The delicious food, the amazingly nice people, the sites, the experience, Japan is one of our favorite places. Thankfully one of our friends moved there recently and has an extra bedroom (thanks Ken!). Before the planning was done, 5 of us from Seattle decided to go. The photos below will give you a taste of our time there.
I took 2,900 photos in the 15 days we were gone. You can see a set of 135 photos on Flickr.
The photo below is one of my all time favorites. We happened to be a Meiji Shrine in Tokyo just as a wedding party walked through with snow coming down really hard. It seemed to snow everywhere we went.
One reason we went this time of year was for Yuki Matsuri, the annual snow festival in the northern city of Sapporo, Hokkaido. The event attracts 2 million visitors who come for the giant snow and ice sculptures. It was also very cool to spend an evening with Michael and Takako of Smashcut Media.
The ice sculptures were amazing - I call this one "see food."
The seaside town of Otaru, outside of Sapporo, has it's own snow festival that is all about hand-made snow lanterns and delicious sushi.
Sachi and I split from the group and went to the less-visited southern island of Shikoku. Sachi's Japanese speaking helps in getting off the beaten track. In the central part of the island is the Oboke Gorge, which gave us a chance to stay in an Onsen Resort Ryokan called Kazura-bashi.
The water-level view of the Oboke Gorge.
The bag you see here is all Sachi brought for the whole trip.
We moved around a lot. In fact, not counting subways in Tokyo, we rode 18 different trains, including one of my favorite modes of transport: the Shinkansen.
Every single train was on time to a matter of seconds - amazing.
In Nikko, north of Tokyo, this monkey screamed, walked up to me and took a harmless swipe at my leg before retreating. Scary for a bit.
All in all a wonderful vacation. I plan to have another post soon about visual thinking in Japan. After that, we'll return to regularly scheduled programming.