14 Hours in Japan

14 hours in Tokyo is not nearly enough time, but it is all we had. The three main objectives for the day: eat fresh sushi from the fish market, try authentic ramen, and find a Sanrio store.

Our first challenge was getting out of the airport and into the city. With some help from the tourist kiosk we were on the subway in no time heading toward the Tsukiji Fish Market for the freshest and most delicious sushi breakfast.

Tsukiji Fish Market

 

We didn’t get to the market in time for the tuna auction (4am!!!) but there was plenty of action to witness at 6am. After about an hour of strolling down the market aisles, dodging trucks and trolleys, and salivating over some of the largest fish we’ve ever seen, we popped into one of the many hole in the wall restaurants just inside the main gate off Shin-ohashi Street.

While it was a bit on the pricey side, it was the freshest sushi I had ever eaten and most definitely the best breakfast of my life. Seafood is my EVERYTHING.

And now onto lunch…

Ramen

We found a small ramen shop in the middle of Shibuya by following our noses and a group of Japanese business men on their lunch break. The sliding wood door opened to a small bar top where two chefs (sent from heaven, I assume) concocted intoxicating bowls of glorious noodle soup. I typically can’t finish a full bowl of ramen but it was so tasty that I inhaled every last drop and still wanted more.

 

Sanrio

Finding a Sanrio store in the Hello Kitty mecca should be easy, right? What I expected to be the easiest task of the day turned out to be an exhausting fiasco.

Why do I need wifi to get wifi? If I had wifi I wouldn’t I need wifi. Connecting to wifi in Tokyo was a pain in the neck. Since we were only in town for the day, it didn’t make sense to invest in a SIM card. And seeing as we were visiting a high-tech country, we figured we could get along fine with the “free wifi” that was advertised everywhere. The problem is you must verify your email address to use the internet, BUT you can’t access your email without the internet. Total catch 22. We basically had to dip into a Starbucks and buy a coffee anytime we needed wifi. It was pretty difficult trying to figure out where we were based on map screenshots and Japanese street signs.

The locals were extremely friendly and tried to help the best they could with the limited English they understood. After a lot of walking (sometimes in circles) we FINALLY found the giant Hello Kitty statue in front of a small Gift Gate store. I was not very impressed by the store but I was thankful that our mission was complete.

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The upside of the arduous search was that it forced us to explore more of the city. We browsed the music selection at the 9 story Tower Records store in Shibuya, window shopped in the Harujuku district, and wandered aimlessly down the streets of Shinjuku.

14 hours in Tokyo left us with sore feet, happy bellies, and the overwhelming desire to return again.

Sayonara for now…

Check out our PHOTOS page for more Tokyo pics.

TOKYO PHOTOS

Our one day layover in Japan feels like a blur in hindsight. After “slow travelling” for three months, having to rush through a city in 14 hours (on only a couple hours of sleep) was exhausting. However, with it being the final destination on our journey back to California, we mustered up every last bit of energy and fucking crushed it!

The photos from our quick stop in Tokyo are now up on our PHOTOS page.

Here are just a few:

More to come on Tokyo soon…

Alabama Hills

Three day weekends call for adventure! And now that I am back working the 9-5, weekends are the only time to get out of town. I hadn’t been camping since our February trip to Fremont Peak State Park and was in desperate need of some nature.

We packed up the FJ and headed for the hills, the Alabama Hills.

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I absolutely love camping in the Alabama Hills. It’s hard to beat the amazing views of the eastern Sierras. We met up with a group of our best camping buddies and spent three days/two nights exploring rock formations, eating delicious dutch oven meals, and gazing up at the limitless stars.

Pet Rocks

Our friends, Pouyan and Janelle, are avid campers and have raised two of the cutest little adventurers. At 4 and 2 years old, the boys have been to more National Parks than most adults. In an attempt to raise my status to “fun Auntie Dejah”, I brought along some rocks, washable paint, and googly eyes to make pet rocks. We ended up with more paint on our clothes than on the rocks, but they were still a big hit with the littles.

Arches

You can’t go to the Alabama Hills without scoping out some of the awesome rock formations. Sean and I took the dogs on a morning hike to check out the different arches. We lucked out and had the popular Mobius Arch all to ourselves for a good 15 minutes.

Manzanar

On Monday we took a trip 10 miles north of Lone Pine to Manzanar – the site of one of ten American concentration camps where over 110,000 Japanese Americans were forcibly held during World War II. It seemed fitting to pay a visit on Memorial Day.

Star Gazing

We spent our nights looking up at the stars while eating cinnamon rolls wrapped around sticks and cooked over the campfire.

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Now to figure out how many more camping trips we can fit in before the year is over…

MAY – FILM CHALLENGE

May Photos for our FILM CHALLENGE are now posted. This month we went camping in the Alabama Hills and brought along our Canon AE-1 and Mamiya RB67 Pro S, shooting with both 35mm and 120mm film. I’ll be posting a blog about our trip soon! In the meantime, here are our favorite film photos: