Tag Archives: travel

Visiting China

I just landed in Shanghai last night, met my brother at the airport, and we’re getting this adventure underway.

China Ho! Shot through my polarized sunglasses.

View southwest from our window at the hostel in Shanghai.

View southeast from our window at the hostel in Shanghai.

Longest day

Yesterday—the word stretches to hold three days’ time—I awoke in my padded cube, which evoked scenes from Deathnote or some Japanese drama with secretive internet use. Having won my struggle to type in English, I wandered through the corridors of cubes until I found a bank of free hot drinks. ありがとう神様!I generally don’t drink coffee, but I was glad to fill a cup with espresso and cocoa…and drink it.

After gathering ourselves and paying our bill, David, Yuki, and I patronized a café and a konbini. We made our way to Yuki’s home by train and taxi. In Tokyo and Yokohama, the air was full of voices and engines, and at Yuki’s place, outside Yokohama, I heard only rain and semi. Yuki’s entryway is prepared for heroic measures, with a pickaxe, crowbar, rain boots, and gas can. After showering and packing our overnight bags—in preparation for Yakushima, yay!—, we were off to lunch with Rob and Junko.

While we were on the train—in the Green Car, a luxury car, as a treat—David realized that if I were to join them for lunch, it would be difficult for me to get to the Ghibli Museum before 4:00, when admission ends. After a brief conference, David and Yuki decided that we could split at Shinjuku, me on my way to Mitaka, and they to Tokyo. I was glad to be off on my own adventure, and appropriately concerned by the prospect of finding David in Shinjuku station, the busiest junction in the world.

We have to leave soon to catch our flight to Kagoshima. I packed my little bag for the trip yesterday, but I’d forgotten to bring my hiking shoes. I’ll be making a memory of hiking all day to an ancient tree in my chucks. I’ll write about the Ghibli Museum and Mitaka, and share my photos, later.

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Manga kisa

I’m typing this on a little PC in a tiny cubicle in a manga kisa, or “manga cafe,” one of several decent options available if you miss the last train. I had a good nap on the padded floor, and we’ll be heading out soon to catch the first train out of Yokohama to our friend’s house.

The N’EX (Narita Express) train to Yokohama yesterday had an almost constantly beautiful view out the window. Japan is so lush in the summer. And perhaps because of all the buildings and bridges at odd angles, as well as the foliage, it seems like the shadows are deeper here, giving a higher contrast vista than I’m used to.

The weather is hot and humid, as expected. No thunder yet. But it’s not too hot, by my standard. I was sweating a bit last night, when we were out of the strong breeze blowing in from Yokohama Bay.

I’ve taken several photos and videos, and doodled some. I’ll share those when I have some downtime on my own computer.

On the road

We’re in the car on our way to the airport. The sky is misty in L.A., and the air is cool. I think it’ll be hot and humid when we land at 3:00 in the afternoon.

When I visited Japan two years ago, LAX and Narita felt much the same, except for the humidity at Narita. I’d left Narita on a bus to meet my brother at Omiya. Getting off the bus in Omiya, the weather was the same, but instead of the concrete and sooty scent of (I would guess) every airport, the air smelled of bread and flowers.

This time we’ll be going to Yokohama from Narita, to meet an old mutual friend. David says Tokyo had thunderstorms yesterday or the day before. I hope we have hints of that, or a bit more, to make for interesting skies. But only a bit more, please.