日本 day7 | Mt. Shosha (書写) hiking almost made me into a mountainman

January 2 I was told that Himeji (姫路市) would be incomplete without a hike to the temple complex of Shoshazan Engyō-ji (書寫山圓教寺) atop Mt. Shosha (書写).  A bus ride and a ropeway got me up to the top of the mountain where a good chunk of The Last Samurai was shot.  Being there on the Read More …

日本 day6.5 | Himeji (姫路市)

January 1 On the first day of 2010, I packed up my things after a charming breakfast with Aaron & the Sumidas and wandered out to explore Japan on my own.  They needed to be with the family for Japanese New Year / shōgatsu (正月), and I wanted to be on my own to dive Read More …

日本 day5 & 6.5 | laying low before (& raw fish on) the New Year

December 31 We needed a day of rest.  At lunch with Face’s host parents, I was invited to two (if not three) meals that are truly of cultural importance during Japanese New Year (正月).  First, I was to share dinner with them on New Year’s Eve, and then I was to come to breakfast on Read More …

日本 day4 | time for Nara (奈良市)

December 30 With our last day before New Year’s Eve, we decided to leave the city to head out to Nara.  With most of the friends assembled, we jumped on a couple trains out to Nara (奈良市).  That is, after I got on the wrong line by myself (dumb Americani). The city of Nara (奈良市) Read More …

日本 day3 | leaving Kyoto (京都), on to Kobe (神戸市)

December 29 Leaving Kyoto (京都) was a little bit of a disappointment; I felt like I had just begun to unlock that city.  I still think I got just a peek.  As Face and I left, we saw quite a few signs that were telling us not to leave (resulting in what we are going Read More …

日本 day2 | bike-a-thon: temple of the Golden Pavilion & the mountainside of 10,000 gates

December 28 Borrowing some bikes, the four of us (Aaron, Chad, Malia & myself) biked Kyoto from top to bottom.  On our agenda began with an unsuccessful stop at Nijō Castle (二条城) due to New Year’s preparations.  We proceeded to Kinkaku-ji (金閣寺)/ “the temple of the Golden Pavilion” in northern Kyoto (京都) where there was Read More …