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Factual Fun June 9, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — petrie1784 @ 6:10 am

Just a few more facts of interest…

1.  Taxi doors open automatically.  Also, taxi fares start at 710 yen (the equivalent of about $7.00….yikes!)

2.  ATM machines charge conveniece charges after hours and at rush hour (what!?!?!).  This includes ATM machines at your own bank.  What is the world coming to….is the machine really inconvienced if I get cash after bank hours?

3. Japanese manga (comic books)  – Often, Japanese men, dressed in work attire and riding the train during commuter hours, can be found reading “adult” comics.  It appears to be a widely accepted practice becuase these men don’t hide the comic pages from other passengers views.

4.  Cell phones – So, the U.S. needs to catch up with Japanese cell phone features.

First of all, every Japanese phone has text messaging and email.  If you are typing too many characters for a text, you convert to an email.  Just like with phone calls and texting, emails to other phones with the same service provider are free.  When you sign up for cell phone service, you get an email address specifically for your phone.

COOLEST FEATURE EVER = Infrared.  Japanese phones have infrared so that you can automatically transfer data to other phones.  You can send your contact information (including name, phone number email address, etc) by lining up the infrared panel of your phone to another phone.  Pretty nifty.

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Kyoto in a day….now that’s some serious siteseeing June 8, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — petrie1784 @ 1:08 pm

Traveling Japan on a budget = overnight bus to Kyoto.  After a day full of Disney magic, Steven and I hopped on the bus to Kyoto.  About the first 3 hours of the 7 hour drive consisted of stopping to pick up passengers at various bus stops throughout Tokyo (an ideal stop and go situation for a good night’s sleep, haha).  We arrived a 5:30 am, ready for a full day of touristy fun!!!  AND WE GOT IT!

We started our day at the Fushimi Inari Shrine.  There are over 5,000 red torri gates.  If you have seen the movie Memoirs of a Geisha then you have seen this shrine on film (and the red gates).  To walk/hike the whole trail, along which the torri gates can be found, it takes a good couple of hours.  It’s truely amazing, especially on an early spring morning.

Throughout the day, we continued to see other famous historical landmarks of Kyoto.  The city is rich with history because it was the location of Japan’s government during the Samurai rule.  One of the most exciting and informative visits of the day was the Nijo Castle, once home to the Samurai.  We were able to tour inside.  All visitors walk through the castle bare foot.  The architecture, decor and furnishings are so different and unfamiliar to Americans.

Other pretty amazing stops included the Golden Pavilion and the Imperial Palace, although, visitors were not permitted inside the palace walls.

Our tummy’s were rumbling my mid-day so we headed to a great market called Nishiki Market.  While we were there, we tried all of the yummy speciallities including fried tofu, soy donuts and fresh fruit smoothies.  The market had endless outdoor stalls selling food that, for the most part, I was unable to identify.  There was fish, vegetables, dry goods, spices, sauces; you name it!!!

We finished our extravagant sightseeing day at a place called Kushiya Monogartari.  A kushiya restaurant serves all-you-can- eat  raw skewers of meat, vegetables and fish.  You fry the skewers at your table. Steven and I devoured 109 skewers of meat in our allotted 90 minutes of all-you-can eat and we concluded the meal with heaping bowls of ice cream…delicious!

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fried tofu = yummy in my tummy

fried tofu = yummy in my tummy

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fried skewers

fried skewers

109 empty sticks...

109 empty sticks...

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Entrance of Nijo Castle

Entrance of Nijo Castle

With our, food baby tummy’s, we headed back to the bus station and boared the 11:30 pm overnight bus back to Tokyo!