3 Apr

We’re back from our just-over-a-week-long trip to Japan! Mike, Michaela, and I flew from San Diego to Tokyo on March 24, arriving March 25 (12 hour flight time + crossing the international dateline + 16 hour time difference = gnarly!), and were there through April 1 (our flight took off at about 5:30 p.m. Tokyo time and landed at about 12:30 p.m. on April 1, San Diego-time. Michaela was tickled we had TWO April Fools Days). We spent most of our time in Tokyo, with a trip to Kyoto, from which we did a day trip to a town called Nara. It was a really lovely trip! Here are some highlights:

The Japanese people

Everyone we met was very polite, which I expected, but they were also surprisingly warm. Michaela got to interact with several children on the subway, including a family we met on the metro and then ran into hours later at a park. The language of play is universal, and a smile goes a long way. We try not to be “ugly Americans,” so I like to think we also left the Japanese people we encountered with a positive impression of the people of the United States.

The Giant Buddha

Nara is home to the largest wooden building in the world and one of the largest bronze statues anywhere. The Buddha there was amazing! So huge, I couldn’t capture it properly in photographs. So calming and peaceful and reassuring.

The Imperial Tokyo

Our last hotel was super posh, with top-notch service. The bathroom was enormous. I could have stayed there forever.

Quality time with the family

We travel a lot, but this was our best trip yet. Michaela is a champion traveler. She was up for almost anything, trying new foods (octopus balls and tiny shrimp and chicken hearts), walking her feet off, and dutifully capturing each day’s activities in her travel journal.


Our cell phones’ internet, phones, and text messaging all worked in Japan, but I kept my phone in airplane mode for the most part so that I could focus on being in the moment, rather than documenting it for social media. It’s very rare that I unplug, so that was a nice treat.


I read three books during the trip: “Where’d You Go, Bernadette,” “The Sound of Gravel,” and “The Rent Collector.” They were very different, but very good. “Bernadette” is a typical beach read– breezy and fun. “Gravel” is an autobiography by a woman who grew up in the fundamentalist, polygamous Mormon church. “Collector” is a fictional story that takes place in a Cambodian dump. I set a goal of reading 20 books this calendar year, and thanks to several vacations, I’m already at 12.

Feeding the deer in Nara

Nara is home to about 1200 deer that roam the grounds of this large park in the middle of town. We bought “deer crackers” and fed the deer… and tried to avoid their kicking and biting. It was actually very cool.

Mike’s 360 camera

Mike has a special camera that takes 360 degree photos. It’s like a panorama picture, but better. It was an excellent way to capture the full experience of wherever we happened to be.

Learning a few Japanese phrases

This goes with my “don’t be an ugly American” thing… I always try to learn at least a few words or phrases in the language of the country we’re visiting. It’s the least I can do since Mike takes care of all of the logistics of our trips! I had a dozen or so phrases (good morning, hello, thank you, excuse me, etc.) and deployed them with gusto.


It was a great trip!

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