My Japanese Experience...
Highs: Seeing Dave and Masayo; the snow monkeys in Yudanaka (near Nagano); Nara; the food;
toilets and bathrooms; experiencing snow; Kobe (especially the Kitano area); the Himeji Castle
covered with snow; the many toriis of the Fushimi Inari Shrine; the bamboo forest in Kyoto; the
Monkey Park in Kyoto.
Lows: Only having 10 days out here; not being equipped with the correct clothing.
Best Moment: I can't place a 'best' moment. Every day I came back feeling so pumped about what
I had seen that day.
Craziest Moment: Having a Japanese clown mime directions for me in the Arashiyama area of
Smells: The incredible aromas of food; incense.
Sounds: The noises at the crosswalks; the sounds radiating from stores out onto the streets;
monkeys playing/fighting/making monkey love.
Sights: Video games being played on the streets; Japanese porn shops; electronic megastores;
Buddhist temples; pagodas; Todaji Temple; Kofukuji Temple; deer in Nara; Peace Museum and
Memorial (Hiroshima); floating torii in Miyajima; Himeji Castle; Kitano in Kobe; Akashi Kaikyo Bridge
in Kobe; Arashiyama Monkey Park (Kyoto); Ginkakuji Temple (Kyoto); Fushimi Inari Taisha Shrine
Tastes: Bento boxes; sushi; marinated root veggies; seaweed salad with soybeans and tofu;
Japanese cookies; octopus balls; rice balls wrapped in moutain potato dough; okonomiyaki (referred
to as 'Japanese pizza'); momiji manju' - maple leaf-shaped cakes with a variety of fillings; oysters (on
Miwajima Island); 'rice cake' skewers with an assortment of flavors that looked more like a skewer of
steak pieces (in Kyoto).
Purchases: Different beautifully-wrapped packages of cookies; Hello Kitty tins of mints; a purse.
Street Food: Octopus balls; rice balls wrapped in mountain potato dough; roasted sweet potatoes.
Fun Food Finds: Grape and apple flavored Kit Kats (the flavoring is within the wafers - I can't
really bring myself to try these); green tea flavored Kit Kats; Hershey kisses filled with cheesecake
flavoring (unless these are new at home now).
Western Companies Out Here: Starbuck's, McDonald's, The Sports Authority; Denny's;
Coco's; KFC; Seattle's Best Coffee; Wendy's; Tully's Coffee.
Other General Info...
Visa needed? Not for Americans.
Type of currency? The yen. $1 USD is equal to a bit more than 100 yen.
Things Japan Is Known For: Sushi and tuna; temples; zen gardens; torii; World War II.
Costs: One-week rail pass was roughly $300 US.