*This spring, I've had the opportunity to make two trips to Japan, which I've combined here into one post.
This little bar in the Golden Gai area just north of Sinjuku station was one of many packed to the brim with foreigners and Japanese alike. I even managed to fineagle an impromptu ukelele performance.
Hello kitty ^^
My dad vs sashimi
These next pictures are from Kamakura, a beautiful seaside town near Tokyo famous for its Daibutsu (big Buddha). Buddhas, so many Buddhas. And a delicious cafe called the Bergfeld - a German village somewhere is missing its cookies.
Together with Adam, this year's India Luce Scholar, I took an overnight boat from Busan, on Korea's southern coast, to Fukuoka, on the northern coast of Japan. The boat came complete with karaoke parlor, video games, beer vending machines, restaurant, and spa/bathhouse. And one extra captain's uniform.
These ferries make a surprising amount of their revenue from shipping. After we boarded the ferry, we waited some hours while an endless procession of containers made their way onboard.
We arrived safely the next morning in Fukuoka, and headed to immigration. The customs officers politely but thoroughly searched Adam's luggage for illegal drugs (apparently they are suspicious of travelers from India AND don't trust the customs officers in Korea).
After a morning of sightseeing in Fukuoka, we boarded the Sinkansen for Kyoto. These trains really book it - even slight wiggles in the track seemed to throw the train sharply sideways.
In Kyoto, after finding a vegetarian restaurant for Adam (no small task in Korea either but at least I speak the language), we headed out for some drinks. In a small backstreet bar, we made a new friend, a Japanese construction company owner who spoke strongly Australian-accented English. He brought us to a reggae-themed establishment, and then we capped the night off with the best ramen I've ever had.
Seeing Kyoto by bike was an excellent experience (for us, although probably less so for the locals, who must grow tired of the hordes of lost tourists). The city, relatively level with many pedestrian/bike paths, accommodates bicycles easily. Adam and I jumped on our pink bikes and headed off to explore.