A Travellerspoint blog

Japan

More pictures from Japan

I'm back in Shanghai now, currently dogsitting for a friend:

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Here are some more pictures from Japan

Tokyo:

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Kyoto:

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Posted by e1quarnst 01:54 Comments (4)

Japan

Hakone

We spent day 5 and 6 in Hakone. We took the Shinkansen from Kyoto. We saw Mt. Fuji from the Shinkansen, which was nice because we were not able to see it from Hakone.

Hakone is an extremely beautiful town, surrounded by gorgeous mountains (our guest house happened to be on top of one, to my dismay). We were able to purchase a pass, which enabled us to use all the boats, cable cars, and trains in the city for one set price. We went to a beautiful garden and art museum, and ate eggs cooked from the steam vents near a volcano’s sulfur pits. Unfortunately, the biggest draw of Hankone is to see an excellent view of Mt. Fuji – and the day we went the weather was too foggy.

Our hotel in Hakone was definitely the nicest – we got ukatas and tea sets, they even had an Onsen! We were treated to a very grand Breakfast and Dinner, which was worth the high price.

It turns out that Hakone is on the same line that I used to use weekly when I lived in Japan – the Odawara line. I recognized all the familiar stops – Odakyu-Sagamihara, Hon-Atsugi, Sagami-Ono, and Machida. I called Kega-San very excited, but we were unable to fit a meeting into both of our schedules. I was a little sad that I could not make it back to see the area I lived so many years ago, but who knows – there is always next time!

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Posted by e1quarnst 23:50 Comments (3)

Japan

Kyoto

The 3rd day we headed to Tokyo-Eki to catch the Shinkansen to Kyoto. The lightning-fast train made the trip in just a few hours. We had a hard time finding our guesthouse at first. I ended up stopping a random man on a bike to ask him if he’d heard of the address before. He then guided us around for about 15 minutes, asking random people in the street and going into stores asking people if they knew where the street was that we were looking for. If this kind of gesture of kindness from a stranger happened to me in China, I would automatically suspect a scam of some sort. We had many encounters with extremely friendly and helpful people.

It was also hard to get used to lining up for buses and trains and seeing people give up their seat not just for elderly people, but anyone that looks tired. And people actually leave a lane open on the escalator for people that are in a hurry! People were really very polite and didn’t spit, either.

First, we went to Gino, the Geisha district. My traveling buddy filled me in on the long and very interesting history of the Geisha, and we were actually able to see a few. The architecture is very traditional and uniquely Japanese.

The next day we visited the amazing Kiyomizu-dera, a Tendai Buddhist temple. Not a single nail was used in its construction! It is also a UNESCO World-Heritage site. There is an area where if you walk from one part of the temple to another with your eyes closed, you will find your true love sooner, not later. I cheated and opened my eyes, so I guess I’ll have to wait!

Next we visited the Fushimi Inari Taisha, an Inari shrine. It is an Inari belief that foxes are messengers, so there are many statues of foxes on the temple grounds.

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Posted by e1quarnst 00:44 Comments (2)

Japan

Tokyo

We arrived in Tokyo in the mid-afternoon, and quickly checked into our guesthouse so we could proceed to sight-seeing. First, we strolled down Ginza, the oldest and most famous shopping district in Tokyo. Then, we hit up roppongi for a few drinks before heading to see the pretty lights of Shinjuku. I played a few games of pachinko, and I can see now why it’s so addictive! I was also able to play arcades again, which are the world’s best.

The second day we toured the beautiful Buddhist temple, Sensoji. We also went down to the docks and saw the fish market – an enormous market that supplies most of Tokyo’s many sushi stores. We ate at a restaurant closby, and it was the best sushi I’ve ever had. The fish was so fresh it was almost creamy. Later in the day we walked around the grounds of the emperor’s palace. I insisted that we go to visit the controversial Yasakuni shrine, which honors ALL of Japan’s war dead since 1860 – including 5 class-A war criminals.

Next to the shrine is a very biased war museum that paints a rosy picture of Japan’s military history.

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Posted by e1quarnst 23:47 Comments (1)

Back in Shanghai

Enjoying life before school

Since getting back from Europe on Wednesday, I've been battling jet-lag and getting ready for the upcoming semester. Two friends from Michigan arrived yesterday, and will begin a masters program at ECNU. After speaking with them, I feel very optimistic about my chances of getting accepted in the Computer Science and IT masters program. And maybe get a scholarship, too! But I don't want to hope for too much.

A lot has happened in the months that I didn't write a blog entry - I traveled to Hainan Island, returned to Nanjing and Suzhou, as well as a few other places. So, I'll include some random pictures.

Sanya, Hainan Island:

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Nanjing:

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My class from last semester:
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Posted by e1quarnst 02:57 Comments (5)

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