June 2 (Day 5): Highlights

IMG_8532cThis was the day I finally realized that the sun rises at 4:30am here. That helps explain why, after 5 days, I’m still waking up at 4:45 every day. I thought it was just jet lag, and I couldn’t figure out why I wasn’t getting over it yet.

Here are some of the exciting things we did that Thursday, our 5th full day in Tokyo: Continue reading

KitKats part 2

Today we arrived in Kyoto, and I found a few other flavors of KitKat to try – more variations on green tea.

This third one may not qualify as another flavor. From the picture on the package, it looked like it might be green tea on the outside and chocolate on the inside. But I tried it and that doesn’t seem to be the case. The inside filling isn’t green, but it also isn’t chocolate. Maybe this one is Matcha + Hojicha!

I also got a small box of the Premium Mint ones so I can try it and (maybe) leave the larger bag of them intact until I get home.


Small package of Premium Mint. A friend observed that in Japan “mint” is represented by a bluer green than in the US. We’re guessing this is to help distinguish it from green tea.

Japanese train information systems


The Japanese trains and subways are the most information-rich public transportation systems I’ve ever seen. In the case of the photo above, the back of seat tray on this Shinkasen (bullet train), is telling me what amenities are available in my car and the two adjacent cars. This information appears on the back of every seat car. It’s in Japanese AND English!

That’s just one example, but everywhere you look in train stations here, and on the trains themselves, the signage is concisely and thoroughly informative.

Continue reading


A popular topic of conversation among my co-workers, in the days leading up to my trip, was interesting Japanese KitKat flavors. I promised to bring some back with me when I return. Here are the flavors I’ve found so far:


I’m particularly excited about the green tea and the mint ones because a lot of the special flavors are white chocolate and tend to be a little too sweet. These two both have flavor between the layers, but chocolate on the outside. I haven’t tried any of these yet, but I’m looking forward to it!