Tokyo Tower

It’s been such an amazing week. Dave was off work so we spent a long weekend in Tokyo and then enjoyed the rest of the week relaxing and exploring. Couldn’t have wished for a better week… just sad that it’s come to an end and Dave has to go back to work tomorrow.

Here’s a sneak peak at our trip to Japan, the view from Tokyo Tower…

Tokyo Tower Japan

Gorgeous Maiko in Kyoto, Japan

I’m working on sorting through my Kyoto photos and stumbled across more photos of maiko (apprentice geisha). As you may know, seeing the maiko was the absolute highlight of my trip so I couldn’t help but share another photo with all of you.

Japan maiko geisha Kyoto

Japan Day 4 – Osaka

We didn’t have a lot of time in Osaka so we walked around the shopping district. We saw lots of interesting things.

Osaka was so crowded and Faith and I both noted that the cultural differences between Japan and Korea were very apparent. In Korea, people have no problems pushing right by you, but politeness was out in full force in Osaka. Even through the crowds, we weren’t pushed once and people actually apologized for the tiniest bump!


We also came across a peace parade.


My January trip to Japan was one of my favorite trips because I got to see a lot of really neat things in Hiroshima, Miyajima and Osaka, but also because I got to spend a lot of time with Faith before she moved back to the States.


Hey, y’all! It’s time for another giveaway. This time, you can enter the drawing up to three times! Here’s how:

1. Like this post on Facebook.
Note: You must also like

2. Share this post on Facebook.
Note: You must also like

3. Leave a comment below on this blog post. “Likes” are always appreciated, but will not enter you into the drawing.


All of the items shown in the photo were purchased during my most recent trip to Japan.

The GIVEAWAY ends on Wednesday, April 24, 2013 at 8am Central Standard Time/10pm Korean Standard Time.

Want to enter on Facebook?
Make sure you follow the RULES:

To enter on Facebook, you MUST “Like”

Only “Likes” on THIS POST will count. Unfortunately, I have no way of tracking who likes posts that have been shared. You must click the photo and like THIS post.

Japan Day 3 – Atomic Bomb Dome, Hiroshima

A few weeks ago I started blogging about my trip to Japan in January. Unfortunately, life happened and between traveling back to Korea from the US, getting sick and getting readjusted back into life on this side of the globe, I have gotten off track. If you need a refresher, here are some links to my other posts about Japan:

Japan Day 1 & Japan Day 2

I also think I’ve been putting off posted about Day 3 because it was the day we went to the Atomic Bomb Dome. How can I possibly do this place justice? It was such a humbling experience.


Hiroshima has been on my radar for as long as I’ve lived in Korea, but despite already having been to Japan 3 times before this trip, I just never made it there. I’m so glad I got to go because I am forever changed after seeing the devastation that took place.






The actual bomb dome was really an amazing site. It was sobering to see the mangled metal and the crumbling walls.


The museum stole the show and tugged at my heartstrings. Hard! A large portion of the museum was dedicated to the children that died that day.

melted skin

Statues showing children with melted skin dripping off their bodies

Parents went searching for their children, many finding nothing, some only finding a shoe or lunchbox that belonged to their child. The museum displayed clothing that was worn at the time of the explosion.


And a little boy actually died on this tricycle. The parents buried him and the tricycle together, but later donated the tricycle to the museum.


Between the dome and the museum, there was a memorial to the children that lost their lives that day. Thousands of paper cranes had been folded. All of the artwork on the outside of the cases are made with paper cranes. And hanging inside the cases are huge collections of paper cranes. It was a beautiful tribute!



Our day at the Atomic Bomb Dome in Hiroshima was beyond words and I am so glad that I was able to have that experience. It was emotionally exhausting, but well worth the visit.

Miyajima – Japan Day 2

On our second day in Japan, we took the ferry to Miyajima. I was told that the island was a must see, but that the only way to the island is by ferry. I was really nervous because I suffer from motion sickness. Fortunately, the ferry trip only lasted about 10 minutes. We were able to use our JR rail passes on the train to the ferry station and on the ferry so we were really happy about that!


The island is famous for its Floating Torii gate. It gets that name because during high tide it appears to be floating in the water. We had a nice view of the signature orange gate from the ferry. Click on the photos below to see the full size image.

12001196 1186

One of the first things Faith and I noticed about the island were the wild deer roaming around. Be warned. They are not as sweet as they look!


This deer wouldn’t take no for an answer as this man ate his fishcake on a stick. I’m fairly certain I found it much more amusing than he did!

Continue reading

Japan Day 1

Back in January, I spent a few days in Japan with my friend, Faith. Faith and I met two years ago at our EPIK orientation and have been friends ever since. We both really wanted to see Hiroshima so off we went!

On the plane to Osaka, we sat next to a Korean high school student that was going to Osaka all alone. She was really sweet and carried around a notebook. She asked everyone she talked with to write down their names. She wanted to take a picture with us so I took one too!


Being from America, I’ve gotten used to paying for food on planes if I want a snack. Even on a budge airline (Air Busan), they provided us with a meal… and our flight was only 1 hour 20 minutes.

IMG_4858When we got to Osaka, we immediately made a beeline for the bathroom. We were not prepared for what we saw there. It was amazing!

We headed straight for the train station to get our Rail Passes. To anyone planning to travel around Japan a bit, I HIGHLY recommend getting a Rail Pass. They must be bought outside of Japan so plan accordingly! Japan is expensive — especially transportation! The rail pass covers any JR train, bus or ferry so we definitely got a lot of value out of our rail passes.

IMG_1077 IMG_1076

The train from Osaka to Hiroshima was so nice!


Once we got to Hiroshima, we headed straight to our hostel. We were really happy with our hostel! It was really conveniently located and easy to get to. We booked a private room for 2 at J-Hoppers Hiroshima and we slept on mats on the floor. It was surprisingly comfortable!


After we dropped our bags at the hostel, we went exploring around Hiroshima.


We found a really great restaurant. We had fried rice and fried dumplings and it was all amazing! The owners of the restaurant had a little boy that was so adorable. He spent a lot of the night pretending to be shy and then coming to entertain us. And when we left he shrieked “Byyyyeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!” at us.


IMG_4868 IMG_1129

Before and After

I let Faith do all of the photography for our trip to Japan because she brought her DSLR. When I saw them on Facebook, I noticed she had played with the colors on some before posting them… a lightbulb went off in my head. I took the original photos she had given me and decided to do some editing of my own.

When we were in Osaka, we walked through the shopping district and came across a river. The view was really pretty so we took a few photos. There were a lot of shadows and as novice photographers, it was hard for us to really capture the moment.


After playing around in Lightroom, I transformed the photo above into one I’m really happy with. What do you think?


A year in photos – Day 183

Sunday, August 26

If I was back home, I probably wouldn’t have thought much about seeing this, but it was pretty cool to see bins from Seguin, TX all the way in Japan. Not only am I from Texas, but my paternal grandfather is from (and currently lives in) Seguin. Our family name is on some buildings there and my grandfather can tell you the history of the entire town pretty much.

And before we move on from this picture, what’s up with that guy’s creepy Chucky shirt?

I was nervous to leave Japan on Sunday. I was worried I’d have difficulties getting back into Korea on a tourist visa so soon after cancelling my E2 teaching visa. I felt so naked because I didn’t have my ARC (alien registration card) anymore. Luckily for me, it was surprisingly easy to get into the country. It wasn’t any more difficult for me to enter than Dave and he has an ARC. I’m going to be doing a lot of coming and going so I hope each trip is just as easy.

A year in photos – Day 182

Saturday, August 25

I am 6 months into my “A year in photos” project. I’m really happy I started doing it.

On Saturday morning, Dave and I headed to Fukuoka, Japan for the weekend. When I went through immigration I had to hand over my Alien Registration Card. The immigration officer didn’t understand what I meant until I said “finished.” I expected there to be more to it, but he just kept it and I walked on through.

We didn’t have a lot of time in Japan. The main purpose was for me to change my visa from a working visa to a tourist visa and you have to leave the country to do that. Our hotel was right next to a giant mall so we walked around the mall quite a bit and did a lot of relaxing. It was a nice weekend. During our shopping I was only disappointed once. It was when Dave wouldn’t let me buy McLovin’ the muscle man.