Adventures of a Guelphite in Japan!

Asia » Thailand » Central Thailand » Bangkok May 5th 2011

Took a terrifying taxi to the pier today. Was clutching to the railings for dear life while keeping a death grip on my suitcase with my thighs. My entire body hurts from the Thai massages we got yesterday afternoon. It rained around 3 so we decided to get some Thai massages to past the time. I almost cried. I knew they were deep tissue but holy shit! I have bruises today! TOO DEEP! The ride to the opposite pier in the ferry was pretty uneventful. The day was gorgeous of course. Every day has been amazing here so far! Beautiful, sunny and hot! The only way I can describe the bus ride back is sweaty hell. 6 hours of sweaty hell. I'm not sure what A/C theyhad going but we certainly didn't feel it. Hadeer and ... read more

Asia » Thailand » South-West Thailand » Ko Chang May 4th 2011

We got up just in time for breakfast today and then got ready for our excursion. We were going to go for a 2 hour elephant trek through the jungle! It cost us 900 BHT each but I think it was totally worth it! Our elephant was the cutest ever. She kept randomly stopping to eat along the trail and every time the guide was like "Hey! Keep going!" she'd just grab a bigger branch LOL! Part of our trek was to go swimming with her at the end. She was SO excited to go swimming! Lots of elephant cheering and such once we hit the river. Hadeer and I had come prepared with our swimsuits so we were all set to go. We were't sure how the swimming part of it was going to work ... read more

Asia » Thailand » South-West Thailand » Ko Chang May 3rd 2011

All told it took us about 7 hours to get to Koh Chang. The bus we had booked through the travel agent left Bangkok at 9;30 AM and didn't arrive at the pier to Koh Chang until about 3:30 PM. The driver made a few random stops along the way to pick up various items from shops to deliver to other places. The bathroom on the bus was SKETCHY and gross. Was VERY thankful to have the toilet seat covers and travel TP Mom put in my stocking for Christmas. They have both come in VERY handy on this trip! From the port the ferry took a half hour and then we piled into the back of a converted pickup truck for a terrifying drive through the mountains. No one fell out the back and we ... read more

Asia » Thailand » Central Thailand » Bangkok May 2nd 2011

We arrived to our hotel in Bangkok at around 3 AM from the airport. Getting here was pretty painless actually. The taxi was only 450 BHT and we'd been told it would be around 500 BHT so we were pretty happy with that. Our hotel is called Sunflower Place. It's a nice hotel even though it's located down a sketch alley that's hard to find. The staff are super helpful and the room is nice. It's well located too! After catching some sleep we woke up early to get some real Thai street food and explore the city. We didn't have a lot on our agenda for today - just book a bus ticket to Koh Chang for tomorrow, see Wat Pho and the Grande Palace and explore the city. If we saw some ladybois along ... read more

Asia » Japan » Mie October 3rd 2010

It's been a while since I've posted! Life has been pretty busy here (like insanely busy!) but I promise there will be posts coming soon! Tonight was the Souhei Matsuri at Yunoyama Onsen and Halley was kind enough to invite me and a few others (Payal and Angel) to join in! We got to be official shrine carriers! How cool is that? After getting to the mountain we were ushered into this room where we changed into our super cool festival attire - a black and purple jacket, yellow sash, tabi and a purple and yellow headband. We all looked very cool :) We were carrying the girls' shrine up the mountain and the boys shrine would arrive separate. The ceremony started with a quick blessing by a Buddhist priest. Then, we had a few quick ... read more

Asia » Japan » Shizuoka » Mt Fuji August 11th 2010

I've delayed writing this post for over a year, because it took that long before I could think of this mountain without a sense of aversion and dread. Maybe I'm exaggerating, but after the experience I had I think it's safe to say this is something I will only do ONCE in my entire life. Where to start... My good friend from home was visiting and on a whim we had decided that we would hike Mt. Fuji together. We figured it would be fun, exciting, and at the very least something cool that we could do together during her stay. We went into this venture well prepared. We'd made a list of everything we would need - food, lots of water, hats, flashlights, gloves, oxygen, mitts, change of clothes, rain ponchos, emergency medical supplies, sun ... read more
Photo 46
Photo 31

Asia » Japan » Mie » Yokkaichi June 19th 2010

Well, the lull has ended. Those two weeks between winter and summer that are gorgeous, sunny and perfectly temperate are behind me and in their place have been left the sticky, muggy, unbearable heat that goes along with Japan's rainy season. It's impossible to explain exactly how bad the weather gets. You really have to be here to experience it. Let's just say that I've never had my pants stick to my body while sitting in a chair the way they did today. You sweat, constantly, and nothing helps. For whatever reason our BOE has established the arbitrary date of July 1st as the day we can turn on the A/C - despite the fact that the past couple of days have been over 30C. Ugh. Trying to teach half comatose students is not the easiest ... read more

Asia » Japan » Kyoto » Kyoto June 12th 2010

Recently I had the opportunity to stay at a Machiya house in Kyoto. Machiya are traditional wooden townhouses that were super popular in Japan during the 1800s. There aren't many of them left but this company we stayed with has been buying them up around the city and restoring them so people can stay in them for a night or two. We went as a group of 11 and ended up staying in a really nice place called the Nishi-Oshikoji Machiya near Kyoto City Hall. Because the trains take a while, I took the bus in with Phil and Mitzi to Kyoto early early Sat morning (7 am!) and arrived around 9:30. First on our list of things to do was to get pie. There is a great pie shop near the Machiya called Matsunosuke. The ... read more
Our Friend, The Oni
Hozu River
Hozu River

Asia » Japan » Miyagi » Sendai May 30th 2010

This morning we were eccstatic to check out of our shit box hotel and spend the rest of the day exploring Sendai. Breakfast was at Starbucks but it turned out to be the worst kind of breakfast ever. Our coffees were about 1/3 empty when we got them and my egg on english muffin turned out to be an egg on english muffin with ketchup. Seriously? Ugh... Nasty. Thankfully Jim didn't mind eating it so we switched sandwiches. Then our seat was taken by another nice couple while we were waiting for our drinks. Epic fail Starbucks but what can you do? Decided to do a little bit of shopping before hitting up the arcade for one last round of games and purikura. There was no DDR today but guitar hero and a shooting game, as ... read more

Asia » Japan » Miyagi » Sendai May 29th 2010

We had the grande plan to wake up early this morning and take a bus to the Akiu Onsen and Akiu Otaki waterfall. The waterfall is supposed to be one of the most scenic in Japan and it was only a 90 minute bus ride so we figured why not? The bus, as it turned out, only went to the waterfall twice a day... And there didn't seem to be any indication as to WHEN the bus would be returning in the direction of Sendai station. So rather than risk taking a 90 minute bus ride to the middle of nowhere, with a chance that we might not be able to get back, we decided to hop off at Akiu Onsen resort area and find ourselves a nice onsen to chill in instead. It was a ... read more

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