Moshi moshi from Japan!

Friday, July 9, 2004
The two weeks we spent in Japan were fantastic! It's easy to make comparisons between many different countries, but Japan is just different. There's just nowhere else like it! If it weren't for the extraordinarily high prices we would have stayed much longer.

Here are some interesting highlights:

  1. We ate lots of sushi! A few times when we asked for the bill, they whipped out this little scanner thing. They used it to count our dishes as though there was a bar code, but there wasn't. It was like a little magic wand that told you how many dished you consumed and how much it cost!
  2. We took a taxi out to a brewery (tour participants included us and 25 drunk businessmen!) one afternoon... and the back door of the taxi automatically opened and closed for me. It was like having an invisible chaffeur.
  3. We checked out the Sony Center and Toyota showroom. Both places have stuff on display that won't be available at home for awhile... but you can buy them in Japan!!
  4. The cost of real estate is so high in Japan and there are so many people there that the place we stayed in Tokyo had triple decker bunk beds! There were twelve people staying in the room that was a normal sized bedroom at home. Somehow, it was still pretty quiet and neat! It felt like camp all over again... except with a 100mg internet connection in the living room!
  5. We visited Hiroshima where they have a museum dedicated to remembering the victims and the atrocity that occurred there. Actually, the whole city has memorials, including the preserved site of the only building left standing after the bomb exploded. Japan keeps no nuclear weapons and actively promotes it's stance on being anti-nuclear. It's a fantastic place to visit and a great city. they boast more bars per person than anywhere else in Japan.
  6. I slept in a capsule!!! That's right, those ones you have seen on TV. It was random. It's like sleeping in a bunk bed but it's closed off like a phone booth. Complete with television, remote control, phone and alarm clock built in.
  7. We rode the fastest train in the world - the bullet train. In Japanese it's called the shinkansen. Wow, it is fast.
  8. We also soaked in a traditional bath, slept on tatami mats, visited castles and became part of a school project. An elementary school class was visiting the airport in order to practice English. Some little girls asked our name and country then took our picture. There was much giggling involved.
It's hard to give you highlights of the visit there, it's really just a place you have to go and experience for yourself. The Japanese are very welcoming and are extremely helpful when you are standing there looking entirely confused, anyone can get around if you are willing approach strangers. That seems to happen a lot despite the plethora of English signs they have posted to help out. When you are in the busiest train station in the world, it's inevitable you will make a wrong turn or get swept away by the crowds. It's an adventure no matter where you end up though! Bye for now!!

Regards, Alison

PS. Japan photos are posted on!


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