I took a trip out to Japan to visit a friend of mine who was finishing up a JAG stint at Misawa AFB.  It turned out that I was able to stay with some Japanese cavers I met earlier.  They were marvelous hosts and a good base to explore Kyoto and Osaka.


Pictures:  http://picasaweb.google.com/stephen.paylor/Japan#



First day

Flew to Tokyo, bullet train to Nagoya, local train to Ichimoya.  I will stay here with Japanese cavers (JET) who I met in the USA.  I dropped off my stuff at Yoshida’s place over top of the clubhouse, went to a diner to eat.


Second day

Errands with Yuriko, bought and ate crickets, saw Nagoya castle, walked around downtown, met an English teacher at Starbucks


Third day

Went to the JET cabin and worked on their project to modify some scaffolding and start their creekside onsen, great communal dinner


Fourth day

Went to Kyoto and saw temples, took guided walks from the book, down an interesting street Shirakawa Dori.  Impromptu trip to Osaka to see the “Blade Runner” main square.


Fifth day

Stopped in Tokyo on my way to Misawa.  Saw the Ginza shopping section, largely deserted, street market for green tea, Sony building (one large showroom of Sony offerings), Godzilla statue.  Arrived in Misawa, where I will stay with Mike and his family.  Mike is finishing up three years here in JAG before returning to Philly.


Sixth day

Go up to Haknodate in captain’s jacket, disappointed in this Hokkaido port mostly because it was nearly deserted.


Seventh day

Recycle shop with Mayfield to buy some antiques.


Eighth day

Day trip with Mike & Mayfield to town.  2nd Recycle shop, roto-sushi (conveyor belt of plates passes by your seat), coffee (Western), 100 yen store (good stuff, but it’s largely from China and not Japan).


Ninth day

Pack up items at air force base for shipping, lunch at Japanese side of base, rain, gourmet dinner


Tenth day

Bullet train to Tokyo, arrive at Steve’s apartment in Kawasaki, talk for a bit.  Steve is a British ex-pat I met on couchsurfing.  See “Piss Alley” neighborhood of bars in narrow (4 feet?) buildings, red light district, shrine/festival with white geisha.


Eleventh day

Unable to locate pass at lost & found.  Sushi lunch with Steve, then go to city park, views from city hall, and general  touring of Shibuya district.


Twelfth day

Go to Tokyo’s beach, boat ride through the harbor, a quick lunch then to the airport & almost late for my flight home.