Japan Travel Log (Part 1)

Monday, September 27, 2010

Before I start with my account, I'd like to note some things first, specifically for those who'd think we covered an unrealistic amount of tourist spots in such a small span of time. I think I've already mentioned this before when I did a piece on Macau - when my family tours abroad, it's not really much of a vacation, in a sense that you're supposed to get relaxed. No, our tours are more like military tours, wherein you only have enough time to see the sights, take pictures, and occasionally catch your breath so as to not die of exhaustion. Orde Wingate would've been proud. To be honest, even with our usual standards, Japan was a bit ridiculous. By the fifth day, I was walking like a very old man because my foot joints have given away already as early as the second day, and it only got worse. It didn't help that the shoes I was wearing, Adidas Dragon, had a foot sole no thicker than a slice of sashimi. (At least sashimi is soft).

As for other notes, it's also interesting that despite the fact that we do follow a strict regimen, we actually barely plan anything. Even though it's a requirement for the Japanese visa to have an itenerary, in the event we just copied it off some site online and never really followed any of it, apart from the departure and arrival dates. What we do is hit the tourist counter, ransack every piece of free brochure there and do our planning on the fly. It sounds crazy, but somehow, it works - in the same way kicking your computer to make it stop hanging up would be inexplicably stupid, but it does the trick most of the time.

I barely speak Japanese of course, apart from the usual phrases like "Please" "Excuse me" and "Let me go, Mr. Policeman". My sister Janine definitely has a better grasp of the language, but most of the time we resort to either sign language or broken Japanized English that somehow gets understood better than regular English. The language barrier is intimidating, but if you don't really mind having to figure most things out by context clues, it's hardly a problem.

Also, Japan's always been my favorite destination when it comes to travelling to other countries, followed by Hong Kong, and finally the Playboy Mansion, if it were a country.

p.s. (Pictures later. That takes too much time)

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