Thursday, March 31, 2011

Day Trip to Kamakura, Japan

I visited the old capital city of Kamakura, Japan while visiting the country. Kamakura became the capital of Japan in the late 12th Century following the defeat of the Taira clan by leader, Minamoto Yoritomo. Minamoto, a Shogun Samurai, and his successors ruled until the mid-19th century.  The people of Kamakura were highly influenced by Chinese culture and incorporated many aspects of Zen religion and architecture as well as Buddhist sculpture. Consequently, Kamakura has a very zen-like demeanor. 

The Great Buddha first constructed in 1252
The Temple
At the temple many people can get their fortunes told and make wishes. If you get your fortune told and you do not like your fortune you can tie it to the fence so your fortune will stay at the temple rather than come true. If you like your fortune then you can keep it with you. To get your fortune told you shake a box full of sticks until one falls out. Then you hand the stick to a lady at the temple who hands you your fortune. Mine was good luck! It said I would soon be feeling better!

A wall of wishes hanging on the Temple

Unwanted fortunes tied to rope in front of the temple

Sweet Potato/Green tea Ice cream
Although this may not sound very appetizing, it was actually quite taste. It was not as sweet as normal ice cream flavors and the potato was very subtle. Yum!

Two more things I loved
1) Green tea Kitkats! So Good
2) Heated seats on the subway! It's no wonder so many people fall asleep on the subway here. The warmth would put anyone right to sleep.

Six days after leaving Japan, the earthquake and tsunami struck. I was very lucky to avoid the quake, but many were not. Kamakura and Tokyo were the most amazing places. Nowhere else in the world is like Japan and we must help however we can to help Japan and its' people rebuild and recover. 

The most Adorable Children of Asia

Over the course of my trip I met some wonderful people, many of which were children. These kids were so cute and loved the attention of the camera. So adorable.

Cambodian boy waiting for his mother while she worked weaving silk

The leaders of the gang in Cambodia

The whole gang

Adorable Thai kid posing in front of a pagoda for his father

Whoops! No pants!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Check out these Badass Chicks!

Love their style! Get some!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Traveling is Exhausting

Fresh off the plane and sick as ever...Figures. Trip updates are soon to come! Promise! So happy to be home.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Konichiwa from Tokyo

Ater 11 hours on the plane the moment had finally come; I could see our destination. I looked down 10,000 feet to see what this new land beheld and....I swear we were back in Portland! It was cloudy and dreary, farmland covering the landscape. But, the flight attendant assured me that we were, indeed, in Japan.

So excited with anticipation, I gathered up my neck pillow, the delicious brownies I'd collected on the plane, and my books and set out for Tokyo!

By the time we had arrived at the hotel it was 2am in Oregon, but only dinner time here. So I fought the fatigue, and stepped out onto the street in search of some traditional ramen noodles.

After walking a short distance we (some of my classmates and I) stumbled upon a restaurant with a crowd of Japanese businessmen and woman waiting so be sat.

We decide to join the line. When we get to the front we can see a vending machine that we must order our meal from before being admitted into the restaurant. So I insert cash into the machine and press the button with the least auspicious looking picture of ramen. I enter the restaurant through the automatic sliding glass door and take a seat at a table.


The food arrives quickly and after taking a picture of my meal (like a total tourist), I grab for the utensils...AHHHH! Chopsticks!!! How the HELL do I use these things!?!? I should've taken some kind of training to learn how to use these little sticks because, oh man, it was a complete disaster. And probably quite humorous to watch. Needless to say, I was not feeling very interculturally adept. I manage to sufficiently fill my belly with the ramen, fish broth, bamboos shoots, seaweed and mystery meat and head back to the hotel for a VERY long awaited sleep.
Shinjuku District

Shibuya District


Should have some better pics soon! I keep forgetting my camera so I've been using other people's cameras...Whoops.  Anyways, I'll write soon!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Explorations & Observations from Tokyo

Michelle, I, & Jenny in Shinjuku
Observations from Tokyo
  • Japan drives on the left side of the street! And, boy, do they drive fast!

  • You can buy anything and everything out of a vending machine

  • Walk with a purpose in Toyko. The people walk briskly and collisions are eminent. No one loiters or visits on the street or in the subway stations.
  • No eye contact. Japanese walk with their eyes always focused on the floor. (Although I witnessed a few eyes stray from the floor to look at us, silly Americans looking like lost little puppies.)
  •  You can smoke in any restaurant, but it is not allowed on the street...
  • The Japanese are all about comfort when it comes to the bathroom. The first time using the toilet in my hotel room was an experience. I sat down on the toilet and quickly jumped back up with surprise. The toilet seat was heated! And a heated bum came as quite a surprise.  The bathroom is also equipped with a heated mirror that does not fog over while you are using the shower!



Shibuya Square

  •  SEA GRAPES!!!  These little seaweed creatures are so delicious! They pop in your mouth!

Sea Grapes!

Garden at the hotel

Not feeling too well today. Must've gotten a bug, but hopefully I'll be back in action tomorrow!
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