Welcome to the first of five posts about our trip to Japan.
WE WENT TO JAPAN !!!! Following this introductory post, next, we share highlights from Iwakuni and the Marine Corp Air Station. Then we will take you to Beppu, Japan, a geologically active city, to enjoy wonderful "onsens", Ryokans and Buddhist shrines. After spending three days in Beppu with Corey and the ladies, Sheree and I traveled by train and bus to the incredible Sandan-kyo Gorge, northwest of Hiroshima. Stand by for a video of our hike into this fantastic gorge. An emotional tour of Hiroshima was followed by a day of rest, and then for our final adventure, we took a ferry to Miyajima, one of Japan's top tourist destinations.
Please explore the map below, mouse over each pin, for more information about the locales we visited.
Flying over northern Alaska.
The Friendly Skies of United
Yes, we flew the friendly skies of United Airlines, and no, we did not get dragged down the aisle. Overall, it was an uneventful flight. RDU to DC, then a LONG flight to Tokyo (Narita), a bus ride to Tokyo (Haneda), and ANA airlines to Iwakuni, a total of approximately 24 hours. The DC to Tokyo flight was half-empty so we were able to stretch out.
Highlights, had to think hard about this, were the views of the Arctic, the drive through Tokyo, and the refreshing service on ANA Airlines. On the return flight, the plane was packed, and the 13 time-zone trek led to serious jetlag for FIVE days.
Tokyo, most populous metropolitan area in the world, with 38 million people.
The Foods of Japan
Next trip I will try to take notes on what we are served. For now, here are some images to give you some idea of what we ate. The large image above was breakfast, which included raw eggs over rice with seaweed. We loved almost all the food we were served.
Unique Cultural Experiences
Japanese culture is wonderfully unique in many ways. Here are a few examples, perhaps of the more quirky variety, basic little differences between eastern and western culture. Makes me think of our American culture and how the Japanese might view us, cold toilets, boring fast foods, rudeness. Yikes! You will see more in the upcoming posts.
So, what we have in the picture above is typical of restaurants along the street, plastic replicas of menu items, in this case, ice cream cones. The center image is, yes, a toilet with options. Some toilets had a remote control on the wall, a convenience in home and public bathrooms. All the toilets
had seat warmers. Above is a meal-ordering machine where you look at meal choices, then insert money, make your selection, and get a ticket you take into the seating area. Give the ticket to the waitress and your food is quickly delivered. The image below, as you might guess, is a video game. Even though Google translator can read Hiragana, I passed on the opportunity to figure the game out.