Friday, June 15, 2018

Japan: Tokyo

I currently pulled my computer open to write this and Mark says, "Wait, you still blog?" so that pretty much describes how much of a priority I have made this in 2017/2018 haha! But honestly, I am glad. It needed to happen. I actually want to move into keeping a bullet journal or something instead of blogging so I have less information the internet. Lately I have gotten reallllly self conscious about sharing things online, so I think that is a sign that I need to pull back.
However, this blog has been amazing at helping me to keep memories of my vacations so I will continue to blog about our travels for now.
We just got home from basically three weeks away. I decided I love going on long trips because you see a ton, and then you are ETERNALLY grateful to be home. I teared up pulling into our driveway. It was also the first time we have come home to our new house and it was just a lot of FEELINGS. 
Anyway, we went to Japan! Mark is half Japanese, if you didn't know. His mom grew up there and goes back every year because her whole side of the family lives there. Mark's dad served his LDS mission there, his sister's husband also did AND his little brother just got his call to Japan as well. So yes, Japanese culture is very much apart of our lives. We were really excited for this trip and have been planning and saving for a long time because, JAPAN IS SO EXPENSIVE!! Not only were airline tickets kind of pricey but our rail pass for the bullet train was like $800. Nutso. 
Because we were trying to save money, we bought from a sketchy site and our flights ended up getting canceled a few weeks before we were supposed to leave and it was such a stressful thing, but we ended up being able to get there if we spent a night in LA beforehand. This meant missing the last day of school and I was SO bummed. This was such a special group of students and I don't feel like I got the closure I needed from the year, but oh well. There was not much of note in LA except that I had the BEST burger I have ever had. 

me: stoked no one is sitting next to us mark: in terrible pain

The 12 hour flight to Japan was not bad AT ALL. I was seriously dreading it after our flights from Europe in November, I had several anxiety attacks due to turbulence. This one to Japan was SO smooth, I didn't feel anxious a single time which was huge for me. We also got so lucky and didn't have anyone sitting next to us, so that helped as to not feel so claustrophobic. The other thing was the distraction of THE FOOT. 
When we woke up in LA the morning we flew to Japan,  we were rushing to get to the airport when Mark started to have some foot pain. This happens sometimes, but this time seemed worse. Just in the time it took us to get through security and to our gate he was in pretty horrible pain. With the altitude and some other factors, Mark was in severe, horrific pain about five hours into our flight, to the point that he couldn't really stand up. The flight attendants on Singapore Airlines were AMAZING and took such good care of him, getting him ice, medicine, and just being motherly. It was pretty miserable because not only was Mark in horrible pain, but we kind of thought the trip was ruined. Luckily, the last two hours we elevated the foot, iced it, took some medicine and finally the swelling and pain started to go down once we started our descent. The funniest moment in all of this is that we had asked for a wheelchair to be waiting for us at the Japan airport because we had no idea if Mark was going to be able to walk, it was that bad. Luckily he could totally walk once we landed, but the flight attendants INSISTED so this tiny little Japanese man had to push Mark very far, up an incline, in a wheelchair. You can tell how I felt about this from the following picture.
Maybe the hardest I have ever laughed in my adult life.
After that whole debacle, we spent a lot of time on a lot of trains getting to our airbnb. The Japan airport is in Narita, which is over an hour away via Shinkansen (bullet train) from Tokyo. Mark, his dad and little brother and I met up with his little sister and his mom who had already been here. 
so. tired.

miso, karaage (fried chicken)

We got some food at a random place, which is one of my favorite things about Japan. You can go into any random place and the food is gonna be reallllly good. We had to stay awake until 9pm, not having slept in 24 hours it was tough, and I didn't make it! I did make it until 8:40pm, and we all woke up at 5 AM the next morning! Haha but we got an early start to the day's adventures! 
We took a train to the fish market. Mark had a cough and in Japan, if you are even slightly sick you wear a mask out of consideration.

it was crowwwwwded

I love eel!

After the market, we went to a 12 story stationary store. It was bizzare. Pens that cost thousands of dollars...weird. But they had a little craft corner so we made some flowers.

Then, we were completely exhausted and so we stopped in a French cafe, I had the best grilled cheese of my life, and I fell asleep on a table for thirty minutes. It was a great little nap. Haha! Man, jetlag is killer. Luckily this was the only day it was super terrible.

We met up with some family friends and went to see a giant Gundam.

 It was pretty cool, and it was even better that it was in a cool little island area with a shopping mall and pretty gardens which we got to via monorail so we saw pretty views. We were still really tired, so in an effort to stay awake we ate at the mall food court near the Gundam. In true basic beach fashion, while everyone ate fried octopus balls, I ate Auntie Anne's pretzels. Haha!
We hung out for a while at a GORGEOUS rooftop garden. There were a fair amount of people there and it was just a few stories above a very busy train station and it was just totally silent up there, and completely beautiful. That was the coolest thing about Japan, even though there are people everywhere it still is really quiet. I also drank a peach coke which was amazing and of note.
playing with portrait mode on the rooftop
 After resting, we went to eat at a Izakaya place, basically a lot of small dishes. It was yummy and my favorite because you do get such a variety of things. The Japanese friends we were with spent a majority of the dinner attempting an American-Southern accent. It was pretty funny.
After dinner we were WIPED but we still had to get train tickets for the rest of our time in Japan, so while Mark's parents did that we just sat in the train station and people watched. I have never ever seen so many people in my life, just coming home from work. It kind of was a weird perspective on life and the necessary monotony of it all. 
The next morning we ate breakfast (sushi, eggs (I need to write a whole blog post on Japanese eggs), toast haha) and headed to Tokyo station to go to Kyoto! More on that next time.
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