Jeff and Lance, Big in Japan Part V: An Evening With Cats In Tokyo

The finale is here!

To refresh yourself, here’re parts I, II, III and IV!

The shinkansen from Kyoto got us back to Tokyo around 6:30PM; we had about 48 hours left in Japan.

Upon exiting the shinkansen platforms, we found ourselves dumped out in front of Tokyo Station, which has just be re-revealed after being under refurbishment scaffolding for years.  Pretty, no?

We took the subway from Tokyo Station to Shinjuku, since this Tokyo Metro line was supposed to get us closer to our last (but not really!) hotel during our trip.  (more…)

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Jeff and Lance, Big in Japan Part IV: 24 (and 9) Hours in Kyoto

If you’re just visiting for the first time, you’re probably experiencing a little bit of cognitive dissonance as to how the two whitest white guys you ever did see ended up in Japan.  You’ll obviously want to review Part I (Chicago!), Part II (Jetlag in Japan!), and Part III (“The Happiest Place on Earth.” How do you say that in Japanese?) to bring yourself up to speed.

The day after our visit to DisneySea, we’d planned on taking the “bullet train” (actually called the shinkansen) from Tokyo to Kyoto, Japan’s former capital and anagram of “Tokyo.”  We were only going to spend about 24 hours in Kyoto, per the original plan, and I wanted to make those hours count, mostly because the shinkansen tickets were hyperventilating-ly expensive: around $250 roundtrip, per person…and that was with a discount through Japanican.com! I fretted for awhile over whether we should spend that kind of money at all for such a short period, but when planning this trip, we were both operating under the understandable assumption that we’d never have the opportunity/resources to come back to Japan, so we figured we might as well do what we wanted.

It was around this point, though, some 60% or so of our vacation over, that I couldn’t ask either Lance or myself to keep pushing ourselves, dragging our luggage all over Japan, sticking to a rigid plan and feeling exhausted from lack of sleep and an overly ambitious itinerary.

See, I originally hoped to be out of the hotel and on the shinkansen to Kyoto by 8:00 or 9:00AM, but Lance took a late check-out opportunity as a sign that maybe we should just spend the morning relaxing and trying to catch up on some sleep.  I begrudgingly agreed–not that I wasn’t agitated about taking things slow, but I knew in my heart of hearts that if we kept pushing ourselves, one of us was going to break.

The view from our room at the Hilton Tokyo Bay.

As part of my membership level with Hilton HHonors, we were comped breakfast, and their buffet spread was enormous: your normal Western dishes, like oatmeal, eggs, bacon, and Japanese fare, and then…spaghetti.  Can somebody tell me which culture eats spaghetti for breakfast so I can thank them?

Around 11:00, we finally left the hotel.  Though I try to keep my tricket-y junk purchasing to a minimum these days, I was feeling a little light on souvenirs from Tokyo Disney, only having purchased the 10th Anniversary DisneySea book, so we stopped by Bon Voyage, the big Disney store near the main rail line in and our of the resort area, to see if I could find anything else:

I eventually purchased a little Chandu, the tiger cub in the bejeweled turban from Sinbad’s Storybook Voyages, and a lenticular postcard which I spent about $4.50 and have subsequently lost track of.  Ah, souvenirs!

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Walt Disney World 2012 Day One Trip Report

Above: Lance captures our time in Disney World (medium: pencil). I’m beginning to grow fond of the way he draws ducks.

Day 0: Okay, we’re off to the airport! I’ve got my Toy Story luggage tag, a fairly intense itinerary, and lots of excitement. LET’S DO THIS THING! (more…)