The Travelogue Thread

ninjacoco

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Holy crap, everything about this trip rules so hard. Good luck!
 

JimCorrigan

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Final trip post below, but first the replies to the above...

All those car models... :blink:
I know. I've already informed my wife which ones I'd like for future gifts. :mrgreen:

Holy crap, everything about this trip rules so hard. Good luck!
Thank you very much! :)

For shopping in Tokyo I think my wife liked Shibuya the best. Ginza was nice as well if your wallet can handle it. Daiba was kinda meh...
Ginza's crazy. We didn't even bother. My wife is traditionally a bargain shopper, so she enjoys Shibuya for the fun aspects, but most of her shopping was from Ueno.

Which brings me to (sigh)...


Japan Day 19 - Tokyo Day 5. Final Day.

To say I am experiencing mixed emotions as I type this is a gross oversimplification.

For our final day, we took full advantage of our hotel being situated in the Chiyoda district. Kitanomaru Park was a 15 minute walk away, and we were blessed with more opportunities for lovely hanami with less dense crowds than Ueno Park a few days earlier.







Served piping hot, fresh Chinese style buns with near scalding hot red bean inside. Great late breakfast.













Since we were in the vicinity, I had to go see the (in)famous Yasukuni Jinja (shrine). Controversial this location may be due to representing those who served in the Japanese military during the Pacific War (and the Prime Minister's annual visit sparking understandable outrage among Koreans and Chinese), the grounds are undeniably pretty.

















Imperial Palace east gardens (the palace itself is off limits save for two days of the year, as it remains the primary residence for the imperial family).











A nice sit down bento lunch in Palaceside mall, where many locals go during work hours, the air con offering welcome relief from the warmest day of our trip thus far, after hours of walking under a completely uninterrupted sun.



A brief stop inside the mall's tiny Daiso, my wife purchased two small tarps/mats which we then used to relax under the blossoms in a cool afternoon breeze back in the park. A local young couple caught out, squatting on the grass while reviewing their own photos seemed grateful to receive these tarps when we no longer required them.









5 pm. To our hotel to reclaim our bags (and I had to drop the wifi "egg" that was so handy on this trip into the mail) and begin the journey home. I felt pangs of lament. At least I saw this road-worthy yellow 355 as we walked back to the hotel.





Three local trains and one express later, we were inside Haneda Airport's gorgeous international terminal. Thankfully, we had three hours before our flight, so we killed time wandering the upper floor's shops (charmingly mocked up and laid out to represent an Edo period village street).



This included a stop at a toy store where I finally got to play with an awesome Scalextric slot car course. 200 yen for 5 minutes: my wife chose the "pretty purple car", I chose the Carrera GT. Naturally, I kicked her ass, but a local then came around and schooled me thoroughly.

For our final meal on this trip, delicious (if a little pricey, we are in an airport) sukiyaki. Like the bento lunch before it today, this was exactly what we needed.

I can barely put into words how I feel right now. This may read as an ordinary travelogue, but Japan does things to me. Tonight's flight to Vancouver doesn't feel like a return home, it feels like yet another goodbye. I am leaving a place full of both superficial and deep cultural behaviours that can all too easily be described as odd to the average westerner, but still feels like as comfortable to me as the well oiled baseball glove you find when going over your old stuff at your parents' home. Japan once again became second nature, and my heart is as much here as it is at home. These are not the wistful, rose coloured glasses of a western tourist on a simple holiday. Rather, these are the declarations of one man's deep love for another country and its unique ways of life.
Leaving tonight feels like a break-up. Normal vacations don't do that. You enjoy the sights and the food and the drink, and once every few years you might review your photos to jog your memory, except the experience can never be replicated upon accessing those memory banks. For me and my wife, Japan is a love that only grew stronger with this second stint. It was fifteen years since my last go round. It will be but a fraction of that before I return yet again. And now that we've done our version of Japan's "Greatest Hits", we can next begin the process of getting to know the deeper layers of our mutual lover, the specific locations of future visits within the country less numerous, but longer in duration.

Promise me you'll have me again, Nippon, and I promise to return in short order. I whisper "mata ne," and I tell myself I hear the winds respond with "ki o tsukete."

(P.S. Also, thank you for continuing to uphold the most sacred tradition long lost in the west: "all airline workers must be incredibly attractive.")
 

Hok

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Thank you for all the pictures. I have never been to Japan but your reports and pictures definitively put it higher on my list of places I want to go to.
 

prizrak

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I would either die of starvation or diabetes in Japan, I literally would not put any of this in my mouth other than candy/cookies/etc...

Not enough car content :shakefist:
 

Cowboy

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I can barely put into words how I feel right now. This may read as an ordinary travelogue, but Japan does things to me. Tonight's flight to Vancouver doesn't feel like a return home, it feels like yet another goodbye. I am leaving a place full of both superficial and deep cultural behaviours that can all too easily be described as odd to the average westerner, but still feels like as comfortable to me as the well oiled baseball glove you find when going over your old stuff at your parents' home. Japan once again became second nature, and my heart is as much here as it is at home. These are not the wistful, rose coloured glasses of a western tourist on a simple holiday. Rather, these are the declarations of one man's deep love for another country and its unique ways of life.
Leaving tonight feels like a break-up. Normal vacations don't do that. You enjoy the sights and the food and the drink, and once every few years you might review your photos to jog your memory, except the experience can never be replicated upon accessing those memory banks. For me and my wife, Japan is a love that only grew stronger with this second stint. It was fifteen years since my last go round. It will be but a fraction of that before I return yet again. And now that we've done our version of Japan's "Greatest Hits", we can next begin the process of getting to know the deeper layers of our mutual lover, the specific locations of future visits within the country less numerous, but longer in duration.

Promise me you'll have me again, Nippon, and I promise to return in short order. I whisper "mata ne," and I tell myself I hear the winds respond with "ki o tsukete."
I know exactly how that feels, soon as you start to leave there is this nagging feeling, uneasyness, discomfort, by the time you get home it's full on hunger to go back, you try to ignore it, succeed somewhat on a superficial level, but it never really goes away.
The only way to end said hunger is to go back, 5 minutes there and you are settled, you're home again.
 
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CraigB

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I have enjoyed this very much, Jim. You have shown me a different side of Japan that car enthusiasts rarely see in the automotive media we tend gravitate towards. Someday I hope to visit Japan.
 

Redliner

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I know exactly how that feels, soon as you start to leave there is this nagging feeling, uneasyness, discomfort, by the time you get home it's full on hunger to go back, you try to ignore it, succeed somewhat on a superficial level, but it never really goes away.
The only way to end said hunger is to go back, 5 minutes there and you are settled, you're home again.
:nod:

For 8 years, a friend that moved to Denmark kept telling me how awesome the country (and to some extent, Europe) was.
I went there and found out that he was wrong. It was much better than I expected. I said it before: the USA, Uruguay China and Hong Kong are places that I want to visit again and explore, but I don't want to live there.
In 2014, I was in a terrible mood for a few weeks, because I wanted to be there, not at "home". When I went back, it felt like home and it was interesting and kinda funny to see Rebeca realizing I wasn't exaggerating and going through the same emotions I went when I was there for the first time.
All this babbling is to say that yes, I get it. :lol:
 

JimCorrigan

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Thank you for all the pictures. I have never been to Japan but your reports and pictures definitively put it higher on my list of places I want to go to.
Glad to be of service! Thanks for reading.

I would either die of starvation or diabetes in Japan, I literally would not put any of this in my mouth other than candy/cookies/etc...

Not enough car content :shakefist:
New Yorkers....

I know exactly how that feels, soon as you start to leave there is this nagging feeling, uneasyness, discomfort, by the time you get home it's full on hunger to go back, you try to ignore it, succeed somewhat on a superficial level, but it never really goes away.
The only way to end said hunger is to go back, 5 minutes there and you are settled, you're home again.
Where did you go that made you feel like that?

I have enjoyed this very much, Jim. You have shown me a different side of Japan that car enthusiasts rarely see in the automotive media we tend gravitate towards. Someday I hope to visit Japan.
Let's make it happen! It's such an amazing place, you just need to prepare appropriately (especially for the culture shock), but it is so very worth it.

:nod:

For 8 years, a friend that moved to Denmark kept telling me how awesome the country (and to some extent, Europe) was.
I went there and found out that he was wrong. It was much better than I expected. I said it before: the USA, Uruguay China and Hong Kong are places that I want to visit again and explore, but I don't want to live there.
In 2014, I was in a terrible mood for a few weeks, because I wanted to be there, not at "home". When I went back, it felt like home and it was interesting and kinda funny to see Rebeca realizing I wasn't exaggerating and going through the same emotions I went when I was there for the first time.
All this babbling is to say that yes, I get it. :lol:
Thanks for supporting this thread through all my posts, man!
 
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