Big Changes

In one year, Rob and I will have visited 7 countries, immersed ourselves in a completely different culture, worked in administration-related positions, and saved a bit of money.

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Though our initial plan was to stay in Vietnam for two years, we have decided to head back state side this June.

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There are a few things that led to this decision and we feel that it is the right choice to leave. I’ll be honest though, it wasn’t an easy decision to make and I flip-flopped back and forth about it for a month. Ultimately, our health and day-to-day happiness was the deciding factor.

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The scariest part? We sold everything. So, if you have any furniture, cars, or warm clothes hanging around, please let us know. (j/k) Our plan is to finish the school year, travel Thailand and the Philippines for a few weeks, and then fly to the states to visit family. From there, we are headed to Denver, a city we have both always wanted to live in.

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Have no fear, the blog will continue for the next few months as we travel to Cambodia, Thailand, and the Philippines. But, alas, our last post is getting ever closer.

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Posted in Ho Chi Minh City/Saigon, Preparing to Move | 4 Comments

Grocery Shopping

When we moved to Vietnam one of our many concerns was grocery shopping.  Again, like our apartment we had many ideas of what shopping was going to look like.

This is what we get to chose from.

Where would you choose to shop?

The best: you shop in a small corner market. The worst: a large busy outdoor market where no one spoke English. Both: we would have to negotiate the price of the items.  Having been here ten months now, we have shopped at many different types of markets.

Brooke's dad, Gary, shopping on the street.  Very brave.

Brooke’s dad, Gary, shopping on the street. Very brave.

The wet market is the most popular place the Vietnamese locals get their food.  Imagine a local farmers market on steroids.  All of the meat, fish, and produce are fresh, at least they were in the morning.  You have to get there early, otherwise vendors may be out of food, or it could be rancid from sitting outside all day.  The vendors have two prices: one for Vietnamese people and one for westerners. Our price is triple, or quadruple, the real price and one learns quickly how to be very good at negotiating prices.

Meat for sale at the wet market.  It can sit like this all day in the sun.

Meat for sale at the wet market. It can sit like this all day in the sun.

Yummy stuff you can find at the market

Yummy stuff you can find at the market

Fresh Fruits and Vegetables you can find at the market.  Sits like this all day.

Fresh Fruits and Vegetables you can find at the market. Sits like this all day.

We do not shop in these wet markets, because it is very crowded and can be very intense. Plus, all the stands have extremely low tarp ceilings propped up with metal rods and taunt strings. We have to spend more time watching our heads than looking at the food.

This is an intense shopping experience

This is an intense shopping experience

The second way to shop are the corner markets. They are all over the place and on our street alone we have two.  These are more like convenient stores where you pick up your necessities.  It is really good for snack-attacks, which can be dangerous.

Among these corner markets are the two or three “American” stores in town.  They are small but are packed floor to ceiling with all American products like Johnsonville Brats, Heinz Ketchup, Kraft Mac and Cheese, Skippy Peanut Butter, and ranch dressing.  They can be very good if you are missing home, although very expensive because of import fees.

The final place for grocery needs is the local grocery store.  We were so happy to see that they had stores like the United States as it made life so much easier.  With stores like Lottemart, and The Giant, where we shop, there is no negotiating prices as they are set and seem reasonable.  $.50 for bell peppers, $.50 for a pineapple already cut, $2 for 1-kg or 2.2lbs of chicken breast or pork chops, and $4 for a box of cereal.  We don’t go on Sundays when everyone is off work and all the stores are like Walmart on black friday.

The Giant Dairy Aisle

The Giant Dairy Aisle

The Meat and Seafood counter at the Giant

The Meat and Seafood counter at the Giant

Other oddities found at the Giant.  non refrigerated milk and eggs.  Whole chicken heads and eels.

Other oddities found at the Giant. non refrigerated milk and eggs. Whole chicken heads and eels.

We are thankful we do not have to negotiate all of our shopping trips, or spend too much time in places like the wet market.  They are fun to visit, but not every week.

Posted in Food, Ho Chi Minh City/Saigon, Random | Leave a comment

Walking Road in Forest

Being English Language Learners, our students don’t always know the right word for something. When they get stuck they angrily exclaim, “I know the word in Vietnamese!”

I counter this statement with, “If you don’t know the exact word, think of a way to describe that word with words you do know.” This was a statement my high school French teacher often told me and it helped me get my point across in another language.

Case in point: A very creative way to say “trail” that we found in Japan.

Walking Road in Forest

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Lost in Translation

English is hard. As teachers of English language learners, we are faced with that fact daily. Though we will argue that Vietnamese is harder to learn (7 tones!), we understand the plight of our students.

While traveling through Japan, we saw more English signs than we do in HCMC. Most of these signs had us bent double laughing and we decided we had to share them with all of you.

This one was posted on a set of trash cans. Maybe they meant “Don’t put an empty can in the garbage” in order to promote recycling?

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Posted in Lost in Translation | 1 Comment

Tokyo Fish Market and Tuna Auction

Our flight back to HCMC left from Tokyo on Friday afternoon. We spent the last full day of our Japan trip exploring Tokyo and getting lost on the subway system. The main mission of the day was to find Rob a coffee mug to create a collection from everywhere he has been.

sumo mug memory

sumo mug memory

When planning our attack on Tokyo, we used the CNN top ten list to help us out. Number one on the list was to check out the fish market, specifically the tuna auction. Since they recommend being at the market by 4:30am, latest, we figured this was a good thing to do on your last day, knowing we had a flight we could sleep on later.

It's early.

It’s early and no coffee.

The hotel front desk organized a taxi for us at 4 am and we arrived at the fish market at 4:30. The crowd was already building. They only let 60 people into this event every day. If you are arrival #61, you are turned away. This being our only chance, we weren’t about to risk not getting in.

Gathering crowd. We had to wear yellow pinnies so we could be easily identified.

Gathering crowd. We had to wear yellow pinnies so we could be easily identified.

We sat in line, spaced out from the early hour, until around 5:15. Then, we were led through a hustling and bustling market area. Forklifts, trucks, handcarts, and fishermen just off the docks were moving around every which way in the dark. Our guides were gruff with us, trying to keep us in line, yelling at us to keep moving, and doing their best not to get us run over.

Trying not get run over or make the guards angry.

Trying not get run over or make the guards angry.

After a quick walk, we entered a warehouse of frozen tuna displayed in neat lines on the floor. Business owners, cooks, and other interested parties walked among the fish, inspecting them closely. Each man (no women) was holding a flash light and pick-axe that he would use to hack into the cut tail to inspect fat content.

Inspecting fish

Making careful selections

Inspecting fish

Inspecting fish

We watched this spectacle in quiet awe for about ten minutes when a bell sounded and three different men spread throughout the warehouse started shouting. This was the auction.

Within sixty seconds, it was over. Some men stuck pick-axes into fish and dragged them out to their trucks. Others marked the fish with their name and went to inspect more.

Another ten minutes and auction later, our guides were ushering us out of the warehouse, through more busy area, and out onto the street. 30 minutes was all we were allowed.

We were in!

We were in!

 

For all the hype, we were honestly a little disappointed. We didn’t mind the early hour (we are teachers after all), but we would have liked more explanation of what was going on. It was an experience, but not enough to hold the #1 spot.

What do you do after a trip to the fish market? Eat fish!

Chocolate-filled fish pancake. All the rage in Japan. For good reason!

Chocolate-filled fish pancake. All the rage in Japan. For good reason!

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Mount Fuji, Japan: Sacred Mountain

We made it out of Kyoto with our legs still able to hold us up and hopped on a Shinkensen to Mount Fuji.  This train does not go directly to Mount Fuji, so we had to make a transfer to a local train, then a transfer to a bus in order to get to our hostel near Kawaguchi-ko lake.

The lake on the day we arrived.  To much cloud cover to see much.

The lake on the day we arrived. To much cloud cover to see much.

The next morning when the snow had fallen and the sun was out.

The next morning when the snow had fallen and the sun was out.

We arrived early afternoon and found our room, another Japanese style, which again we seemed to really enjoy.  We dropped our bags and went out for a hike around the town.  The clouds were shrouding the mountain, so unable to see Mt. Fuji,  we walked around the lake trying to find a late lunch.

Our nice and clean japanese style room.

Our nice and clean japanese style room.

Trying on Japanese style sandals and eating Ramen Noodles for dinner Yum!

Trying on Japanese style sandals and eating Ramen Noodles for dinner Yum!

Turns out almost all eateries are closed from 1pm to around 5pm, so we were out of luck.  For us, tired and hungry is not a good combo.  We finally ended up finding a nice chain Italian place that had windows looking on Mt. Fuji. While we ate, the cloud shrouded mountain started to make an appearance.  We finished our meal and headed to complete our walk before the sunset.

We could see it although it was shrouded in clouds.

We could see it although it was shrouded in clouds.

The next morning we awoke to a fresh coat of snow on the ground and a bright blue sky.  We were up and out the door, looking for a place to eat before 8.  Turns out nothing is open in the morning either, so we grabbed donuts from the 7-11 and walked the lake loop again.  There were some excellent shots of mount Fuji.  We ended up walking only 50 paces when we’d have to stop and look at Fuji with amazement.

Donuts breakfast of champions.  Mt. Fuji over the bus station, the walk around lake Kawaguchi-ko

Donuts breakfast of champions. Mt. Fuji over the bus station, the walk around lake Kawaguchi-ko

Clear blue skied Mt. Fuji

Clear blue skied Mt. Fuji

Walking around the lake, some of our many shots of Mt. Fuji.

Walking around the lake, some of our many shots of Mt. Fuji.

Finally, with not much else to do in the city being that it is the off-season for tourism and all hiking trails were closed, we decided to pack up and head out early to Tokyo.

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Kyoto, Japan: Land of the Geisha

We left Osaka earlier than we had planned, and far more exhausted than we had planned.  The last three days were starting to catch up as our legs were starting to get tired.  On the half hour Shinkensen ride, we were trying to figure out Kyoto, what to see and what not to see.  We had formulated a plan of attack, but everyone knows how plans usually don’t workout as you planned.

On arrival we were hit with the rude awakening that it was a Japanese holiday weekend, and it seemed that everyone was in Kyoto.  The line for the city bus we needed to take was a block long.  By the time we got on the bus it was standing room only.  When we found our hostel, no was there to open the door and we stood scratching our heads for about 15 minutes.  Finally a guest came out for a smoke and we were able to put our stuff down.  Not the best introduction to Kyoto.

Looking for someone to come to the door of our guest house.

Looking for someone to come to the door of our guest house.

We asked our guest house supervisor what to do.  He suggested walking to Kiyomizu Temple that was near the guesthouse.

An actual Geisha, The temple sits on stilts and hold thousands of people, The view of Kyoto through the front gate.

An actual Geisha, The temple sits on stilts and holds thousands of people, The view of Kyoto through the front gate.

Which way do we go? The street walking up to the temple filled with shops, some small rocks with aprons.

Which way do we go? The street walking up to the temple filled with shops, some small rocks with aprons.

Lighting incense for prayer.

Lighting incense for prayer.

If you know us by now, you know our walk would not end with just one sight. So we walked through the Giesha teahouse area where we were staying and got lost on our way to the downtown shopping street.

We thought we were close to the Kyoto Imperial Palace so we walked there, but apparently it was not that close and more like a few miles.  We walked through this beautiful park only to find out the Palace was closed on Sundays, Oh well, and decided to come back early the next day.

The side gate of the Imperial Palace as close as we got, The wall of the Palace, Walkway up to the front gate.  Brooke photo bombing my flower shot.

The side gate of the Imperial Palace as close as we got, The wall of the Palace, Walkway up to the front gate. Brooke photo bombing my flower shot.

With our feet barking we walked back to the hostel and found dinner at a local market. We bought some Sushi that was on sale, crackers, cheese, grape juice we thought was wine, and cookies.  Best sushi we have ever had.

Our wonderful grocery store dinner that we had two nights in a row.  Such good Sushi.

The next morning we were up at dawn excited to take on the day, for we had much to see.  So we headed back to the Kyoto Imperial Palace (by bus this time) and waited around until 7:45 when they were supposed to open.  At about 8:30, a gentleman told us it was a holiday and it was closed for the day.

Waiting for the gate of the Palace to open, updating our travel log on her new iphone.

Waiting for the gate of the Palace to open, updating our travel log on her new iphone.

So we formulated a new plan of attack and headed out to Kinkaku-ji, Temple of the Golden Pavilion.  You walk though some great landscaping to a pond that has a building that has been wrapped in gold leaf sitting in the middle.  It feel so peaceful even when there were hundreds of tourists around.  Brooke and I were asked to take our photo’s about seven times.  That is when I got the idea for my next job: the Kyoto Cowboy. Dress as a cowboy and hold a big belt buckle that people can rub for good luck.  It would cost 200 Yen ($2) for a photo with the Cowboy. I’d be rich.

The Golden Pavilion on water, A monk raking all the leaves up the place was immaculate, a water feature around the pavilion, the temple from the backside.

The Golden Pavilion on water, A monk raking all the leaves up to keep the place immaculate, a water feature around the pavilion, the temple from the backside.

Us at the Golden Pavilion.

Us at the Golden Pavilion.

We then walked up the street to Ryoan-ji, zen garden.  This place was spectacular, as it is supposed to one of the best examples of a zen garden in the world.  Not only was the garden beautiful, but the grounds were too.  They take such good care of all aspects of the landscaping and made sure there was not a single leaf on the ground.

Brooke sporting the slippers you had to wear inside, The actually garden with all 15 rocks and people watching, a few of the rocks up close.

Brooke sporting the slippers you had to wear inside, The actual garden with all 15 rocks and people watching, a few of the rocks up close.

Our next stop on the city bus tour was Nijo Castle.  This is where vistiors to the Shogun would stay.  We were able to tour the castle, unfortunately though, you are not allowed to take photographs inside.

The outside of the castle, the gate of the castle, a water feature on the castle grounds, Brooke watching the water, Brooke standing near the castle wall.

The outside of the castle, the gate of the castle, a water feature on the castle grounds, Brooke watching the water, Brooke standing near the castle wall.

We then made it to Ginkaku-ji, the Silver Pavilion.  This temple was supposed to be similar to the Temple of the Golden Pavilion.  The only thing is that the building is not covered in silver leaf.  We had some students who were a part of an English club giving us a tour, they told us that the Shogun ran out of money and was unable to buy silver leaf to wrap it in.

The Temple itself you can see it is actually not silver, Zen rock garden depicting Mt. Fuji, Brooke and I, Brooke and I with our free guides.

The Temple itself you can see it is actually not silver, Zen rock garden depicting Mt. Fuji, Brooke and I, Brooke and I with our free guides.

We had one more sight we wanted to see before the sun went down, but it was out of town aways.  So we grabbed some lunch and headed to Fushimi Inari Shrine.  If you have ever seen Memoir of a Geisha, in the beginning she is running through the orange tunnel, that was filmed at this shrine.  We may have been exhausted because we were constantly moving from 7am to 4pm, but the Shrine was well worth the experience.  Hundreds of thousands of Torii gates, the gates are found at the entrance of most Shinto Shrines and they mark the transition from profane to sacred.  Every trail up the side of the mountain was covered with torii gates.  It was amazing to run through.

The Shrine itself light up at dusk, the trail up the mountain that is covered by thousands of Torii Gates

The Shrine itself lit up at dusk, the trail up the mountain that is covered by thousands of Torii Gates

On the covered trail to the mountain top.  The shine has statues of foxes all over.

On the covered trail to the mountain top. The shine has statues of foxes all over.

Finally though, we had to head back as it was getting dark and our bodies were sore.  We again bought our sushi from the grocery store and ate at the coffee table in the Guest house.  We relaxed for the night as the next day we were off to Mount Fuji.

Posted in Japan | 3 Comments

Osaka: Lots To Do, Not Enough Time

After our history-filled afternoon and morning in Hiroshima, we bullet-trained off to Osaka for two nights. We arrived about midday and decided to just stroll around the city and see what we could see.  Our goal was to make it to Amerikura block.  A section of the city that has bad American fashion.

Getting lost.

Getting lost.

While losing our way trying to find this area, we ran into a gentleman named Timothy.  This was another character.  The three of us walked while he mostly talked telling us about his search of finding “A new America” and how he had been in Japan for three weeks, but couldn’t tell us where he had been.  He also played us his spoons-like instrument produced from his pocket.  Once we found Amerikura Triangle Park, he says, “Well, I’m bored. See ya,” and walked away just as fast as he had come.  It was a very strange, and brief interaction. All we could think was: (1) he wanted to rob us, or (2) he was on something and trying to hide.

Back alley lanterns, blowfish dinner spot, advertising overload.

Back alley lanterns, blowfish dinner spot, advertising overload.

Shaking off his strange vibes, we found ourselves in another large, covered shopping street, much like the ones in Tokyo and Hiroshima. This one was way more packed, but we managed to find a place for dinner as well as an extra sweater for me since I was freezing!

Crowded shopping area.

Crowded shopping area.

Ads ads everywhere, Do street, new sweater.

Ads ads everywhere, Dotonbori street, new sweater.

The following morning, we bought the 2-Day Osaka Pass. It was advertised in all the tourist spots. Basically, for $20 a person, you get free subway rides all day, free entrance into over 50 locations, and restaurant discounts. Since we had to be extremely frugal on this trip to make sure we could afford “expensive” Japan, we were off and running to make sure we got the most out of our passes.

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Cross referencing our cross reference. Planning our attack.

First stop: Temple. The vibrant red, the large area of surrounding gravel, and the place to ourselves made it very peaceful to walk around. The cemetery was really unique as rectangular headstones (for lack of a better word) are placed above the ashes.

Temple, Zen gravel, cemetery.

Temple, Zen gravel, cemetery.

Second stop: Osaka Castle. The surrounding grounds were beautiful. Large walkways, an enormous moat, people out for jogs and picnics. It was really serene. The inside of the castle itself was disappointing. We were expecting to see refurbished chambers and ballrooms. Instead, it was a museum on the history of the castle and it’s excavation.

Osaka Castle

A big rock makes a big man look little.

A big rock makes a big man look little.

Cannons and Samurai

Third stop: Museum of Living and Housing. This was a re-creation of the old Osaka streets. You can rent a kimono and walk around the two “street” interior. I really enjoyed the houses you could walk into. It really gave you a feel for what life there may have been like. It felt very feng shui.

The buildings are not made for us.

Low ceilings, bamboo floors, and Kimonos.

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Fourth stop: The Tower. This was a bit of a bust. The hotel we had booked the night before only had room for us for one night. We weren’t able to move our bags to our new place until around 4, so we had some weird limbo time. We spent it waiting in line for an hour to go to the top of this tower. Being impatient, and wasting daylight, we bailed on the line. At least Rob was entertained!

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Finding entertainment in the long line. (Beavers are Rob's college mascot.)

Finding entertainment in the long line. (Beavers are Rob’s college mascot.)

Yu Darvish

Yu Darvish

Fifth stop: Floating Garden Observatory. In addition with Osaka Castle, this was one of the highlights of the day. Escalators take you up 5 more stories through clear tubes once the elevator stops. They have locks for sale, beer on tap, and black lights to really set the mood. The views were gorgeous, the wind was mellow, and the beer we shared was delicious.

Escalator Up

Love Deck

Sixth stop: Ferris Wheel. Anyone who knows me knows I hate rides of any kind. You can’t pay me enough to get on a roller coaster, or bribe me with enough Cheetos to get on a ferris wheel. Well, because Rob was so excited about one of the largest ferris wheels in the world, I agreed to go on it. I think his plan was to run me around all day and tucker me out so I wouldn’t know what was happening. Not only did I get on the death-trap, but I waited 20 minutes for the entirely see-through car. That’s love people.

Ferris Wheel

Seventh stop: McDonalds. I know, I know, the shame! It was almost 11 pm, we had been running around the city all day, everything was closed, we just wanted a burger, and are you buying these excuses? More shame: it was delicious and I would do it again (which we did…twice).

Rob is excited, I'm a little embarrassed.

Rob is excited, I’m a little embarrassed.

We exhausted ourselves so much on this one-day Osaka blitz, that we headed out before noon the following day for Kyoto. There was more to see in Osaka and the day pass was definitely the way to go, but I think our samplings were perfect. Besides, we had the mass amounts of temples to contend with in Kyoto.

Goodbye Osaka

Posted in Food, Japan | 3 Comments

Hiroshima, Japan: A-Bomb Dome

From Tokyo we headed to the farthest city on our trip, Hiroshima.  This was a stop that I really wanted to see, being it was the sight of a big part of World War 2.  I know there are better places in Japan to see, but for some reason I was drawn to Hiroshima.  So we got our first Shinkensen bullet train tickets and boarded.  Four hundred miles, and four hours later we were in Hiroshima.  By far the best way to travel.

Boarding the train, Watching the Train come in to the station, and the comfortable seats.

Boarding the train, Watching the Train come in to the station, and the comfortable seats.

We found the J-hoppers Hostel and the place was great.  The people at the front desk helped us find our way around the town.  Also, this was our first “Ryokan” or Japanese Inn.  We both thought it was very nice and clean.

Our Bamboo floor, futon mattress room.  Very cozy.

Our Bamboo floor, futon mattress room. Very cozy.

We dropped our stuff in the room then headed out to the Peace Park Museum.  The museum was really well put together and started off with the build up to World War 2.  Then the development of nuclear bombs.  Followed by who in the world has nuclear bombs, then onto the bomb on Aug. 6th 1945.  Finally, into what future weapons are going to look like.  The neat part was the mayor of Hiroshima sends letters to world leaders who are going to test nuclear bombs and tells them not to.  There were something like 300+ letters covering a wall.

Looking down the hallway into the room with artifacts from the actual explosion.

Looking down the hallway into the room with artifacts from the actual explosion.

This is clothing that survived the explosion.

This is clothing that survived the explosion.

We then walked though the Peace Park.  Walking past the memorial cenotaph, then the peace flame, the children’s peace monument, and finally onto the A-bomb Dome.

The A-Bomb Dome, The Children's memorial, This is where you see most of the folded paper cranes, and the Cenotaph with the peace flame in the background.

The Atomic Dome, The Children’s memorial, This is where you see most of the folded paper cranes, and the Cenotaph with the peace flame in the background.

At night the park is really well lit.  the Atomic Dome and the Cenotaph.

At night the park is really well lit. the Atomic Dome and the Cenotaph.

With plenty of sunlight left we headed over to Hiroshima Castle, otherwise known as Carp Castle.  Originally it was built in 1590 but was destroyed by the atomic bomb and rebuilt in 1958 to become a museum.  Unfortunately the inside of the castle was closed, but the grounds were still open.

HIroshima Castle

The gatehouse with moat bridge. The actual castle.

We decided to head back to find some food.  On our way back we found a completely covered street, similar to Fremont Street in Las Vegas only bigger.  Wall to wall shopping and eating.  It was really nice since no cars were allowed at night, so it was also wall to wall people.  We found dinner at a Japanese restaurant. Thank goodness the menu had English sub-titles.

Fremont Street in Hiroshima without the gambling.

Fremont Street in Hiroshima without the gambling.

After sleeping on our futon mattress bed on a bamboo floor, which was honestly better than our bed at home,  we woke up and found some breakfast on that same covered street. Then we went in search of Shukkei-en Garden.  It was supposed to resemble a small scale version of a garden in Hangzhou, China.

The Garden was filled with gorgeous ponds and bridges.

It was beautiful and relaxing before hoping on the train heading toward the big bad city of Osaka.

Posted in Japan | 1 Comment

Tokyo: Bright Lights, Big City

Tokyo was lucky enough to have us visit twice. Once for a night when we flew in from Busan, and once for two nights when we flew out on our way back to HCMC.

Welcome to Japan

First impressions of Tokyo:

-This city is huge!

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-This city is bright!

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-This city has huge, gorgeous green spaces!

Parks

Our first night was spent in the Asakusa area, an older section of the city with a temple we could find our fortune in. The expat and backpacker population here is large as things are cheaper than in the more modern sections.

At the temple in Asakusa.

At the temple in Asakusa. Can you spot Rob?

Washing our hands at the temple entrance.

Washing our hands at the temple entrance.

During our last two days of the whole trip, in Tokyo, we wandered through the city parks,

Flowers

ate conveyor belt sushi (twice),

Sushi

marveled at one of the busiest intersections in the world,

and enjoyed drinks in Fuji Film Square.

Monkey for sale. Not Rob, the other guy.

Monkey for sale. Not Rob, the other guy.

We also went to the famed fish market, which we are saving for another post.

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Since we were exhausted at the end of most days, and on a tight budget, we didn’t spend any time in Tokyo nightlife. However, everything we heard from other travelers was it would provide an awesome, out-all-night time.

Finding our fortune: shake the container, pick your stick, match your stick's number, find your drawer, pick your fortune, read it, fold it up, tie it to the poles.

Finding our fortune: shake the container, pick your stick, match your stick’s number, find your drawer, pick your fortune, read it, fold it up, tie it to the poles.

Though we loved the modern-ness of Tokyo, the city is a little too big for us to live in.

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