• asia,  japan,  travel

    Soggy send-off – Day 14

    Photos It was with great excitement and anticipation that I awoke this morning, only to have it dashed rather soggily as I discovered it was raining rather excessively. Festival fail. Unfortunately, this meant that the festival was pretty much canceled. It seems odd to me that for something like the third biggest festival in Japan, they wouldn’t have some sort of wet-weather plan, particularly when it occurs annually in October. I headed out mid-morning in the general direction of where…

  • asia,  japan,  travel

    Training to Takayama – Day 13

    Photos There is one thing I certainly won’t miss–the tiptoeing around in the morning so as to not disturb your fellow bunkmates. As I quietly got my things together, along with a quick good morning/evening to David, I said my goodbyes to my host–though not before correcting an English email he was sending (at his behest). I made my way down to the station and found my platform. I braced myself for what would be my most involved train day.…

  • asia,  japan,  travel

    A tour of Kanazawa – Day 12

    Photos My plan for the day was really to hit the highlights of Kanazawa. After answering a barrage of emails regarding my recruitment for my thesis follow-up study I’m running when I get back to Vancouver, I headed out the door. I went back to the station to grab my bus pass for the day and hopped on the Loop bus bound for Kenrokuen. The town is fairly compact (it only takes about 40 minutes to do the entire loop),…

  • asia,  japan,  travel

    Golden town – Day 11

    Photos My train didn’t leave until 10 am, so I was able to leisurely finish packing and surfing. I was a little leary of hauling my somewhat heavy luggage down to the station, but in lieu of spending money, I opted to just leave a bit earlier and take it slowly. It was a beautiful morning, and it actually wasn’t too bad a walk. I stopped briefly at a convenience store to get a sandwich and changed my remaining US…

  • asia,  japan,  travel

    Dance of the Geisha – Day 10

    Photos Today was my only full day in Kyoto, and thankfully it was a beauty. The morning sun beaming brightly I headed out just before 9 am, making a quick stop at a nearby coffee shop for an egg sandwich for breakfast. Kyoto was the city I had spent the most time in on my last visit, and I managed to hit a lot of the major sites. Thus, my plan for the morning was to see a few shrines…

  • asia,  japan,  travel

    Miyajima, monkeys and the A-Bomb – Day 9

    Photos What a day! My somewhat impulsive decision to head to Hiroshima for the day lead to my heading out the door at quarter to 8 to catch an 8:20 shinkansen. I had originally wanted to try and squeeze in two or three days in Hiroshima when I begun planning this trip, but found there really wasn’t enough time. However, the joy of having a JR pass is that you can impulsively decide to hop on a bullet train for…

  • asia,  japan,  travel

    Transiting – Day 8

    I awoke same time as always–my internal clock seems firmly fixed at 6 am–and got my things together. There technically wasn’t Wifi upstairs, but I managed to sneak a single bar and have a quick chat with D before I checked out. My train was to leave at 8:56 am, so I headed out around 8 am to catch a bus the host had advised me of. After pulling my luggage uphill to what I believed to be the stop,…

  • asia,  japan,  travel

    Shrinetastic – Day 7

    Photos It is somewhat ironic that I’ve been waking up at the crack of dawn for the last week, and on the day I actually need to get up at 6 am, it is rather painful. But nevertheless, I was up and out the door early, but not before the front desk took a couple photos for their website as well as printing one on the spot for me as a keepsake. Thankfully, the train station was only a couple…

  • asia,  japan,  travel

    Soaking away in bubbling bliss – Day 6

    Photos I awoke with somewhat of a plan for my last day in Tokyo. Upon conferring with D, I decided that I’d invest in one of the Hiroshige woodblock prints I’d spied the previous day. As each one is handmade, they can get pricey depending on where you get it from. The website provided by the National Museum listed their prints at around $130, which is odd considering they were about $100 at the museum shop (normally one would expect…

  • asia,  japan,  travel

    Art. Art. Art. More Art. (Tokyo edition) – Day 5

    Despite my brief bout of wakefulness at the ungodly hour of 3 am, I was actually up at the semi-decent hour of 7 am. The steady drizzle against my hotel window certainly slowed my morning preparations, and I leisurely chatted with D and got in a bit of work. Hunger pangs ultimately compelled me downstairs for a Pocky/Ritz cracker run to the front desk, which did well to tide me over for the time being. It was around noon by…