Japan: First Impressions

Everything is Smaller in Japan. Except the Bathtub. That’s about 4″ taller.

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Riding in a car in Japan

I’m in a taxi.  The road is wide enough for two cars, at times.  Its twisty, windy, full of curves, up a hill. Houses on both sides of the road.  No sidewalk to speak of. 

This is Japan… It is the opposite of Texas. Everything is small.  The roads are narrow, the cars are small.  Everything is Small.  Except for the Bus coming at us, around the hairpin curve.  It is Huge. Taking up the whole road.  Too big for us, seemingly, and its coming at us from the wrong side… The cabbie deftly moves us a bit to the left. The bus passes.  On the right.  Pucker factor high.

I am used to oncoming traffic coming from the left, and huge busses are coming at us from the wrong side!  The effect is disconcerting.  I can’t shake it today. 

Exceptionally Polite and Service Oriented Continue reading “Japan: First Impressions”

Shinkansen: Osaka to Tokyo

I am remarkably impressed with the efficiency, the orderly use, and the pleasant nature of the transportation facilities in Japan…. the train leans into curves. Even though we are going 200 mph there is no sensation of speed and no lateral acceleration. Only when looking out the window… At times it appears the houses are built on a plane that isn’t level… As if the houses were not constructed plumb.

From my hotel, I take a taxi ($10) to the Shin-Osaka station.  Waiting for a taxi, a pair of young women pass by on their own journey.  Curiously they are pushing luggage on wheels and carrying stuffed teddy bear backpacks.  College kids, I assume.  Many Japanese use these rolling luggage cases.   Continue reading “Shinkansen: Osaka to Tokyo”

Early, Early Morning: Hungry in Osaka

It’s 4:30 in the morning, and I am hungry. In the USA, just about the very last place I want to eat at is a 7-11 mini-mart. Ugh, just how long have those hot-dogs been on the grill, exactly?

I awake — hungry — at 4:30 a.m. in Osaka.  It’s 11:30 a.m. in California, so almost lunch time.  The only place open at this hour is the local konbini (コンビニ) mini-mart, less than a block from the hotel.   Continue reading “Early, Early Morning: Hungry in Osaka”

Non-Stop: SFO-KIK

A friend drops me at the airport shuttle stop, it is just $20 and one hour ride to SFO.  From there, an 11 hour flight that departs at 11 a.m., and arrives at 4 p.m.  Tokyo and all of Japan is 17 hours ahead of me.

I glance at my ticket. United Flight 35, total paid: $48, plus 70,000 miles.  My plane is almost free.  Bonus: I have Silver status, which allows a gratis upgrade to the 34″ seat from the 31″ seat.

The Japan Plan Continue reading “Non-Stop: SFO-KIK”

Packing Books

I have so many friends that are interested in hiking in Japan, but they are a bit timid, because of the language barrier.

So, I will find out what it’s all about. That’s my plan, and I’ll tell you here.

What to take for three weeks in Japan?

Traveling involves a lot of waiting on planes, trains and busses.  For reading material, I have:

Obtaining Japanese Pilgrimage was an adventure in itself.  Long out of print, it was available in downtown San Francisco.  I made the trip to a charity re-seller, and paid $15 in person.  Also a long list of books on Kindle and iBooks that ensure I cannot run out of good times for the mind.

There isn’t really a good amount of current hiking information about Japan, as opposed to the plethora of information on Camino Santiago, or Machu Pichu, and of course the Pacific Crest Trail.

I have so many friends that are interested in hiking in Japan, but they are a bit timid, because of the language barrier.

So, I will find out what it’s all about.  That’s my plan, and I’ll tell you here.