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Japan – Part ii –

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best trip of my life… blah blah blah… once in a lifetime experience… blah blah blah… will never forget… blah blah blahhhhhh…. 

Okay more pics. 

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We were only briefly in Osaka. Just one night and one day. There is so much there we didn’t get a chance to see, but we did see the Glico Running Man!

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We had a lot more quality time to spend in Kyoto, and it was well worth the train ride. Unlike Tokyo, Kyoto was smaller, quieter, and older. A lot of the memorable temples of the trip were from our time in Kyoto.

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^Look at that handrail. Who detailed that?? 

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By the time we got back to Tokyo, we were already exhausted. So we took a day off to re-charge in TOKYO DISNEYLAND. I mostly put my camera away and enjoyed the day. And after that, we only had a few days left to explore Tokyo.

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Tokyo, for me (although others in the group would disagree) was the highlight of the trip. I see how you could easily spend a month there without seeing everything. Or even feeling like you had seen anything at all. It is dense and fast paced and it was all too easy to get lost in the rush of it all. Before we knew it the trip was over and we had barely put a dent in our travel plan book.

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People tell you about how amazing the food is when you go to Japan, and I don’t think they are exagerating. But if you have dietary restrictions coupled with the language barrier, it can be tough finding the perfect bowl of ramen you’re craving. Luckily a friend from grad school played local tour guide and hooked us up with the bomb ramen spot. I would say it lives up to the hype.

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But maybe better than any of the restaurants we ate at was the plain old convinience store foods. 7/11 and Family Mart dominated every few corners in the city, and they had THE BEST onigiri. I think I had one tuna and one random onigiri for breakfast almost every morning.

Yes I know, “Tuna for BREAKFAST? EW!”. No. You are Ew. When you are in Japan, you eat as much Tuna as you can. You are ew.

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I could probably write an entire post about the architecture of Japan. I won’t caus I’m tired. But what I will say is the simple, sublime miniamalist architecture we all drool over in our architecture blogs/magazines of choice does exist in Japan, however it is not nearly as prevalent as I thought it might be. Don’t get me wrong, the city is filled with noteworthy architecture. But with so much built environment surrounding you, it is ineveitable that most of it is not in my opinion photo worthy.

We did see some sick building though…. 

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We are almost done here, I’ll just keep rolling. 

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Okay, so that is 2 parts of Japan trip. I’ve only got one left and then I’m sure I’ll forget about this blog and go back to doing whatever it is professional architects do. 

Seeya in part 3. 

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Japan – part i –

Gosh it has been a while since I’ve done this, lets see if I remember how this goes….

Last November I had the chance to go somewhere I’ve always wanted to go. If you follow along at all you’ll know I tend to travel a bit and I’ve been quite a few different places. But this place is one that I’ve been dreaming of for a long time.

JAPAN. 

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Now these images are barely edited, not cropped, nor are they presented in any particular order. I’m not going to write extensively about them unless inspiration hits, nor am I going to try and choose pictures that capture the vast extent of our travels. I’m just gonna share some of my favorite photos and hopefully that will be good enough.

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Japan is a trip I’ve been dreaming of forever. We managed to cram Osaka, Kyoto, and Tokyo into a one week-ish trip that was far too short. We were ambitious, we saw a lot, we were exhausted.

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I can talk forever about how amazing and gratifying this Japan trip was. I think I was not disappointed by anything the entire trip. There is a lot I can say about each city individually, but using broad strokes Japan was a beautiful synthesis of old and new. Modern and traditional. Technology and history.

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For every ancient shrine there was a completely contemporary home. On almost every corner (in fact maybe more than every corner) there was a vending machine filled with cold and hot drinks. The streets were incredibly narrow and everything aside from the sprawling city seemed scaled down (from a plus sized American’s perspective).

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One thing immediately noticeable was the cleanliness of the city. Although we found it rather difficult to find public trash cans, the streets were almost completely free of debris and liter.

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And the overwhelming politeness of the Japanese people prevailed over everything. I’ve never been somewhere so alien and accepting simultaneously.

I’m going to try to limit this Japan series to three concise posts. Stick around for parts 2 and 3! 

Or whatever, free country. 

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