Sunday, August 29, 2010

Kyoto Japan Day 6 and 7

Our bus arrived to Kyoto at 6am and our hostel doesn't open till 8am and does not allow you to check in till 3pm. We found  a cute cafe in front of the bus station and had some breakfast while we waited till 8am to make our way to the hostel. Eden and I keep getting lost and people here have been so helpful. We point where we need to go and people will just take us and walk us there. No way would that ever happen in NYC. We are staying at K's house hostel and sleeping in a dorm room with bunk beds. Again we hadn't made any plans and had no idea what we wanted to do so luckily when we walked outside this nice old Japanese man told us to visit Arashiyama where we went to see the monkey temple,Tenryuji temple and bamboo forest. We took a 30 min train ride to Sagano and made our way through the temples and shrines. When we first got there we realized that it would be a trek to get to the monkey temple so we went on  rickshaw and sat in the little cart where a man pulled us to the monkey temple and taught us how to say thank you in Kyoto...not sure how to spell it but it sounds like okeni. When we got to the monkey temple we did not realize how much of a hike it was. We ended up trekking up a large hill all the way up to the temple which was surrounded by monkeys. You are then welcomed with a cold wet towel and you can go inside where you are caged in from the monkeys and you are allowed to feed them peanuts. The walk down the hill was much better than the trek up... our legs were killing us. We then walked down to the temple. The Tenryu-Ji temple was one of the major temples of the Rinzai school of Zen built in 1339 on the former site of Emperor Go-Diago's villa after a priest had dreamt of a dragon rising from the nearby river. The dream was interpreted as a sign that the emperor's spirit was uneasy and the temple was constructed as appeasement-hence the name tenry which means heavenly dragon. Fun fact of the day. So again to reiterate the heat here is unbearable and we walked through the garden found 2 benches and took short naps. It is zen here its sooo beautiful I cannot believe how gorgeous this garden is. I felt like I was dreaming.

When you want to go into any temple or shrine you have to take off your shoes and put on slippers its a disturbing concept knowing that I shared slippers with 73487584768578 people but hey I have no choice. We were starving by the time we walked out so we went to a restaurant and ordered cold noodles with chicken and vegetables followed by icecream. Anything cold right now is much needed.

We then ventured off to the bamboo forest. Of course we got lost and by the time we found it Eden was not feeling very well and noticed she was sun burned with sunpoising on her legs. The sun and heat were getting to us so we decided to call it a day and head back to the hostel. We grabbed some aloe for Eden at the pharmacy, headed to our room and I took the longest shower ever and Eden chose to nap.

Unfortunately when Eden woke up she woke with a fever. The motherly instinct in me kicked in and the homeopath as well so I gave her some natural medicine, took her temperature with the thermometer my mom made me take with me.. thanks mom and got her some ice to put on her head. My goal was to break the fever some how. So I waited about an hour took her temperature again and it still was pretty high. I headed to the pharmacy and the woman could not understand me when I said fever so luckily being the flashpacker that I am I had my blackberry with me and translated fever in Japanese she gave me some Aspirin and I gave it to Eden and the fever broke and she felt much better. Just call me Dr. Goldstein.

In our room we had 3 girls from Australia and this Indian guy from Denver Colorado who needs to keep his shirt on because he is soo hairy and he keeps spraying the room with axe.... its gross. The 3 girls were really nice and they told us where to go to in Osaka and Nara while we are here and shared photos of their experiences in Kyoto.

Eden and I did not have much of an appetite and we both just had apples for dinner and passed out. The next day Eden woke up feeling much better but now just has a small cough. I have been loading up on vitamin C so I dont get sick.

We ate breakfast at the cafe next to the hostel check in and I have been craving cereal bad!! They had cornflakes, eggs, potatoes, toast and beverages. I got Eden some tea with lemon and hope it helps.

These guys who I am assuming are from California sat down behind us and started talking smack about the east coast specifically NYC and CT which are both my homes so I just raised an eyebrow but kept my mouth shut. They were all covered in the ugliest tattoos I have ever seen.

We are going to check out the Japanese baths in a bit. We have been doing a lot of hiking and sightseeing and our bodies need a break. I will let you know how it goes :)

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Day 4 and 5 in Tokyo

We went to the Tsukiji fish market today. However the action starts at 8am where people come to purchase their fish and Eden and I slept till 10am and didn't get there till noon. The second we got out of the subway we could smell the fish in the air. Although we missed the morning experience we walked around and went through the side streets where vendors were still selling fish and other goods. We did not eat breakfast and were in major need of food and caffeine. We found tonemoto coffee head shop and we were so delirious from hunger that the owner convinced us to order these tea drinks with whipcream and chocolate sauce. We also ordered toast and you may think what is so special about toast. This toast was sooo fluffy and delicious covered in butter and sweet strawberry jam. We were in heaven.

We then headed back into the side streets of the fish market and people stand outside trying to convince you to eat at their restaurant. Of course I am a huge target since I am American and they start speaking whatever English they can and hand me an English menu. We sat down at the sushi counter and I ordered salmon and sea bass sushi while Eden ordered off the kids menu. The sushi chef totally called her out and said "you are not a kid" but he was amused and made it for her anyways. He used to live in San Diego and is actually the first Asian guy I thought was cute haha. I ate the most delicious and fresh sushi I have ever eaten in my life I cannot even compare it to any place in the states it was amazing.

We then went to the Yebisu beer museum and I sampled 2 beers. For those of you who know me I got tipsy after 2 beers followed by drunk hiccups. Eden couldn't believe it.

We are heading to Kyoto and we figured we were so close to the bus station to pick up our tickets for the next day we headed over there not knowing that it was going to take us 3 hours to find the bus stop. We literally walked and asked people where to go and trying to find people who speak English is not easy. We walked into the Hyatt hotel and another fancy hotel and they were able to assist us. Although it took us some time to find the stop we were glad we did this the day before we left.

Dinner... Well we wanted to go to the only Mexican restaurant in Tokyo recommended by Lonely Planet but it was an hour and a half wait. We ate at a random Japanese place and I ate spicy noodles.

For your amusement we then ventured out to Roppongi and went to a bar called heartland. Here is where all the foreign men go to pick up and hit on Asian women. It is legit we sat back and watched all the creepy foreign men hit on the Asian women the lines we heard were so lame. We spoke to a German engineer who has been living in Tokyo for 5 years and he told us how the Asian women come to this bar speak English to attract foreign men. Don't worry he has a gf. Because I am not Asian we attracted 2 guys from Australia one was half Japanese who was teaching English here and the other 100 percent Japanese who wanted to know if I prefered Brandon or Dylan from 90210 and I said neither Jared Leto from My so called life duh! He was not amused. They wanted us to go to a dance club with them but we passed and chose to head home.

Next day we layed low and chilled in the hostel to wait for the heat to die down a bit. We then went to Ueno where there are side streets for shopping and a shrine dedicated to Ueno who unified Tokyo. We had lunch at a restaurant where you take your shoes off and sit indian style at the low tables. My first time sitting on the floor. When we went back into the subway we got out and noticed a shopping mall. We headed in to what looked like a huge market area kind of like a big huge fance Harry and David or Dean and Deluca. I was craving veggies and bought grilled vegetables. We also walked by a juice place and ordered blueberry juice to get some antioxidants in me and Eden ordered a pear juice. We then ventured in search of a citibank ATM and headed back to our hostel.

We are now on an overnight bus headed to Kyoto with no bathroom and I have to pee. God help me and good night

Friday, August 27, 2010

Tokyo Disneyland day 3 in Japan

Ok sorry I couldn't write yesterday by the time we got home it was time to pass out. Yesterday we went to Tokyo Disneyland and it definitely brought me back to being a kid again. It is extremely hot here and let me tell you this Guata Jew is rockin the JEW FRO. I had to put my hair in braids just to maintain it. We searched and searched for a mickey hat with ears but all they had were scrunchies and headbands with ears or hair clips with ears which I purchased to add on to the fro.

We pretty much went on every ride such as big thunder mountain, dumbo, splash, mountain, space mountain, star tours, pirates of the Caribbean and its a small world. Eden and I barely saw any other Americans and I have to admit it was pretty amusing to have everything in Japanese especially splash mountain where all the furry animals were singing in Japanese. Oh so something to note .....the difference between Japan and China  is that the Chinese people have no respect for space and will cut you in line and push you out of the way. We were waiting in line for splash mountain and this Chinese woman and her son were trying to cut Eden and I. I may not speak either language but I gave her the international signal for get in the back of the line lady and during the entire wait, which was 110min wait, she was on my ass. If we were in a car this lady was tailgating me like it was her job. Oh and you know how six flags has the flash pass that costs $1,000 extra per person well the great thing about Tokyo Disneyland is that they are free here!!! For lunch we both ordered chicken curry and the curry sauce looked like thick gravy and the chicken freaked me out but when you are here you cannot be picky about food. We then treated ourselves to shaved ice which Eden and I have become obsessed with since the humidity is unreal.

Late night we headed out to the red light district where sex sells and there is a gay/lesbian area. We couldn't find the restaurant we wanted to go to so we ended up walking into an Italian place. I ordered risotto and Eden decided to be adventurous and pointed to something in Japanese and waited for her surprise.... it looked like snails in a cheese sauce and our waiter didn`t speak a word of English so Eden drew a picture of a snail to ask if thats what she was eating and he had to go to the computer to translate what he wanted to say. It ended up being some sort of shellfish. Good for her for being adventurous when it comes to food. We then wandered around to the gay district and walked into a lesbian bar and ordered an $8 Corona.... yes an $8 Corona I know. All of a sudden all the Asian women started clapping and singing happy birthday to this girl at the bar in English so we were able to chime in. On our walk back to the subway I couldn`t help but notice all the pictures of topless Asian men ..... oy vey,,, lets just say some of the pics were inappropriate.

We have figured out the subway system its a little intense at first and there are 2 different companies which took Eden and I 2 days to figure out because if you buy the wrong ticket it the little doors to the entrance wont let you in and makes a loud sound.... very embarassing. The concept is the same as NYC. There are colors and letters but there are separate exits for different locations when you want to exit so even if you are on the gray Hline you either get out at exit 1c or 3. Very confusing I know but it can be done.

We missed our stop and had to wait for the next train and Eden was amused watching my head bob up and down from almost passing out in my chair. I am still jetlagged ugh.

We are still staying at the Sakura hotel and we went to the fishmarket and ropongi today which I will talk about in the next blog. We head out for Kyoto tomorrow night.

I have attached some pics. Enjoy!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Sightseeing in Tokyo day 2 in Japan

We got an early start today and wandered around Tokyo. First, we went to the Imperial Palace Plaza. We saw a bunch of little...trees? It was okay. The most exciting part was before we got there we used a fancy Asian toilet that has buttons for shooting water and a blow-dryer function. Once you close the bathroom door, the stall plays peaceful babbling brook sounds and it flushes automatically when you open the stall door. Then we had to use another public toilet and I was warned I would need to squat since the toilet is literally in the ground I took a picture for all of you don`t worry I flushed :)

Then, we took the train to what we thought was the Meiji Jingu (a shrine.) We got lost and wandered down a fashion street called Takeshija St. which  is where we saw those Japanese costume stores where you can get anything from Little Bo Beep to nurse uniforms to Japanese school girl uniforms. For those of you who watched sailor moon thats what the costumes looked like. There`s a group of girls called `Cosplay` who wear these costumes out in public. Anyway, we ended up at another shrine called Togo Jinja. Of course, all shrines look the same and it wasn`t until we got to the gift shop that I realized we had gone to the wrong one that we had originally planned to go to.

After that, we got a shaved ice and headed towards another train station. We happened upon the highly fashionable Omotesando district. It`s high-end like Fifth Avenue. Then it was back on the train all the way to the other end of the line to see the Sensoji Temple. People come here to pray and place their wishes on a small piece of paper and tie it to this thing that looks like a large drying rack.

We then went to a restaurant where you sit down and there is a rotating line of food and you pick what you want to eat off the line. Each plate is a different price and I had salmon sushi and a vegetarian spring roll.

You are allowed to walk around the streets and drink in public as if you were in Vegas or New Orleans. We walked by a beer dispenser machine and found that amusing.

Finally, we headed to Shiuya. It`s supposed to be the go-to place for Japanese fashion. While we walked I could not help but notice how the women dress in Japan. They all dress up and wear heels and you want to know whats popular here... SCRUNCHIES!!! They all have really cool hair styles too!

When we got back to the Sakura hotel I needed a nap. Eden woke me up and we headed out to a restaurant and had ramen noodles. I had to tell our waiter that I couldn't`t eat pork so my ramen consisted of noodles and spinach and it was extremely salty. But it came with a free glass of tea and Eden and I treated out salty. But it came with a free glass of iced tea and Eden and I treated ourselves to a beer.
Tomorrow we are going to Tokyo Disneyland.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

1st day in Japan!!! We made it!!

Well I made it here in one piece.13 hour flight and was only able to sleep for 1 hour. At first I sat next to a man who provided me with a ton of travel advice for China and then asked me to move seats with his wife and ended up sitting next to a 20 yr old Italian kid named Steven who is studying Japanese for a year. He thought I was 20 as well god bless his heart sure I can be 20 again.  He taught me a little Japanese and then we ended up playing connect four for the entire flight. I flew on Nippon airways and the food was horrible and I was not happy about the movie choices. Anyways once I landed and went through customs Eden was able to find me right away... plus she found my backpack before she saw me. We then realized that we had both came to Japan with no plan and had no where to go. What the hell are we doing ? So I opened my lonely planet guide book found a hotel in the middle of Tokyo and started our adventure trying to figure out the subway system..... god help us. We ended up on a local train and had no idea where we were luckily Eden got the hang of it but of course when it came to switching stations you needed your ticket to get out and you know me...... lost the ticket. Went to talk to the ticket booth man and smiled he had no idea what I was saying in English and just let me pass. We made it to the hotel and we are staying at the Sakura hotel. We then met up with an old college buddy of mine who lives in Tokyo. Josh, Eden and I then headed out for our first meal in japan and guess what I ate.... HORSE MEAT! Going to head to bed now. Good night

Friday, August 20, 2010

The Plan

I bought a 1 way ticket to Japan and expect to be back in 4 months, hopefully, but I'm thinking I'll stay longer, sorry mom!

Some people say I am doing my own eat pray love....perhaps I am. After all this trip is for and about me.

Countries I am going to visit: Japan, China, Thailand, Indoneisa and Africa. There is talk about going to Australia. Once Eden and I get to Indonesia we will determine our next move.

If you have any suggestions please email me at

Stay Tuned

August 23rd...let it begin!

About this adventure...

After 3 years in the city I knew it was time to venture out of my cube and see the world.  I had an itch and I knew the only way to cure it was to visit places I've never been.  My heart was telling me to visit Asia and Africa because of the rich cultures. I love to travel and I felt that at this point in my life taking a break from honking taxis, $4.50 Chai tea lattes, expensive rent, & my comfort zone was exactly what I needed.

After planning and saving for a few months it's finally time for me to start my adventure!