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10 Days to Tokyo

posted at 12:24 am
on Nov. 21, 2008

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In 10 days, it’s sayonara for Susie and me. We’re heading to Japan for a two week vacation: Tokyo, Kyoto, Nara and the Ramen Museum.

OK, thanks, I do know that the Ramen Museum is not, technically, a city.  But I can’t remember the name of the city that it’s in. All the cities have such similar names: YaSoDoMiSoFa, or something like that. Japanese is all Greek to me.

We’re heading over to join my mom and my sister, who are attending a conference put on by Kumon Japan.  Kumon is a supplementary educational system that helps people learn math and reading—sometimes remedial, sometimes advanced.

Kumon is celebrating its 50th anniversary by hosting a world franchise owner conference.  There will be about a zillion people there, and it’s my mom’s first time in Japan, so she’s really excited.

I don’t know why I phrased it like that: It’s all of our first times in Japan.  Susie and I have been wanting to go for years.

But one thing that I find interesting is that when I was asked recently what I wanted to see in Japan, I was a little stumped.  I couldn’t really think of any attractions that attracted me.  Tokyo doesn’t seem to have the same types of tourist draws that a Paris or a Berlin has—no Eiffel Tower or Brandenburg Gate.

Instead, I’m totally interested in things that are less tangible: the food, the restaurants, the shopping districts, the language, the electronics, the people, the history, the religion… all these intangibles that the Japanese are known for.

We’ll have the benefit of being with our good friends Jason and Noriko for much of the trip—they’re heading back to visit family and have graciously volunteered to help us see the country and not provoke any international incidents.  They say we should get used to:
* showering in a big communal room
* pointing at pictures of food we want
* paying in cash for something worth 100,000
* not really understanding why we’re doing something

But of course, even with them there to suggest, guide, prod and rescue, I’m also looking for suggestions from others who have been before.  Do you have any must-see or don’t-do advice for Susie and I? Share in the comments!  Best advice gets a pack of pocky!



 
 

 

Previous entry:
Party, Birthday Party

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Cipriano’s Drove Us Away

Overheard

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