One More Look Back at Japan

The eighth and final instalment in our (not so) recent adventures in Japan.

May 3-17, 2015: After a summer hiatus from writing the blog, I stumbled upon one more folder of photos from our trip to Japan back in May. These are the ones that didn’t quite fit with the other posts, but still deserved a mention. So here they are: a hodge podge of belated but quirky Japanese highlights.

Japan is Expensive
I supposed we could have gotten by eating ramen noodles and staying in capsule hotels to save a buck, but I was not prepared to see the likes of $200 melons and $2000 bottles of scotch. Chi-ching. The XE Currency Exchange app really helped us stay on top of the actual cost of things.

What’s Up With the Grass?
From grass slippers to living walls of grass, we found grass in some rather unusual places.

Doctor Yellow
While we were waiting to catch a Shinkansen (bullet train) from Tokyo Station to Kyoto, we spotted one of the elusive Doctor Yellow trains. According to Wikipedia, Doctor Yellow is the nickname for the high-speed test trains that monitor track conditions on the dedicated Shinkansen routes. Speaking of trains, we relied heavily on the Trains.JP app to help us get where we needed to go. A highly recommended app for getting around Tokyo.

Don’t Drink Your Green Tea
Of course, you could be traditional and simply drink your green tea served hot or cold. But it’s more fun to experiment with green tea flavoured treats, from Pocky sticks to Kit Kats to Haagen-Dazs ice cream. I could certainly go for a tub of green tea ice cream right about now!

Do People Smoke Everywhere? Yes and No
We found it rather unusual that smoking is okay in restaurants (yuck) but not on the streets, unless you chance upon a glass smoking box. Since there is no roof, the smoke just wafts up and about.

Toilets with Fun Factor
Japanese toilets are the best. Known as washlets, they come with heated seats and a whole array of controls that take a bit of experimenting to get just right. At least the controls are somewhat self explanatory.

Sake Overload
We tried to buy a souvenir bottle of sake but we were overwhelmed by the selection. I thought selecting red wine was hard, but sake options were endless. Try shopping when you can’t read any of the labels. We gave up and bought sochu instead.

Double-Decker Parking Garages
I snapped this picture near the Sumo Centre in Tokyo. It seemed pretty novel at the time. But I guess this is becoming more popular in cities where parking is at a premium because I even saw something similar in Victoria this summer.

So that, finally, concludes our Japanese adventures…at least until next time.

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