|Early Cherry Blossoms in Kyoto|
Similar to what I saw last year when I visited Taiwan, I found that the convenience store is on a whole other level than the convenience stores in Korea or back home in Canada. You can get train or bus tickets; tickets to some museums; scan, print or photo copy documents; use a free toilet and wifi (in some locations); and get small grocery items or bento boxes. While we did visit the grocery store a couple of times for a bit more variety in selection of bento boxes, many 7-elevens, Family Marts or Lawsons provided us with what we were looking for. AKA: lots of mochi.
|Noodle Sandwich anyone?|
|Inokashira Park, Tokyo|
|Taking a selfie next to a pro-box picnic group. (Ueno Park, Tokyo)|
|Picnics for days! (Yoyogi Park, Tokyo)|
I remember reading a couple abstracts/summaries from psychological human interest websites that have implied that visible garbage cans make people produce more litter and trash and I can see the logic. I suppose that's one of the reasons Japan is known to be super clean: Public garbage cans don't exist. Some subway stations might have a recycling can or two, but many don't. If you get a coffee or drink to-go, you might come to regret it later.
While this can be a positive in deterring people from producing trash, it also has a fallback on what is thrown out or recycled: I never knew where or how. And there are a lot of tourists. I can't imagine that everything is being thrown out in the most recyclable manner if there are other people like me who can't read or find the instructions and thus just toss garbage in any bin that they find. For the cherry blossom parks, some had huge bins available labelled with different categories, in English even, but if I didn't live in Korea, I wouldn't have known what Vinyl was. What was the difference between non-combustible and some of the plastics/recyclables? Walking further down the lane you could see the huge dump sites where they gathered trash at the end of the day. Did they bother to sort it again?
Pros and Cons, I suppose.
4. The heated Toilet
My bottom has officially been spoiled. All I want forever is to perch upon a warm throne as I'm taking care of business.
One of our hostels part way through did not have the heated seat, and I felt a moment of loss. When it's a bit chilly out, that brief warmth as you find relief does much to soothe the soul.
5. Wait in the Queue
Everywhere we went, we would see queues outside restaurants, cafes and other establishments. Sometimes they were only a couple people long, but other times, they were massive with at least an hour wait, maybe more. Certain ramen shops, for instance, have people lining up at all hours of the day, even for breakfast (source: Personal Interview with our Japanese friend).
Were the restaurants and attractions really worth the wait? Or were they waiting because others were waiting first? The Jury's still out on this one...
|Fuji Mountain across Lake Kawaguchiko|
A part of my heart belongs to the mountains, I know this already from living on Jeju island with Hallasan in my backyard. Of everything we did in Japan, our day trip to Fujisan is in the top three. We had lovely weather, if a little hazy, and easily saw Mt. Fuji from the distance as our bus wove through post card-perfect valleys. I wish we had had the time to do more day trips away from the big cities!
|Mt. Fuji and Cherry Blossoms!|
There are five lakes around Mount Fuji that draw in tourists. They say the best time to see the reflection of the mountain is either early morning or in the evening and unfortunately, by the time we arrived, there was a constant ripple across the surface. Still, the mountain was stunning and we snapped more pictures than we needed. Our only regret was perhaps our limited time. We had trouble booking tickets online and ended up buying more last minute. The earliest bus out and the latest bus back only gave us 4.5 hours there. Shayna and I agreed that spending a night if you can would be so worth it.
I definitely want to go back during another season to see how the lake-side scenery changes. Who knows, maybe I'll even try to climb the mountain one summer during open season?
But for now,
Love & Hugs