kyoto 1st evening

the first day in kyoto was really a half day; we arrived about 3 in the afternoon, and took a taxi from the station to our hotel. did a decent bit of walking, found a little beer bar and had some snacks. lots more walking, to a Ramen place where we ordered from a machine and ate like kings.

Then, we walked around the central shopping district, and I decided wherever the “The Body Shop” was, I needed to not be, so we made a couple sharp turns and ended up in a little bar off the river where they made fun absinthe drinks and there was a couch on the ceiling because when they went to move it out they discovered the door had been redone and was too small to fit the couch out any more.

That’s pretty much it for Day 2. Day 3 is also in the can, and day 4 isn’t even imported yet, but I’ve got another long train ride today, back to Tokyo.

Posted by Matt on 2018-10-30 17:59:41 +0900

tokyo breakfast walk

This was the moring of our transit day to tokyo; all those blog posts were in my future, but you don’t get very far without coffee when jet-lagged, so we went to a nearby cafe that Sophia had bird-dogged and I had just a really lovely pastry and americano. It was situated on a small river, which you can see in the second and third photos.

Oh, and: the little marker (second to last photo): No idea what these are, but I see them around buildings. Best guess: some kind of property line or survey marker.

Posted by Matt on 2018-10-30 16:38:39 +0900

train; tokyo station; later that night

I didn’t get any pictures right after getting off the plane; if you’ve ever gotten off a big international flight, it was exactly like that. If you’ve never had the experience, imagine a bunch of boring hallways, where you go and hand over some forms to bored officials, and they look at you sternly and then stamp your passport. The only real difference this time was the lettering on the signs was half in a new language (most signs are in English and Japanese).

We met Nicholas after we got out of customs and picked up our hotspot gadget (which is why I have internet here hurtling through the countryside on this train). Then we made our way to the train station, picked up our rail passes, and waited. We had some beers while waiting on the train to toast our arrival. The party was together.

I tried to get photos out of the train window, but nothing worked. I think it was probably a combination of being up far too long on too little sleep, and the fact that the trains here are really fast. I ended up with a couple I don’t hate, anyway.

Then we had to walk from the station to our hotel. It took us a good 15 minutes just to find our way out of the station, and then we wandered back in to a different part, got lost again, then finally mad our way out to the surface and to the road we needed. During all of that, I was juggling luggage and camera, and managed to lose the new viewfinder for my 15mm. of course I didn’t bring the old one as a backup, so I’ll have to pick up another one of those when I’m back in the states.

So, after getting to the hotel, showering, and getting some yakitori for dinner, I went looking for the thing, retracing my steps, but didn’t find it. Oh, and the last photo: that’s the view out our first night’s hotel window. Now the train, and Kyoto is up next. Woot!

Posted by Matt on 2018-10-28 13:44:30 +0900

lax; clouds over the pacific; landfall

I don’t know why people complain about LAX; we may have been in a newer terminal, but it seemed pretty nice relative to some airports I’ve been in (looking at you, Guadalajara). Even versus SFO the only thing I can complain about is the wait time in the food court was pretty long.

so, because of reasons that I can’t begin to understand, we had to go to our gate in LA to get our tickets for the LAX->NRT leg. Once we got there, the printer for one of the gate agents broke, and they were dealing with that. Even with that considerable pressure, they were doing a great job, and got us all set in plenty of time. I must say the Singapore Airlines flight we were on was fantastic. We had an exit row, but also the cabin crew were friendly and helpful in a way that seems pretty rare these days.

The trip so far has been a lot of time in transit. We’re currently on a train to Kyoto, traveling at speeds in excess of R17 (and if you get that reference, I’ll bet you know where your towel is, too). Next post, as soon as I get the photos edited, is a bunch of walking around Tokyo.

Posted by Matt on 2018-10-28 12:47:12 +0900