Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Mission: Japan in one week

So right about a month ago, November 19th to be exact, my little sister arrived for a visit in Japan. Our goal was to show her all of my favorite bits of Japan in one week. Our itinerary looked hectic, and believe me, it was. Unfortunately we didn't get to do everything on the list, but we got close. So here's the breakdown.

November 19th

Between arriving by airplane and making it back to the dormitories to take her suitcases and leave them in the safety of my room for the night, we didn't have much time. I did however pinch her cheeks, a LOT (much to her dismay), on the ride home because I couldn't believe she was here. 

Second order of business was dinner. We went over to Takadanobaba and had dinner at a restaurant called Mo-Mo-Paradise (Link to the facebook page here). It was really delicious and for about 1,800円 each we had all you can eat sukiyaki. :) 

Going to take a moment to say, I'm very proud of Alissa, for she ate the raw egg with me. :) 

With an hour to kill before our overnight bus we did what any good gaijin would do. We tried on silly hats at the Donqihote.

After taking forever and a half to find our bus stop we waited in the cold for a good 40 minutes for it to arrive. It came about 2 minutes before the departure was scheduled, so we got no breaks. 

November 20th

A very long bus ride later, we arrived in Kyoto and feasted at the McDonald's because... well, it was the only place open to be honest. 

Now. You think I would have learned the FIRST time I went to Kyoto not to trust Google maps. You think I would have also remembered how to get to our first destination. If you know me, you've already guessed, well, nope, nope, nope. 

We're lost. Just not admitting it yet.

Alissa wishes I'd asked for better directions.

I think I stopped caring that we were lost.
I made all the same mistakes. Only this time we got lost walking there from the bus stop. But, all told, we ended up where we wanted to be and hey, we were even early! Our first stop? Well, if you remember my first trip, I went to a photography studio called Maica. 

Overall, I had a MUCH better time this go around and I think the photos turned out super cute. 

Following the first of many new grey hairs my sister grew during our lost time, we headed out to the Golden Pavillion. Luckily for her sanity I knew exactly where we were going. 

 I can also now say that fall is officially my favorite season (and recommended season) to visit the Golden Pavilion. Just watch out for all the students taking their class trips!

The next stop on our itinerary was Fushimi Inari Shrine. Unfortunately we were both exhausted and I think Alissa was about to murder me since we were unable to sit at all on an overcrowded bus for more than 40 minutes. So we decided to head up to Osaka and check into our hotel early. I had planned on taking her down to the Japanese bath, but I unfortunately fell asleep at the ungodly early hour of 6 pm. 

November 21st

The game of "Where's Waldo?" Japan, officially begins. Unfortunately it was cold, so Waldo only popped out now and again. 

Our first stop of the day was Osaka Castle. After making our way through the park we went up into the shopping building at the base of the castle. I wore a silly hat.

We threw ninja stars.

Alissa then proceeded to buy ninja stars. (Funny story about those. I accidentally packed them in her carry on for her and after I had thought she cleared security I left the airport. Well, she hadn't cleared and she just barely made her plane after they made her throw them away. SORRY ALISSA!!!)

Then we toured around the castle. 

Oh. And these hats. We knew you wouldn't believe it unless you saw them. 

A gyudon (beef bowl) lunch later we headed to go see the biggest kofun in Osaka. My bad. You can't actually see it from the ground. A random bus ride and riding up an elevator to a really tall floor we finally got to see it. 

Well, kind of. It's that thing that looks like a park.

It was definitely fun and the guy doing the information "tours" was really interesting. We also randomly saw a replica of Sen Rikyu's (pretty much the father of Japanese tea ceremony - or at least one branch of it) tea room. So that was cool.

From there we went to my FAVORITE place in all of Osaka. Namba! :) I spent waay too much trying to (and eventually succeeding in) winning this Attack on Titan wallet I really, really, really, really, REALLY wanted. 

Levi-hecho is the coolest! *right after Mikasa of course!
 Alissa tried Tako yaki.

She did not like it.

 Of course, we also went and saw the Glico man.

For dinner we had Okonomiyaki. This Alissa did approve of.

However, due to a last minute stop at a game center we were running late to get back and catch our overnight bus back to Tokyo. So we took a taxi. I'm really glad we did because the taxi driver told us about a German festival happening right next to our bus terminal.

That's right. A German festival. In Osaka. We totally checked it out.

Tired, we headed back to our bus and back to Tokyo.

November 22nd

After arriving back in Tokyo we had to book it for my dormitory because I had class second period. Following this class (and Alissa amusing herself in our school's computer lab) we headed out to my FAVORITE ramen shop. You guys know the one. Briana and I have dubbed it crouching tiger hidden eagle.

Once more Alissa approved.
 Ueno zoo. Unfortunately we only had about an hour before it closed, but we did get to see the panda. :)

Waldo's back.

In the evening we met up with Mame and Eri and we went to Tokyo Tower! We ascended to the 150 meter level because the higher one was closed, but it was really fun! Here is a picture crazy photo dump.

 November 23rd

I'm just going to be honest. We were tired. Also, there hadn't been any tickets left for Disney Sea. So instead we went out and looked up at the Sky Tree and meandered around the shopping center. 

We then headed back to Takadanobaba for Alissa's party. This consisted of karaoke (we got a big, huge, AWESOME room!).

Izakaya which ran longer than our allotted time.  (They didn't kick us out and it was the same price, so it's all good. Right?)

We then stopped into the Takadanobaba Hub for one last drink before heading out to Jen and Isaac's place for the night.

Alissa is cold.

While I'm on the subject of Jen & Isaac, you two are boss. Thank you soo much for everything this year! Putting me and Chelsea up on game nights and random other nights. For hosting my sister and I at the last minute when other plans fell through. Thank you guys for everything! You two rock!

November 24th

We we were tired. We slept. Then we went and met up with Chelsea and at at Sweet's Paradise in Harajuku. Alissa made it there all by herself because I had stuff to take care of in the morning. Good day.

November 25th

 For her last full day in Japan we went to Nikko. Nikko is a really cool place full of lots of National Heritage Sites. Unfortunately it also takes something like 2 and a half hours to get there. So it was a long day, but, despite our hour long accidental stop over due to my mistake (my bad!), we made it there. It was really a wonderful place to go see. Unfortunately a lot of things are undergoing renovation, but it was fun. Here are some pictures of the day.

November 26th

 The last day. Alissa had a early-ish flight and, other than the aforementioned throwing star issue, the only other problem was that her luggage was slightly overweight. My bad. Remember the stuff I had to take care of on the 24th? Yeah, I was repacking her suitcases to send some of my stuff home with her.

 Overall a good week. A fast one, a busy one, but a good one. Alissa, get your butt back over here next time I'm here!


qwacksalot said...

So happy she was able to go and have the visit with you in such a beautiful place.

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