Morning in Shinjuku

Good morning! I see from the blog that Rachel went ahead and worked on writing up some things before going to bed. I, of course, went face down right after the dinner and walk and got up incredibly early.

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Rachel is completely asleep inside, which makes sense, if it’s 7 in the morning. I’ve been up since 6, started to do slight rearrangement of my stuff for walking around, and discovered this nice terrace coming out of our place. Gee, our host, was incredibly nice, and came out for dinner with no warning, and showed us some stuff even though we were basically out of our minds from lack of rest.

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The place we’re staying at, this combination music studio and apartment, is a wonder of engineering. The amount of stuff that is in this space and the way that design fits in with feeling both spacious and economic, really makes me like oversized homes even less.

As the fact that I’m awake and talking about Rachel being asleep (and Rachel having written an entry last night while I was asleep) shows, we have slightly different schedules and slightly different ways we do things. The hardest part of us as a couple has always been synchronizing different outlooks into something that we can both work with. But over the years, it’s really become a pretty minor consideration and effort compared to how much we do have in common. For example, we have effortlessly chosen all sorts of places to eat and visit while out here, and on our walks together, the idea of going into further and further interesting fractal experiences as we stumble upon them fills us both with excitement.

This whole trip is a dream of mine. In my late twenties, head agog with anime and Japanese video games, I had this vision of the place that made me want to come and get involved in everything involving the city. Various ranges of finance and opportunity prevented me from doing it all throughout my thirties, and here in my forties I finally visit the country for the first time. This is an incredibly long time coming!

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We’ll see how well we balance both writing about what we’re doing and doing it. Here’s to the beginning of a great trip!

May 28 recap (Day 0): So very tired

We made our way to the first place we’re staying in Japan, an AirBnB called “Urban Oasis.” It took a little longer than we had expected, but we made it. Our host, Gee, who runs a music production company in the downstairs part of the building, texted us to make sure we didn’t get lost.

When we got here, sweaty and exhausted, we put our things down and gave him a bottle of Bulleit Bourbon we had a brought for him (he insisted we didn’t have to, but we wanted to!). And he showed us around the place. Then we got cleaned up and were about to go grab something for dinner before passing out. We asked Gee if he wanted to join us.

So the three of us set out for a walk, and went to a nearby udon place. I can’t tell you what it’s called because everything, including the name, was only in Japanese. Luckily, Gee was there to help us navigate the menu.

I got something sort of like mentai spaghetti – udon with creamy cod roe sauce. Jason got a curry both with noodles.

Afterwards, we stopped and got a few snacks in the grocery store for tomorrow.

I fell asleep about 5 times while writing this post, so that’ll have to do for now. Tomorrow I’ll try to add some photos. [UPDATE: I added a few photos in this album on flickr, though most of them are from the following day.]

Zzzzzzz

Getting around like a local

We made it to Japan! Then we spent over an hour going through immigration & customs, picking up our rented pocket WiFi and phone, and figuring out the trains.

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I love visiting places that have great public transportation. I like it even better when I get a card or pass that lets me use it the way regular people do. Jason and I got these Suica cards. You pre-load it with some amount and then you can use it to pay for all the different trains and buses in Tokyo. And you can also use it to buy things from vending machines and apparently even some convenience stores.

However, we’re so exhausted that we already missed two opportunities to use them, opting to pay with cash instead. Tomorrow we’ll remember, I hope.

Packing Light

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Jason and I are going to Japan for 25 days, and we’re going to be trekking around a lot. We don’t want to be lugging giant suitcases all over the place, so we’re trying to pack as light as possible. We’re each bringing one rolling suitcase (carry-on size) and one day-pack sized backpack.  Continue reading