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Thread: Japan and Bali

  1. #1
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    Japan and Bali

    To mark a recent major milestone, I decided to take a trip to the other side of the world. I’ve got a very close friend living in the suburbs of Tokyo. She was one of my roommates during undergrad, and it was the most positive shared-living experience I’ve ever had (besides living at home, that is). She had been urging me to visit Japan, even from before she returned home after graduation. But things just never seemed to fall into place, and I didn’t feel confident enough to travel alone more than 12 time zones away from friends and family. However the last year has been pretty intensely stressful personally and professionally: some triumph, and some serious disappointments, quite a bit of emotional rollercoaster-ing, and a temporary loss of direction and focus. After going through all of “that”, I guess I felt that making a three week trip to the East as a single female traveller was more than manageable.

    So this trip was not just about seeing the sights ; I think it was also about regaining my equilibrium, restoring my confidence, and maybe even rediscovering myself. And although that sentiment is cringe-worthy , it makes up for the melodrama by being 110 percent truth .
    ...I have promises to keep
    And miles to go before I sleep.
    -Robert Frost

  2. #2
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    Re: Japan and Bali

    Why Japan? Because my friend is there, and it’s really far away from home. Why Bali? Probably partly because of Elizabeth Gilbert. I am not ashamed to say I read and really liked Eat Pray Love. And probably like 99% of her female readers, I identified with the whole “dark night of the soul”, “heart lost spirit regained” theme running through the book. I was very much taken with her brief descriptions of Bali’s people, culture, and landscape. It sounded like such an impossibly beautiful and exotic place to visit. On the other hand, I really wanted to see Angkor Wat, and spend a week relaxing on one of those gorgeous Thai beaches. But in the end I settled on Bali because of the political situation in Thailand, and because I didn't feel up to the task of solo back-packing in Cambodia.

    I bought guidebooks, a new digital camera, travel insurance, shorts and teeshirts. I got vaccinated. I packed light, dozed intermittently, and of course scrambled around at the last minute looking for keys, traveller’s cheques, phone, while the taxi was waiting downstairs. And still I had to turn back just 200 metres down the road, because I couldn’t find a very important flash drive. Eventually I got to the airport with plenty of time to spare, and only having forgotten the headphones for my mp3 player.

    I didn’t really start to get excited until I was in the departure lounge surrounded by Japanese people conversing in their soft, staccato language. And then of course looking out the window at the massive Air Canada jet that would be making the 12.5 hour journey from Toronto to Tokyo. The longest I had previously flown was six hours to London. I had no idea what one did when one was stuck in a flying metal box for 13 hours. The answer turned out to be: watch ALOT of movies, eat, sleep, wake up, and do that two more times before the captain makes the announcement that they were beginning the descent into Narita.
    ...I have promises to keep
    And miles to go before I sleep.
    -Robert Frost

  3. #3
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    Re: Japan and Bali

    I was sitting next to a young Japanese couple with the sweetest, plumpest, roly-polyest baby ever. The mom pre-emptively apologized for any noise CutieBaby would make, but she was actually VERY good for the flight. She loved her fingers, she loved her toes, she loved her daddy’s squishy nose. And she also seemed to like to turn curious eyes on me and follow the shaking of my braids. I almost overdosed on the sweetness.

    And then just as it was beginning to feel as though we were on the never-ending journey, and I was thinking maybe the pilots had missed the right turnoff back at the last intersection, and were too embarrassed to admit that they were lost ; just as “an interesting experience” was morphing into “a bit of an ordeal”, the grey-blue ocean so far beneath us suddenly gave way to land, and just like that we arrived in Japan.
    ...I have promises to keep
    And miles to go before I sleep.
    -Robert Frost

  4. #4
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    Re: Japan and Bali

    following along....sweet read. did you get to do any shopping Tokyo is a shoppers paradise
    Your belief don't make you a better person, your behaviour does. Love is what we were born with, fear is what we learn.

  5. #5
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    Re: Japan and Bali

    Welcome to Japan. Donata ka eigo o hanasemasu ka? Nihongo wa dekimasen. Gomen nasai.

    My friend M-chan greeted me at arrivals with a big hug, and a few happy tears. I felt sooooo glad to be there. And I had arrived just in time for a bit of a warm weather spell.





    The trip from Narita to M-chan's home was about 2 1/2 hours, and both my friend and her dad was super generous in picking me up from the airport, since travelling on Japan's highways can be pretty expensive due to all the tolls you pay (not mention fuel.) It felt a bit surreal that I had left Toronto in the afternoon, travelled 12 hours and still ended up somewhere <span style="font-style: italic">in the afternoon</span>, but I was planning to stay up as much as possible to beat the jet lag.

    I snapped alot of pics along the way out the car window, but most of them are blurred or unfocused. M-chan was amused. The first impression I had of the place was order, cleanliness, efficiency. Rice paddies next to housing subdivisions, narrow streets, restricted personal space. A carefully controlled landscape.







    ...I have promises to keep
    And miles to go before I sleep.
    -Robert Frost

  6. #6
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    Re: Japan and Bali

    <div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: Stormmey1</div><div class="ubbcode-body">following along....sweet read. did you get to do any shopping Tokyo is a shoppers paradise </div></div>

    Hi Stormmey, thanks for following along.

    Did I shop? Well, lets just say, I went to Japan with one checked half empty suitcase, and came back with two checked pieces and one medium sized carry-on. I don't know what would have happened if they did stock my shoe size....
    ...I have promises to keep
    And miles to go before I sleep.
    -Robert Frost

  7. #7
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    Re: Japan and Bali

    Oh fantastic!

    I will be following your post with glee and interest cos I have Bali on my nr 1 destination for August - if I get away HA!

    I also loved Eat Pray Love, and have to get to Bali before the hordes do after the film is realised this summer with Julia Roberts!
    Indonesia has been hovering on the bac burner for years, not least cos we have so much connection there, ashamed to say the Dutch were there for 500!! years!!!
    Have family and friends connections to there too

    But would love to also go to Borubudor(sp?), Buddhist temple complex on Java and Lomboc and the Gilli islands off Bali

    18 thousand islands in Indonesia! And Bali is the only Hindu island!

    For Bali I can recommend - by travellers to there - Lovenia, Candidasa, Amed and Ubud of course (inland, artists centre)

    Can't wait for the trip report!

    Enjoy your trip!
    Things turn out best for those who make the best of the way things turn out - Jack Buck

  8. #8
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    Re: Japan and Bali

    Here's a tip for you

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/travel/201...ys-hotels-bali

    In fact, you can just type in Japan or Bali and find lots of info!
    Things turn out best for those who make the best of the way things turn out - Jack Buck

  9. #9
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    Re: Japan and Bali

    <div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: lapassionata</div><div class="ubbcode-body"><div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: Stormmey1</div><div class="ubbcode-body">following along....sweet read. did you get to do any shopping Tokyo is a shoppers paradise </div></div>

    Hi Stormmey, thanks for following along.

    Did I shop? Well, lets just say, I went to Japan with one checked half empty suitcase, and came back with two checked pieces and one medium sized carry-on. <span style="font-weight: bold"> I don't know what would have happened if they did stock my shoe size.... </span></div></div>


    sounds like me i LOVE shoe shopping


    nice pics

  10. #10
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    Re: Japan and Bali

    On the way, M mentions that her brother and sis-in-law were coming over to cook that night. It was a prearranged date that HAPPENED to coincide with my arrival. Yumm Moment #1: Gyoza (chinese dumplings), pho and bonito sashimi in this salty-sweet marinade on a bed of parsley. Oh, also there were cold vegetarian spring rolls.






    <span style="font-size: 14pt"><span style="font-weight: bold">Once you learn how to fold gyoza, you never forget...</span></span>


    <span style="font-size: 14pt"><span style="font-weight: bold">Gyoza, bonito sashimi, and the fixin's for pho and cold spring rolls.</span></span>

    I was staying up late to get on to Japanese time and avoid succumbing to Jet lag. I made it to 10 pm, then hit the wall. At the urging of my hosts, I finally went off to bed.
    ...I have promises to keep
    And miles to go before I sleep.
    -Robert Frost

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