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Trip Report *COMPLETED* I've climbed the mountain, I've crossed the river, and I'm almost there!

Introduction

We've only been back from Japan since Saturday night but I am just itching to get started on this report! We had an absolutely AMAZING trip and I'm not ready to let it go, and writing my TR is one way for me to delay the inevitable return back to "the real world." :) This was the longest vacation I've ever taken, and like any long trip-or any new experience, for that matter-there were ups and downs, good moments and not-so-good moments. There were mistakes, mishaps, mountains, and monkeys. Yes, monkeys! There were surprises and there was DRAMMA!* There were things we will do differently next time we visit Japan, and believe me, we knew less than halfway through the trip that there WILL be a next time someday!

In case you missed the PTR, here it is: Bee's Big Birthday! There you can read about the cast, the general plans, and the reasons for planning this particular trip.

Now about the title: It's a reference to this song from The Princess and the Frog:

I have been kind of obsessed with this song lately and I found myself singing it in my head repeatedly during the trip. You'll see why soon!

So, if you're ready for a journey halfway around the world, thousands of photos, and Double Disney bookends, keep reading!

EDIT: The Tokyo Disney stuff starts here.

*I've mentioned it in previous TRs, but I like to spell "dramma" the Italian way because I'm an opera singer and what's more DRAMMAtic than Italian opera?? So please don't think I'm an idiot (for that reason anyway :hilarious:)!
 
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bee

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
All my knowledge of the bullet train comes from an old Playhouse Disney mini show called Choo Choo Soul. Lol
Well keep reading and you'll get a little more! :)

The first thing I thought of when i saw those books is... Buttface! oh my.. how odd!
Yes, it was bizarre to me!

So, was Mezame Kyoto supposed to be a loose translation for the French “mes amies?” (My friends?). Just wondering ...

Also, I need a “Your Irish Pub in Kyoto” in my life! 😄😋
Y'know, I didn't even stop to think about where the name came from. According to google translate it means "awakening" so maybe that's why it's called that?

That train has always held a fascination for me. Can travel at 150-200 mph! :joyfull:
It was pretty amazing to ride it!
 

bee

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Day 9, cont.

Before the trip, S had been kind enough to reserve and pick up our tickets so we would have reserved seats near each other. On the platform there were signs indicating which gate was for which train car. We were in car 16 (the last car) so we walked to the end of the platform.

Soon we started seeing trains arriving and departing. The trains stopped at the station for literally two minutes to allow passengers to exit and board. It was nuts!

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At some point M and I started chanting, "SHIN-KAN-SEN! SHIN-KAN-SEN!" when we saw one pulling into the station. Then we kept doing it during our actual ride...and we kept doing it for the rest of the trip. We even do it sometimes randomly now that we're home... :cautious: :hilarious:

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Finally it was our turn!!!

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We were in 12 D and E, and S and J were in front of us in 11 D and E.

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As I mentioned we only had two minutes to get on before the train departed. I believe we were able to fit our full-sized suitcases in the overhead rack.

Soon we were on our way!

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Up next: Shinkansen: The Adventure Continues
 

bee

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Day 9, cont.

After a little less than three hours we arrived at Hakata Station. We were exactly on time, of course. We exited through the fare gates and stopped to figure out what to do next. There was a Harry Potter-themed cafe nearby that we wanted to visit, but we decided in the end that we were all too tired to do anything too exciting. Plus we still had another shrine visit planned and the drive to Sasebo later that day. So, we took the local subway to Fukuoka Airport, which is where S and J had parked their car when they flew to Osaka.

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Luckily we found an elevator!!

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I liked that the patterns matched.

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Once we got off the train at the airport we had to take a shuttle to the parking lot.

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They paid for parking and we were on our way! Oh yeah, fun fact! Japan drives on the left side of the road and therefore the driver's seat is on the right. If you'd like to read about why click here.

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Up next: More driving, and the Dazaifu Shrine
 

bee

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Day 9, cont.

During the car ride M and I enjoyed some Japanese "Cheetos."

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After some twists and turns (mostly due to Google Maps not being super reliable in Japan and S and J not knowing their way around an area so far from where they live) we arrived at the Dazaifu Shrine. We parked in a parking lot nearby. Did I mention that in Japan most parking is done rear-in and most cars are very narrow?

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Up next: More shrine, and the hanger strikes again!
 

bee

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Day 9, cont.

In general shrines tend to be smaller while temples are larger, but this shrine was HUGE!

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Notice the sakura (cherry blossom)? They were all over the place here!

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S was getting hangry (I wasn't, for once! Thanks, Japanese Cheetos!) so we walked to a nearby shopping area with the plan to come back for further shrine exploration later.

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We ended up at a mochi place that made all the mochi fresh behind windows so we could see it all! M and I each ordered one with green tea and red bean paste, and we did the math wrong because we gave the cashier too much money. Oops! But she counted it and gave it back to us.

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My younger brother loved Thomas as a kid (he still likes it, secretly) so I took pics of lots of Thomas stuff for him.

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Up next: Back to the shrine!
 

Back!Elbow!Shoulders!

Omnia mutantur, nihil interit
Premium Member
Day 9, cont.

In general shrines tend to be smaller while temples are larger, but this shrine was HUGE!

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Notice the sakura (cherry blossom)? They were all over the place here!

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S was getting hangry (I wasn't, for once! Thanks, Japanese Cheetos!) so we walked to a nearby shopping area with the plan to come back for further shrine exploration later.

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We ended up at a mochi place that made all the mochi fresh behind windows so we could see it all! M and I each ordered one with green tea and red bean paste, and we did the math wrong because we gave the cashier too much money. Oops! But she counted it and gave it back to us.

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My younger brother loved Thomas as a kid (he still likes it, secretly) so I took pics of lots of Thomas stuff for him.

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Up next: Back to the shrine!

Fresh mochi?! Awesome!
 

Plowboy

Well-Known Member
Wow, your TR brings back memories. I was in Japan in 1971 and your pictures certainly revive many old memories. I remember temples, shrines, the "bullet" train, slit toilets, excellent food, shopping the ginza at night, Suntory, Kirin, (etc.). Thanks for sharing!
 

bee

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
That was quite interesting. I had vaguely known about why the British drive on the opposite side, but didn’t know that Japan is the same. Commerce wins! 😁

Yes, I love learning about this stuff!
I love that you have opinions about coordinating upholstery and carpet!

I'm having a blast touring Japan!! :geek:
Yay! Glad you're enjoying the tour!

Fresh mochi?! Awesome!
Yes! So fresh it was too hot to eat at first!

Wow, your TR brings back memories. I was in Japan in 1971 and your pictures certainly revive many old memories. I remember temples, shrines, the "bullet" train, slit toilets, excellent food, shopping the ginza at night, Suntory, Kirin, (etc.). Thanks for sharing!
Thanks for following along!

Finally caught up! Loving all the architecture over there. And all those gorgeous kitties!!!
There will definitely be MORE gorgeous kitties! 😻
 

bee

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
What I've found interesting throughout your photos of the various locations in Japan, is just how clean each area appears. No litter, etc., in spite of all the people there.
We were pretty amazed by the lack of litter! In Tokyo it was worse, because there were more tourists (I assume).

Those sculptures are really cool ... I love the Potter reference too! 😄
We loved seeing the sculptures!

And Snape. 😢
😭
 

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