On Friday, March 1, everyone from my school (I think there were about 300 of us) went on a field trip to 箱根 (はこね, Hakone), Kanagawa-ken, Japan. It was about 1.5 – 2 hours by bus from Shibuya. So why did we go there? I mean, just what is Hakone known for?
Well, it’s probably most known for its 温泉 (おんせん, onsen), or hot springs. We didn’t actually go to any though, which is probably for the best. I didn’t really want to see my male classmates in the buff. However, 混浴 would be OK! ^_~
Hakone is also known for its 黒卵 (くろたまご, kurotamago), or hard-boiled black eggs. The story goes that if you eat one, you’ll have 7 years added to your life. I ate two.
Now, before you get weirded out about the idea of a black egg, I have to tell you that only the shell is black. The rest of the egg is white and yellow and otherwise normal. And it tastes just fine. They’re black because of the sulfuric water the eggs are boiled in. Unfortunately, I did not take a picture of them, but you can see them in the video below!
While there, we also took a boat ride around 芦ノ湖 (あしのこ, Ashinoko), a lake located in Hakone. There was a pirate ship type boat there, but unfortunately we road a normal one. Still, it was nice to get out and see some nature. It’s a joy to see it after being surrounded by urban things all the time in Yokohama and Shibuya.
It was on the boat ride that I had the chance to eat two “strange” things. They can both be seen in the video above. The first was a piece of squid filled with some type of peppers inside. This came from a classmate who brought it from her home of 大连 (Dàlián), China. As said in the video, it’s not something I’d try to find on my own, but looking back while I type this, it was pretty tasty.
Next was a duck tongue. Yes, the actual tongue of a duck. I really wish I had taken pictures of this with my camera rather than only video. Still, watching the video you can get an idea of how alien that thing looked. The flavor was good, but the texture was a little strange. I’m glad I tried it though!
It was a trip of about 7 hours with the bus ride and all. I really wish we could have two field trips each term, or at least a few days to walk around areas of Tokyo and get out of the classroom more often. But I guess once is better than none!
As always, there are plenty more pictures. Click here for to view the rest of the pictures.
Most people know that I’m not really an outdoors type of person. The only camping I’ve done was in Rainman’s backyard back in middle school one night… and later on we ended up going back inside. So, it’s a bit of a surprise both to myself and maybe others that I voted to go on a field trip to Japan’s Takaosan (高尾山).
Located about an hour away from Shibuya Station, on a clear day you can see Mt. Fuji from this mountain. And that’s just what we did. A selection of pictures follows, but for ALL of the pictures, visit my smugmug. Unfortunately, I didn’t have the white balance set correctly on my camera, so I had to correct in post. And I was lazy, so a lot of it still looks way too blue. (more…)
2007 - Made my first trip to Japan. I visited a friend, and he acted as an interpreter and tour guide.
2008 – Visited my former Japanese teacher and his wife. Daytime I was on my own; at night we partied.
2009 – Went with friends from Texas where I acted as tour guide and a poor excuse for an interpreter.
2010 – Moved to Yamaguchi, taught English for a while, resigned, job hunted in Tokyo for two months.
2011 – Didn’t visit.
This year, I’m visiting Tokyo for a week with Rainman. I’ll again act as a guide and interpreter. Rainman has never visited Japan before. We’ll meet up with many of my friends, go sightseeing, drinking, karaoke, etc.
That’s one purpose of the trip. The other is to visit a Japanese language school I’m applying to. Located in Shibuya, the plan is to work this year, save money, then begin classes in October 2012. The purpose is as it sounds: to study the Japanese language in an immersive environment. Classes are taught in Japanese, I’d live in Japan, and it’s looking like I’d live with a Japanese family.
My goal with the school is to improve my Japanese from the paltry JLPT N5 level to JLPT N2. A tough goal I feel, but something doable.
Welcome to my guide to visiting Japan. This is based off my experience visiting and living in Japan. It’s not a completely travel book by any means. It doesn’t cover specific places to go, but general knowledge on getting around the country. I know there are things that are not on here that probably should be. In which case, leave a comment to let me know, and I’ll try to include information about it.
I’ve been asked by several people the past few years for things to do when going to Japan. Things like using the subways, good Japanese phrases and words to know, price of things, etc. I love sharing my knowledge with others, but I find myself repeating myself, so rather than have to come up with a new list from time to time, here’s my compendium of things to know before going to Japan. (more…)
In just a few days, I shall depart for my maiden voyage to Korea, followed by a return visit to Tokyo. I detailed the details over here. I must note in advance I probably will not take as many pics in Tokyo as I usually do. This is because I already know what the city looks like. Korea may yield some pictures though.
People keep telling me I should join the twitter bandwagon. I still refuse for a few reasons, detailed below:
- I hate having a character limit. I don’t want to be limited to 150 characters per post.
- I don’t have a means to make updates when I’m not at a computer
- The site is free for now, thanks to imbutions of angel funding and other sources of money. At some point it’ll have to be riddled with ads or fees will be charged to use it, which would annoy me.
- I already have enough distractions.
- Would I really remember to post on there?
That said, it could be handy to post stuff during my travels in Japan.
Meh, I’m ok with what I have going for now.
Since returning from Panama, work has been non-stop busy. But the month from hell is just about over, so now I may resume posting. I’ve found motivation once again to really focus on my Japanese classes, so I’ve been focusing more on that when I’m at home. Oh, and playing Street Fighter IV.
Street Fighter IV has been a blast thus far. It’s easy to pick up for a few mins (which oftentimes turns into hours).. sort of like most DS games. Pick up for a few mins, play, put it back down. Of course, it takes a huge commitment to become really good at the game. Lots of precision timing and learning to read opponents is required.
So I have returned from Panama. I left March 4 and returned March 8. A short trip that I wish could’ve been made longer, but work wouldn’t let me take off more time. By the way, click the image here, or this link, to view pics from Panama.
The purpose of the trip was to see my dad and stepmom. I, of course, did other things… like drink! Alcohol down there is cheap. I saw handles of vodka and rum in the grocery stores for about $12.50.
The parents live in a nice villa that’s part of a resort/hotel complex. The villa they own is about 5 minutes away from the beach by golf cart. While on the beach–as seen in the picture–you can order drinks to be brought to you while you wait on a chair in the shade.