be surprised if there are more neon lights in Osaka than in Las Vegas

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