Oh where to begin… Well first I must warn you that I’m very tired and I may not make a lot of sense right now! This has been a 25-hour day for us, with many events I want to share with you!
Starting with the flight. This is something I wrote somewhere over the Pacific Ocean in my project journal.
“As I am writing this I am flying over some part of the Pacific Ocean. Of course you’ll be reading this after I land… but I have about six more hours stuck in the air. I keep looking out the window, to see nothing but water and clouds. It doesn’t change… just water and clouds…. That’s all I will fly over until we reach Japan. It is unsettling; I don’t like the thought that in an emergency situation, we would have to land in the water! I love the ocean, and I’m not afraid of water at all, but landing an airplane on it! That’s a different story. Haha, I worry about unlikely things. That is one thing you will get to know about me through my blog/writing, I am very dramatic
My lunch was interesting…. I’m actually not a hundred percent sure what it was. I know it was yellow rice and beans, but there was this brown substance that looked like cat food, but tasted alright for airplane food, I guess. I think it had some bell pepper in it; all I know is that is was vegetarian.”
My flight was very nice actually. It went by quick and it felt more like eight hours, not 11. I don’t like flying, but this was a nice and easy trip out of the country US.
Immigration and Customs: At first when we walked into the floor that is nothing but Immigration, there were probably about 200+ people waiting in line. I thought it was going to take forever! You should have seen the line… There were Japanese officials directing traffic and you couldn’t walk ten feet without being filmed. But! We made it out of there within the hour, and on we went to get our car.
The airport was very colorful and alive. Everyone is very friendly here. We bought some maps and rented a phone.
First time driving: Our first step outside… It’s probably about 90 degrees!! Keep in mind I am wearing knee high boots and jeans and my dad, is in a heavy long sleeve shirt w/long pants. The weather still has not changed. It seemed to get even hotter as it got dark out. Anyway, fifteen minutes after trying to find the rental car place, we are drenched in sweat walking in. The car rental people were very nice! And very helpful! In Japan you drive on the left side of the road, and your steering wheel is on the right side of your car. It’s very weird to get used to and we had an interesting trip to our hotel.
Let me start by saying that it took us five minutes to figure out how to take the parking brake off. And for those of you who know my family, we can never go anywhere without something interesting happening! So this was some sort of sign to me… crap! We’ve been up for hours traveling all day, thirsty, hot, and now we have to figure out how to drive here and what the heck all the road signs say!
But besides the tollgate not having a real person at it, so we had to figure out money and me bumping the GPS and then having to reprogram it, the trip was great! It was very stressful because we don’t read Japanese, but we found our way here all right!
Parking was crazy! The streets are very, small and there is a lot going on. People will go in the opposite lanes to pass you, bikes own the road, and pedestrians are everywhere! We ended up driving the wrong way up a street, and a nice but funny old man with a dog was waving us in the other direction!
Town: The town of Wakayama (or at least where we are in town) is defiantly for shoppers! I have no way to describe it. It’s very quaint and the people are very nice. There are long pedestrian and bikers malls. You walk down these tunnels like sidewalks and along the sides of you are cute shops and restaurants. I don’t have much else to say about the town. I have only seen eight blocks of it currently. And we leave Wakayama tomorrow morning. But I will say all of the people here are lovely.
Food: I’m having a hard time wording this section, because I do not want to offend this culture. What it comes down to is, yes, a difference in cultures. In the US a “vegetarian” usually means no meat/fish. But here in Japan, you ask for a vegetarian option and people immediately say “fish”. We went to three different restaurants looking for vegetarian food, and everyone started giving us Sushi options. It showed me just how much fish is apart of the Japanese food culture. I’d compare it to hamburgers. Most of the US eats hamburgers and most of Japan eats fish.
Our dinner experience tonight was amazing! We found this traditional Japanese restaurant. We walked in and there were water fountains lining the floors, it smelled like you were on a hike! Then you walk through these big double doors and there is a restaurant, and an area behind a wall that looked to be some sort of meditation or relaxing space of some kind. They made us take our shoes off, it’s the first time I’ve done that in a restaurant! We had Miso soup and vegtable tempura with hot tea. It was beyond cool eating such a fancy Japanese dinner, in Japan!
Now I am going to get some sleep, so I can wake up all fresh and ready to go tomorrow. We are headed for Taiji.
For the Animals,