Japan 2017 Day 2

17Japan2Banner.jpgSenso-Ji | Hanayashiki Park | Photos | Videos


September 11, 2017
Asakusa, Tokyo, Japan

I slept pretty well from about 8 PM to about 5 AM Tokyo time. Once I woke up I cleaned up, and made a video to record my thoughts on our arrival. I got ready and went out the door to go up a couple floors to get some decent shots of the Tokyo SkyTree from the top floor of the hotel, but as I was going out the door, Isaac, who also woke up around the same time, was coming out with his stuff to walk to a nearby park. Neither of us wanted to wake each other up, but when he heard me open my door, he rushed out to see where I was going. I made my way up to the top floor to take some photos, then headed back down while he was getting ready before we headed out to Sumida Park park a few blocks away.

The city was so quiet early in the morning. At this point, it was after 6 am. At some point I finally found a vending machine with Pocari Sweat, a drink I’d wanted to try for many years. It was good. We walked along the riverwalk area, which is beautiful, and arrived at the park after a few minutes walk. It was very nice. There was a beautiful pond that we walked around, and even explored the Ushijima Shrine located in the park. There were plenty of views of the surrounding city, as well as Tokyo SkyTree, as the morning woke the city up for the day. Since it was so early, it was mostly just a few older people walking around.

Then at about 6:30, they all started doing exercises around the shrine in the garden. There were a good 100 people all doing exercise in unison. It was really great to see. Everyone was so friendly walking around. Many had dogs. Walking back to the river walk was beautiful, with one side filled with the buildings of the area’s business district. We ventured to find some food, but that turned into a walk to the Senso-ji Temple complex that we stumbled upon, a Buddhist temple established in the 1500s, making it Tokyo’s oldest. We walked around and took pictures of the buildings and Koi pond for quite a while as some locals came to pray and worship.

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Japan 2017 Day 1

17Japan1Banner.jpgJapan | Photos | Videos


September 9 & 10, 2017
Narita & Asakusa Tokyo, Japan

Japan was the one country in the entire world that had been at the top of my bucket list for a very long time. I took 2 years of Japanese in High School, studied the culture, pop culture, language, and more for many years while looking at photos of cities like Tokyo, Kyoto, Yokohama, and Osaka. I was determined to get there and, after several false starts, finally set a target for September of 2017. It took much planning (over a year), pre-paying, asking for time off of work, etc., but it was worth every bit. My only regret was that it took this long, though I won’t wait as long to go back.

It’d been a long time coming, but the trip finally arrived. I’d planned it out for over a decade. I’d done the heavy planning over the last couple months, and now it was time to go. First things first, I was nervous about being on a plane that long. The flight started from Charlotte (CLT) to Chicago (ORD), where we transferred to the international terminal, then ORD to Tokyo Narita (NRT). True flight time was between 11-12 hours from Chicago to Narita.

I packed every electronic device I had (2 phones, 2 tablets, a DSLR camera, a GoPro Knockoff by a reputable camera company, chargers, cords, and more). And even though I slashed the amount of stuff I’d have normally packed for even just one week, I way over packed for the trip. I didn’t need as much in the way of electronics, and the next time I fly internationally, I will pack much less. I barely used my iPad on the flight because there was an entertainment screen in the back of the seat ahead of me with live news, lots of decent movies (I watched part of Skull Island, some of Guardians 2, and all of Minority Report and a Big Bang episode, along with CNN as Irma hit the east coast back home), and kept busy all fight.

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