Paladin in the Land of the Rising Sun

Discussion in 'The Green Room' started by Paladin, May 16, 2018.

  1. Paladin

    Paladin Overjoyed Man of Liberty

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    Unexpected bonus.

    I made great time getting to the restaurant, so I had some time to kill.

    I visited a Rabbit Cafe, and got to feed and pet some cute little bunnies...

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    This little guy is Roger, he's an albino.

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    Another offbeat experience.
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  2. Paladin

    Paladin Overjoyed Man of Liberty

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    My meal was excellent. I was going to see abput some nightlife, but I'm old, tired, and lazy, so I'm calling it a night. So long, Tokyo. At least until the end of my trip when I return for one more day.

    By the way, the typhoon winds are quite impressive. They won't carry you away, but they will blow over anything that's light and not fastened down.

    Oh, I got some additional Go-kart pics...

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  3. oldfella1962

    oldfella1962 light & lethal

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    was that BBQ dog sold at a discount because it was "previously chewed" or what? :unsure:
  4. oldfella1962

    oldfella1962 light & lethal

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    Okay I've been to go-kart tracks a few times with the focus on "track". They let you drive them around in city traffic? Please explain.
  5. Paladin

    Paladin Overjoyed Man of Liberty

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    It's Japan. Strange and inexplicable things happen.

    Yes, you can drive go-karts on the city streets here. I don't know if the law lets anyone do it, or only the operators of the businesses and their customers.
  6. TheBurgerKing

    TheBurgerKing The Monarch of Flavor

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    Looks fun, whats the traffic on the streets like during working hours?
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  7. Paladin

    Paladin Overjoyed Man of Liberty

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    It wasn't too bad. I didn't have any problems. It was essentially a game of "follow the leader," with our guide signalling us what to do at each intersection.
  8. Paladin

    Paladin Overjoyed Man of Liberty

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    Sayonara, Tokyo (at least until next Friday).

    Off to Kyoto by way of Nagano. Man, that's a long way. I wish there were some super fast train. A bullet-like train, if you will.

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  9. Paladin

    Paladin Overjoyed Man of Liberty

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    Arrived in Nagano; the shinkansen makes for a quick ride from Tokyo.

    Okay, bring on the snow monkeys.
  10. TheBurgerKing

    TheBurgerKing The Monarch of Flavor

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    They taste amazing roasted over a fire with a light honey ginger glaze.
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  11. El Chup

    El Chup Fuck Trump Deceased Member Git

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    Looks like King Kong's dildo.
  12. Paladin

    Paladin Overjoyed Man of Liberty

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    The snow monkeys experience is why I travel. It was a bit of an effort, a little hustle, and a fair amount of stress. But the effort paid off bigly. Absolutely wonderful time. More to follow when I'm off the train.

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  13. El Chup

    El Chup Fuck Trump Deceased Member Git

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    I said if you started eating crap again you'd put on weight, but you didn't want to know...:diacanu:
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  14. Paladin

    Paladin Overjoyed Man of Liberty

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    On the plus side, my hair's growing back in nicely.
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  15. Paladin

    Paladin Overjoyed Man of Liberty

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    Holy crap, the Japan Rail Pass must give a pretty huge discount. I've got a first class one so I can reserve seats.

    I'm on the Thunderbird Limited going from Kanazawa to Kyoto and, while cattle class is almost full, I've got the first class car almost all to myself.

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  16. Paladin

    Paladin Overjoyed Man of Liberty

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    Okay, to recap today's events...

    I left Tokyo on the shinkansen (bullet train) and headed out to Nagano.

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    From Nagano I took the Hogwarts Express out to Yudanaka, which I believe is Japanese for "in the sticks." From there, it was a cab ride to Jigokudani Park (where the snow monkeys live).

    You have to hike a half mile to a mile (depending on where you arrive) to get into the park. It's a lovely hike, though.

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    Finally, you arrive at the park...

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    ...and you start seeing monkeys...

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    And they're right there. You're not allowed to touch them, but you're close enough to them that you could.

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    They seem largely indifferent to your presence. They walk by you, sometimes stepping on your feet, but mostly they pay you no mind. If you get too annoying while trying to take their picture, they will turn or walk away.

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    They spend a lot of time grooming each other...

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    (continued)
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  17. Paladin

    Paladin Overjoyed Man of Liberty

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    ...and pursuing each other (unclear whether this is fun and games, or something serious)...

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    They hang out near the stream...

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    ...and drink from the baths. They don't bathe in these hot water pools except in cold weather; interestingly, the males do not bathe.

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    They go back and forth across the bridge over the stream...

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    ...and they can seem quite thoughtful...

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    ...and you feel a kinship with them.

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    After my visit--and coming this close to missing the bus back to Yudanaka (a nice young German couple really helped me out)--I jumped on the shinkansen at Nagano and transferred at Kanazawa for Kyoto. Thanks to a ticketing mixup, I got to ride a cool train: the Thunderbird Limited.

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    I've made it to Kyoto, which will be home base for the next 4 days/5 nights.
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  18. Forbin

    Forbin Do you feel fluffy, punk?

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    Awesomely gorgeous and beautiful pics.
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  19. Paladin

    Paladin Overjoyed Man of Liberty

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    Half-time at the first day in Kyoto.

    Started out with a hike over to Kiyomizu Shrine, a Buddhist temple recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage site...

    Walking along the riverbank...

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    Buddhist cemetery on the way...

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    Kiyomizu...

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    Pagoda...

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    There was some damage to the site's Shinto shrine from the typhoon..

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    Here there be dragons...

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    This was very cool: the Tainai Meguri. You go down a stairway into total darkness, guiding yourself only with a handrail for about two minutes. It is TOTAL darkness. At the bottom, you find an iluminated engraved stone that you touch while making a wish.

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    The Enlightened One...

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    Kids drinking the water (Kiyomizu means "pure water") that comes out of the mountain...

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    The view of Kyoto from the Kiyomizu Shrine.

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    (continued)
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  20. Paladin

    Paladin Overjoyed Man of Liberty

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    More at Kiyomizu...

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    And I got some new tastes to try today...

    Green tea/vanilla ice cream mix!

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    What's better than milk tea? Why, milk tea with boba (tapioca balls), of course...

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    An item on my checklist: takoyaki ("octopus balls"...and if these are the balls you should see the whole octopus!) Delicious and very filling.

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    Not only did I find green tea Kit-Kats, I found the ones that are specific to this region of the country. I win, Japan. I win.

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    This was great...a group of junior high students (and their teacher) approached me and asked if I would spend a few minutes with them to practice their English. Gladly. It was a delightful experience, and I ran into this same group again at another shrine across town!

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    (continued)
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  21. Paladin

    Paladin Overjoyed Man of Liberty

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    From Kiyomizu, I hopped a cab across town to another famous shrine, Fushimi-Inari. This one is dedicated to the Shinto goddess Inari, Patron deity of foxes, rice, and some other stuff.

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    I was kinda shrined-out at this point (it's the Asian version of the European malady: cathedraled-out). I went back to the hotel and crashed for a couple of hours before heading out again...

    (continued)
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  22. Paladin

    Paladin Overjoyed Man of Liberty

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    Finished the day at the Kyoto Railway Museum. It reminded me a lot of the similar museum in York in the UK, which I visited 20 years ago...

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    And perhaps I was feeling a little homesick when I made my dinner choice. Don't judge me. :diacanu:

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    I had baby back ribs and they were excellent. (BTW I was there at Happy Hour so I had a few cheap but delicious Mai-Tais.)

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  23. oldfella1962

    oldfella1962 light & lethal

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    If it's only the go kart business that lets customers drive on the streets can you imagine the liability insurance costs if the US did this? :shock:
    Factor in the personal responsibility & maturity level of US drivers in general and this would have :bergman: written all over it if this were widespread in the US. :lol:
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  24. oldfella1962

    oldfella1962 light & lethal

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    Ummm........do they have some kind of Soylent Green thing going on over there that they aren't telling the world about? :unsure:

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  25. Paladin

    Paladin Overjoyed Man of Liberty

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    Whew! Yesterday rocked, but I was worn out.

    First up, over to the Arashiyama district of Kyoto. (Need to use the trains here; the taxi ride was REALLY expensive).

    Tenryu Temple...

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    The above picture is a good example of serendipity. I was set up to take the shot when the couple at left walked into the frame. I started to grumble, but just as I took the photo, the man raised his arm as you see, which serves to direct your attention to the temple. I like this photo much better than others I have without people in frame.

    Somebody has very carefully raked all the stones in this garden...

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    Dragon art on temple wall...

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    Temple bell...

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    This was pretty magical. The Sagano Bamboo Forest...

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    Back to downtown to visit the impressive Nijo Castle. For 600 years or so (ending in the mid 19th century with the Meiji Restoration), control of Japan *wasn't* in the hands of the Emperor, but rather in those of warlords (called shoguns) who were the heads of prominent families. Nijo Castle was built for a very powerful and influential Shogun, Tokugawa Ieyasu. The Tokugawas essentially ruled Japan--and kept it isolated from the rest of the world--for 270 years!

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    No photos allowed inside, unfortunately. The architecture was very interesting. In all of the rooms in which the shogun would interact with people, he had his own half of the room that was elevated, so everyone would have to look up at him. Another interesting feature: the way the floorboards are nailed down causes them to squeak in bird-like chirps as you walk on them, hence the name "nightingale" floors.

    After Nijo, I visited the Manga Museum. No photos allowed. They have an absolutely massive collection of manga that visitors can pull off the shelves and read. I leafed through one from 1945. I was very impressed with one from 1969 (my birth year) and appreciated how artistically advanced manga was compared to mainstream American comics of the same time. Bought myself a copy of One Punch Man as a souvenir. :diacanu:

    Off to Nara today, and hopefully time for a visit to the Imperial Palace in the afternoon.

    Stumbled upon something VERY COOL to do tomorrow, something I totally didn't plan, but for which I will gladly rearrange my itinerary. I've got reservations for it, so fingers crossed it will happen. More later. ;)
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  26. shootER

    shootER Insubordinate...and churlish Administrator

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  27. Paladin

    Paladin Overjoyed Man of Liberty

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    Dammit, you jinxed it!

    :diacanu:
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  28. shootER

    shootER Insubordinate...and churlish Administrator

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    That article is four years old.

    She might not be the oldest geisha any more. :bergman:
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  29. Paladin

    Paladin Overjoyed Man of Liberty

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    Arrived in Nara to visit the Todaji Temple.

    Breakfast once again at Vie de France...

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    Gotta say: tasty AF. And cheap, about $8.
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  30. Paladin

    Paladin Overjoyed Man of Liberty

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    "For a relaxing time...make it Suntory time."

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    "More intensity!"
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