Japan 2013

Read all about my Japan trip here!

Day 1 : Arriving in Tokyo , Narita Airport

Today we arrived in Tokyo, Japan. After a 13 hour flight, we took a 1 hour bus from Narita International Airport to the Imperial Palace in Tokyo. Since it was only 4 pm,we decided to take a walk in downtown Tokyo. We found a restaurant called Muji where we could have a great view on a street where only women stood there waiting for an actrice to come by. Surprisingly we found out that the women never cheered or clapped for the actrices. The way to show their respect was by standing up. In the restaurant, we had a choice of 2 regular dishes, like chicken and sweet potatoes, with a choice of 2 salads. After dinner, we came back to our hotel to have a good night sleep and to limit any jet lag.

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The bus lady bows to the bus as we are leaving the station!

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Traffic info is tough to figure out!

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View of Tokyo Ginza from our hotel room

Day 2

Today was a walk-a-thon! First, since I woke up at 4 AM because of jet lag, we went jogging around the Imperial Palace, the real one where the emperor still lives.. We did get yelled at by a very stern policeman because in a certain area we weren’t allowed to run. After that we came back to the hotel, took a shower, and then prepared to eat at a nearby restaurant actually in the underground part of our hotel. They are known for their French toast which was quite good. My mom then went to the bathroom and came out with a nice lady who could speak a little French. She then offered to give my mom a ticket to the Japanese theater Takarasuka because she had to visit her mom on the seashore of Japan about 2 hours from Tokyo. During intermission , my parents decided to switch places so my dad could watch the second half of the show.  We then took the metro from Ginza to Asakusa.  In Asakusa we visited one of the most famous temples/shrines. Senjo-ji is also the oldest one in Japan. Since it is in Tokyo, it is heavily visited every day. After that an other nice lady showed us a good luck tradition next to the temple and it turn out I would be lucky in the future…we will see!
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Mayumi and my mom

Traditional Japanese food

Day 3

Today we started off with a nice jog around the park.Twice running and once walking. We then called our Jananese friend and she said to meet at 12:00pm in our hotel. She brought us to Roppongi  Hills where we ate at a restaurant where only members could go. I took an all Italian lunch.  Spaghetti, bread, and sorbet.  After a tasty meal, we went to an Art museum, it was a nice architectural building. My mom and I then went to our hotel to meet my dad and find a restaurant. Our restaurant choice was one that my mom had seen the night before.
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This is a view of the park we ran around this morning

Day 4

This morning we did not wake early enough to go running so we went to eat with Papa.  All Japanese restaurants are only open starting at 10 or 11. Once you delete all those restaurants there are only European or American places. 1. Aux Bacanales or  2. Cafe Salvador  3. Starbucks.
We waited a little longer this time and found the same restaurant we ate the first day: Remm. My dad then went to work and we went to work too. We started finding sweets everywhere. We tried a rice pudding snack, a green tea ice cream, a Belgium waffle, and a caramel bread!  In Ginza we also found a nice ceramic holder to hold your chopsticks and a nice little lunchbox good for a little rice cake and a seaweed container at the bottom. We then found my mom’s beloved tea house, Chia Ginza. At night we chose a small traditional soba noodle place. After our dinner we stumbled on a futsal stadium and watched the game.
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This is the outfit that I wore after we came back from our long day walking. This is called a Yukata.

Day 4
Today was nice, another rainy day.  In the morning we asked the concierge to help us find a museum.  She suggested two museums:  Museum of technology and innovation, and the museum of natural science. But instead we went to visit our new hotel with dad. We then walked through a new neighborhood and discovered another area of Tokyo where a lot of embassies are located.  We saw the Nigerian and the United States embassy. On the way back we stopped at a coffee shop and were amazed that such a wonderful aquarium stood before our eyes.  A difference between our two hotels was that in our new one called Okura, all the female staff were dressed in a Kimono.

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This is a picture of a temple in the neighbourhood around our new hotel.

Day 5
Today we started off by eating a nice smoothie (yuzu and citrus) and pretzel at Cafe Salvador.  We then did some shopping at Muji store where I made a wood block print book for Father’s Day. After we met our friend Mayumi at Okura hotel were we met a German man who was riding his motorcycle from Berlin to Tokyo. We invited him to eat with us at a restaurant that Mayumi knew. I took teriyaki and my mom took a Sukiyaki. For dessert, I took a yuzu sorbet and mom took a green tea ice cream. After that Mayumi took us to her friend where we had a great view of Tokyo. We had to leave early to pick up Yann. At night we ate at a Korean Barbecue.
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Yann and I really enjoyed the Korean barbecue.

Day 6: Meiji-Jingu and Imperial garden

Today we met Kan (dad’s colleague ) at Laduree where we had to taste a French macaroon. We then went to a Japanese garden where we saw the difference between a Japanese and a western style garden.The differences that I saw was that in a Japanese garden there are a lot of medium size trees whereas in a western garden there are big and small trees. Also in a Japanese garden there are bridges and manicured bushes and trees and not as much in a western style garden. After that we went to the Tokyo bay where we had a beautiful view. Upon our return we ate a nice Japanese dinner at a beautiful restaurant that Kan knew. I loved the Shrimp roll and the Homemade ginger ale.
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This is the garden that Kan showed us.

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This is a traditional Japanese wedding that Kan showed us at a temple

Day 7
Today we woke up and took a nice breakfast at Okura Hotel. We had a beautiful buffet of all kinds of fruits and meats western and Japanese.  My favorite dish was the grapefruit juice.  We then took the metro to Asakusa where we took a ferry on the Sumida river to the main city streets of Asakusa, a very touristic part of Tokyo. Then we made Yann visit our highlights when we went there a week ago. We left Asakusa in a rush to catch our train to go to Hiroshima from Tokyo Station. There we took a quick stop at the market to fill up our belly’s during our 5 hour train ride.

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This is the picture of our breakfast at Okura hotel

Day 8
This morning we woke up for our first day in Hiroshima. We started off by finding a free volunteer that worked for an organization to prevent a nuclear attack from happening again. Then we went to the museum where we found a tour guide that explained things for the first half of the museum but we had to stop because we had trouble understanding her.
One of my most moving quotes I saw there was «I saw a butterfly and it landed.  I took of my cap to catch it and then…the bomb was dropped. »
After that we took a train to Myagyma and saw a beautiful temple.

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This is the view of Hiroshima from our hotel room.

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This is a picture of where the bomb exploded nearly 300 feet in the air.

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This is a picture of us and the volunteer in front of the only building that resisted the nuclear bombing.

Day 9 Nara

Today we arrived in Nara the city of many deer.  We arrived with the Shinkansen which took us 2 hours and 30 minutes from Hiroshima.  We went to our hotel and dropped off our luggage while we rented bikes there for the whole day. We first went to the 2nd tallest pagoda in Japan which was surpassed by the one in Kyoto by a couple centimeters. Then we rode our bikes down a nice alley to a gate that led to the Great Buddha. Standing at 100 feet and weighs ……. tons, this great Buddha was found in the forests of Japan. We then had an idea to ride our bikes to  another temple which I thought was too far away…6 miles!  When we were 1 mile away, we decided to turn around because it was getting dark. We then ate at a soba place next to our hotel where we met a French family traveling around the world with thier little boy whom I found adorable.
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Picture of Japanese school kids in Nara

Day 10 Kyoto 1
Today we arrived in Kyoto at the train station after a one hour train ride from Nara then Osaka. We took a bus from the station and then walked uphill to our guesthouse. Then it started to rain and we had no specific place to go to so we decided to go to the bamboo forest. Thickly populated by bamboo, this was so beautiful that my picture won the Loic elections for my new wallpaper. It was pouring so I got a couple drops of water in my picture, also to make maters worse, my shoes were so drenched in water that we had put newspaper in our shoes to absorb the water. When my mom and I put the newspaper in our shoes, yann and dad were relaxing in the onsen. For our dinner I rather not talk about it.

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Picture of temple in kyoto

Day 11 Kyoto 2
Today we woke up at 6 in the morning to see our French friends we met in a train about 2 days ago.Together we visited a temple called Kiomizu which is very known so we went before all the crowds came including hordes of children ages 7-15.  We then went to a cafe to eat a French toast and an orange juice. After our breakfast we went back to the temple to do some good luck path including a pitch black tunnel where we had to find our way to the sacred stone. You had to touch the stone to make your wish come true. The other one was the one where you had to walk in-between two stones blindfolded in order to have a good, nice marriage. We then found a pottery place where you make a pot on a pottery wheel and they glaze and send it to your house. I had been wanting to do this for a long time so my wish came true. Then we walked for a long time and our day was over!  !

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Pottery

Maing pots in kyoto with yann

Day 12

Today we woke up early to make a train that went to Toyota City. This city is where all Toyota buildings and factories are located. We had to get there at 9 so we had time to visit the museum for an hour and then be on time for the start of the tour. On the 30 minute bus from the museum to the factory, our tour guide explained to us that in the plant we were going to see, there would be the  Aquarius, the IQ, and the Corala in production. After that we took the train to Hacone where we took a 40 minute bus ride to our hotel where we had futons and a 12 inch tv !!
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Toyota mueseum

Day 13 Hacone
Today we took a tour in Hacone. First we took the bus to the cable car which went on a 10% slope. After the cable car we took the Hacone rope way which took us to a place where you can put an egg in the water and it will boil. Then we took an other rope way to a pirate boat and the pirates boat would drive you to the other side of the lake where we took a bus to our hotel. Then Shingcansenn.
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this is a picture of yann talking insence and purifying his body..and mind

Day 14
Today we started off by meeting our friends,Claire and Cosima in the main lobby of our hotel. The day before, mom had found an architectural tour that had looked interesting so we decided to eat at a coffee place called Cafe Salvador that is nearby the train station to go to Omote-Sando  to start the tour. At cafe Salvador we ordered a coffee, a pretzel, and a smoothie…My favorite. After we took the metro to Omote-Sando a neighborhood of Tokyo. Then we took a walk to see famous brand stores who hired major Architects to build a nice and attractive building. My favorite was the Tod building because it was made out of steel shaped into tree like forms. Then we ate at a sushi restaurant where you could pick the sushi off the sushi carousel and then the day was over.

Day 15

Today we started off by going to Ginza for some shopping for our friends like you. Then mom really wanted to go to the Edo Tokyo museum which tells you about the history of Tokyo if you listen but I listened to Yann’s Jokes which where pretty funny. Then we met dad to eat
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