Home » Travel
Category Archives: Travel
Before going to Yokohama’s Fireworks Festival…
I first took a detour to Chinatown in Yokohama.
I only had a little bit of time to spare so I tried to cover as much ground as I could.
Little did I know that this Chinatown is huge! It is THE largest in ASIA. Not just in Japan …. in Asia.
Such a lengthy stretch of vibrancy.
The restaurants all looked and smelled so good, and so inviting!
So I flirted with my time schedule and gave in to temptations.
The main attraction is the Kwan Tai Temple.
Next time I come here, I will plan it at night or during Chinese New Year, with more time to explore, eh?😉
*Images are taken with Samsung S6 except the first two.
Last Call …
Found these two at the train station.🙂
Tell me, have you been to any of the Chinatowns of the world?
Here are some of the “side trips” or “mini-stops” during my six months of traveling in mainland Japan.
Yet another “side trip” driving back home from Takato Cherry Blossom Festival and Matsumoto Castle was Narai in Nagano. It is a time-warped old town where buildings where kept as they were in Edo period. It features quick stop hotels of working and walking travelers back in the old times when transportation was limited.
It’s just so neat to know that there are places on Earth where Superman’s changing room still exist.
I saw this on my way to Horikiri Iris Garden in Tokyo, Japan …
…. and these “manimals”.😀
Before witnessing Kawagoe’s Lantern Festival, we stopped by Kita-in Temple…
… where there are also statues of 500 rakans or disciples of Buddha.
It is said that each of the statues have different facial expressions, and that anybody could find their own resemblance to one of the statues.
I saw my own face when I took a selfie. Ha!😀
If you ever visit Shibuya Scramble Crossing, do not forget to pay a visit to the statue of a faithful dog named Hachiko.
For those of who are unacquainted, Hachiko is considered a hero to the Japanese. Hachiko would go see his owner off to work in the morning at Shibuya Train Station, and went to go see him again at the same spot after work. One day, his owner never came back because he died while at work. Hachiko continued to come back to the train station in the morning and afternoon even when he already had a new owner. He became a celebrity as the story spread all over Japan. People would come by to see the dog wait and leave the train station. It continued for ten years until he died at a street near Shibuya Train Station.
There have been several movies about Hachiko, including one from the US. So if you haven’t seen the movie, then you made a huge mistake reading the paragraph. Ha!😀 Ooops, my bad.🙂
Last one …
There is a beautiful park across the street of the Squirrel Garden in Machida called Yakushi-ike Park. So better not miss it.
There are different flowers blooming here for every season.
I was here in July, and there’s an abundance of lotuses. I have no cheap joke to end this one. Ha!😀
If you’re ever here in Japan visiting major places, perhaps one of these “side trips” maybe a good idea if you have time to kill.😉
From an exclusive island where you need a reason to visit it; a gigantic Buddha who/that likes to be outside,; a temple with rows and rows and rows of Jizo statues; …
… to Takato, home in July for fluffs and fluffs and fluffs of cherry blossoms; here are some more of the most unusual, unique, weird, odd, out-of-this-world, one-of-a-kind, outlandish, interesting and fun places, things, and events in Japan…
I’ll start with a viewers’ favorite post…
Gotokuji Temple is not just a regular Japanese temple. To its side is a small area filled with waving cats.
Maneki neko or beckoning cats, are believed to bring good luck.
This might as well be the luckiest place on Earth!😀
In Kawasaki, they held a festival with the ….uhm …. ah …. it’s the …. uhm … it’s ahhh….uhm….something that…uhm…that ahh …. the thing where …. uhm …. the penis😀 as its central theme.
What’s even yummy … ehem … funny about it is that you can see women and men … uhm …. okay, I’m just gonna say …. sucking on penis lollipops😀😀😀 everywhere during the event.
The annual event is totally contradictory to Japan’s nature. Today, Kawasaki Fertility Festival is used to raise money for HIV research.
You wouldn’t participate in a Jenga game that is, say, a 100 feet tall, would you? Or like a horseshoe that weighs 50 pounds? Well, Okinawa’s cranked the game of tug of war to the highest level. Every year, a giant rope of over 650 feet is laid on a street of Naha and get pulled by hundred thousands of people.
It was exhausting, but so much fun! I love how ridiculously excessive Okinawa is with so many things.🙂
Still don’t like crowds, what about an amusing one? Shibuya Crossing …
It is said that about 2,500 people cross this junction at one time, and 250,000 to 500,000 everyday. Most people cross it just to cross it. Not exactly because they need to, but just to be part of it or simply to experience the craze.
Scramble crossing in Shibuya is a kind of a bucket list to check when you travel to Tokyo. Shibuya Crossing is one people-infested area that I think is enjoyable to watch; especially with people waving their cellphone around as they cross the street.
There is a national park in Fukushima, Japan that has lakes with five colors.
Although, it’s only two-and-a-half for me ….
… because I am colorblind. Ha!😀
The snow monkeys in Nagano, Japan are so amusing to watch!
They walk around the area like it’s nobody’s monkey business.
They are like celebrity monkeys over there. They know they are the superstars, and they do not mind posing for the camera.
I’ma leave this post with another place for adorable and entertaining animals.
In Machida, there is a “garden” filled with …. squirrels!!! Visitors can wear gloves and feed the squirrels with nuts.
As one of my commentators said, cuteness overload!
Japan is unique in every sense. I decided to do this post early to make room for more unique places in Japan I go to in the future.😉
Last Call …
If you’re intrigued by one of these unique stuff, either click on the links or try the Search tab.
I also have Unique California and Unique Greece on this blog.
And finally, Arigato Gozaimas for all the linkage, re-blogs, and Facebook shares!
It’s been a dream on mine to go Africa. I wanna see the beautiful people of Africa, and of course, the animals.
10. Place where you’d like to go
We didn’t exactly have a lot of time when we were in Paris. I’m grateful for my visit there, but a day and a half in Paris just doesn’t cut it. I would want to explore Paris more.
09. Place you’d like to go back to
My girl in Crete was a good one. She took good care of me. I will never forget her.
08. Place where you lived a romantic moment
07. Place where you lived a memorable moment
I would trade any other food I got in exchange of Vigan empanada. I’ve been many places and have tasted many culture food, but Vigan empanada is THE best of them all. We tried a supposedly Vigan empanada in Manila, but it’s just not the same as if you’re to get it exactly in Vigan. I’m craving for Vigan empanda. What I wouldn’t give for my lips to have a meeting with Vigan empanada again.🙂
I wonder when we’d get to invent something that would record taste into memory. Ahihihi😀
06. Place where you had a tasty memories
There’s just so much to see and do in Seville, and it’s just so pretty. I had a memorable fun night there too.
05. Place which surprised you
My fault for having such a high expectation from our trip to Mykonos. I just don’t see how this place is popular.
04. Place which disappoints you
Iwo Jima, Japan
We walked and hiked from the air terminal all the way up to Mt. Suribachi for 4 hours, to and back. I was beat. I couldn’t imagine the soldiers braving to go to war and fight, and then imagine them with the physical exhaustion they had to go through. Mad respect to the servicemen who fought the Battle of Iwo Jima.
03. Place which touched you
I hated my work when I was in Italy. But it was such an awesome country, and I had THE BEST circle of friends.
02. Place where you had fun
I’ve been all kinds of places, but Philippines is the nearest and dearest to my heart.
01. Place you always bring with you
I decided to, for the first time, follow a rule of sticking to just one answer.😉
I’ve been wanting to do a post where things are backwards. I finally found one that I can apply that to. I apologize if this makes you dizzy and confused.😀
I loved our trip to Five-colored Lakes and Abukuma Cave in Fukushima Prefecture, Japan.
Our trip to Abukuma Cave was magical and fun!
It was fun navigating inside the cave because we had to duck, stoop, and hunch down; side-step, and climb up to get through some low and narrow paths.
It was so adventurous that I felt like Indiana Jones.
The cave looks absolutely enchanting!
It reminds me Gyokusendo Cave in Okinawa World.
There is a certain cave light show spot.
That is the thing with going inside a cave, there’s that sense of exploration and adventure, and wonderment.
Abukuma Cave is currently the only limestone cave in Japan that is open to public.
Last Call …
I went hiking again on a National Park here in Japan. This time it’s Bandai National Park.
Mount Bandai erupted in 1888 dropping mineral deposits to surrounding waters giving it different colors.
I’m not sure because it’s really more like two-and-a-half-to-three-and-a-half-colored lakes to me.🙂
But don’t take my word for it as I am color-blind.🙂
And there not only lakes but ponds as well.
We saw a natural koi pond.
This one is yellowish, cream, or muddy color.
The majority of the color is bluish green.
Love the sound of water flowing when hiking.
A bit of flowers on the trails.
This is a very easy hike…
… with lush greenery all around.
The end of the trail was when we hit the big lake some boats.
Don’t miss the koi with a heart-shaped marking on its side.
You may not noticed it, but it was actually raining that day.
It is more suggested to come visit this area during fall when the leaves change its colors as well as the lakes and ponds. It is said that the colors of the lakes and ponds depend on time of the day, the vegetation around, weather, and time of the year.
Last Call …
Is everybody ready? Alright, let’s get this race started. The world is waiting for you….
On my mark, travel safe, Go!
The Amazing Race is a show originated in the USA where teams (usually a team of two, usually 11 teams) race around the world and do a variety of tasks to get their next “clue”. For more information, visit http://www.cbs.com/shows/amazing_race/ or https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Amazing_Race_(U.S._TV_series)
Noticed the (?) on my title.
The first time I did this, it’s all over the world just like this post. I titled it My Amazing Race – https://thesophomoreslump2.com/2012/03/24/my-amazing-race/
The second time I did this, it’s only places in California
For this post, I am only including Seasons 20 – 28, that’s to continue the first time I did this.
Starting Line – Season 27 – Venice Beach, California
Teams started the race on Venice Beach (in front of picture #2 of this gallery).
Leg 5 – Season 20 – Neuschwanstein Castle – Bavaria, Germany
The teams received their next clue which told them to “find the inspiration for Sleeping Beauty‘s castle” (the one below, some teams confused it with the castle above).
Leg 5 – Season 26 – Munich, Germany
Leg 6 – Season 27 – Paris, France
The Pit Stop was on The Arc de Triomphe (seen below).
Leg 7 – Season 24 – Rome, Italy
One team had to deliver a typewriter to “The Typewriter” (seen below) as part of their Speed Bump.
Teams had to count how many steps are there up the Spanish Steps (seen below).
The Pit Stop was on Piazza del Popolo (seen below).
Leg 8 – Season 22 – Zurich, Switzerland
Leg 9 – Season 26 – Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Teams had to maneuver a hot tub-slash-boat through the canals while solving picture puzzles.
Leg 10 – Season 24 – Sevilla, Spain
Teams visited the Patio de las Doncellas inside Real Alcázar (seen below) to get their next clue.
Leg 10 to 12 – Season 25 – Manila, Philippines
On Leg 10, teams had to use a plow attached to a water buffalo (seen below) while searching for their next clue.
Leg 11 -Gotokuji Temple & Shibuya Crossing – Tokyo, Japan
Teams had to search through a collection of maneki-neko, or beckoning cats (seen below), to find their next clue.
Teams had to search the Shibuya Scramble Crossing (seen below) for a moving vending machine that held their next clue.
Leg 12 – Finish Line – Las Vegas, Nevada
During the roadblock, team members had to take a part of a magic stunt with David Copperfield.
Finish Line – Santa Barbara, California – Season 28
Last Call …
This is the third installment of my Special Reports before getting to #400.