Overall map and general details from my two weeks in Japan with my brother, my currently-teaching-in-Japan best friend, and my Japanese friend from a summer abroad in Australia.
15.11.2010 - 30.11.2010 55 °F
I did it - I finally accomplished the trip that I first set out to do almost 3 years ago. Japan. Two weeks of it, to be precise.
Two years of haphazard studying of the Japanese language, obsessing over Google maps, Hyperdia.com, and Japan-Guide.com culminated in a figurative and literal blur (those shinkansen can sure move..) that was everything I could have hoped for, yet still left me wanting more.
I saw major sights, but also went some places where I was the least touristy person there. I got lost in absolutely massive crowds, but had many priceless one-on-one interactions of various lengths and degrees of speaking skill (usually somewhere between "completely indecipherable" and "just enough") with locals while in the middle of small towns. I hurriedly ate noodles at local noodle shops while standing up, but also give in for McD's and Starbucks on a couple of occasions. (I stand by the fact that I was looking for free WiFi, but nooooo...) And the ultimate Japanese experience of them all... napping on the morning train while standing up.
Fun fact - it was the first time I've seen my brother or my best friend since March, and I had to leave the country in order to do so.
I don't want to spoil too much more of the daily stories and happenings, so I'll just leave you with this overall map and a promise, that I hope to succeed at keeping, of future updates coming very soon!