Well, people, it looks like we’ve hit the thick of it, the toughest part of expat life. This week, two of my very closest relatives are going under the knife and I’m not home to support. My dad is having surgery on his elbow for some nerve problems he’s been dealing with, and my grandma is having brain surgery to remove a scary tumor they found about a week ago. It’s a tough time for my family, and any prayers or positive energy you’ve got would be appreciated.
Back to Japan… Kyoto is a beautiful city, and one of the major sites to see (even if you’re crunched for time like we were) is the Fushimi Inari shrine, in a serene park isolated from the city.
The famous orange and black square arches are set up in a series covering multiple miles, up through an undeveloped area at the base of Mt. Inari. It’s one of the most peaceful places I’ve ever been, and I could have spent hours in a zen, meditative state. Something about these shrines just does that to you.
It was a beautiful walk, but my feet just couldn’t handle the whole way having been wandering around on foot for hours before hand. I let J-Mar take it from halfway through and he got some cool video going through the shrine. His GoPro pole has come in handy. Alas, I have not had time or patience to edit said video, but look out for it soon.
Unless you’re living in a hole, which isn’t likely if you’re reading this at the moment, you know exactly what a selfie is and you’ve probably read articles on how selfies reflect the millenial generation’s obsession with themselves. Regardless of how accurate this is, selfies are fun to take, and even more so when you turn it into a competition.
Dustin had a brilliant idea on the plane to declare the weekend in Japan our time period for the “Selfie Olympics”. We were charged with the task of coming up with 5 submissions per couple, and whomever had the best one as voted by their peers would win. I don’t think we ever actually finished out the competition, but I thought it would be fun to share some of our best selfies from the weekend.
Excited about my crepe preparation and enjoying some Olivia Pope wine glasses with Hannah.
At night on the giant crosswalks of Osaka, we all liked to play Will Ferrell in “Elf”. Not a selfie, but worth remembering. And below our big “creative” submission, a selfie within a selfie within… well, you get it.
This last one (below) is my favorite because it has a special story behind it. For those of you who don’t know, I am basically in love with the minions from Despicable Me. Basically. My phone case is a giant minion (yep, I went for it after a few months with my more subtle minion wallet case) and I follow the minion page on Facebook. There, it’s out there for the world to know.
Anyway, we were on the train back from Kyoto to Osaka and J-Mar saw a guy on the train with a little minion bauble hanging from his phone. He pointed it out to me not so subtly, and I admired it for a moment before deciding to be the ridiculous person that I am and I got out my phone and waved it at him and laughed. The next thing you know, our entire group watched in awe as the guy gave us the “hold on one second” hand motion and stops texting to open his bag. He then pulls out a GIANT dancing minion! The entire group started laughing hysterically only to draw attention from the rest of the train passengers. I’ve never seen anything like it in my life. Only a selfie would do to capture this.
The running joke is that every day, this guy makes a decision of what to use his limited backpack space for. “Hmm, should I pack a lunch today or my giant dancing minion?”
…”Minion. No brainer.”
And that, my friends, is my favorite memory of this trip. We had a lot of difficulty on our way home – we missed our plane due to some miscommunication with the airline, and we ended up forking over a load of money to buy ourselves tickets back to Seoul from where we had to hop a 2 1/2 hour train back home. Needless to say, a short trip turned into a long ordeal. Speaking of long vacations, that’s what this weekend is about to be for us. Why, must you ask?
100% rain. Did you read that? That most likely does not mean dreary, calming Seattle-like weather. It means monsoon. And I don’t own rain boots. However, I did just pick up something really AWESOME that I’m excited to debut this weekend. You’ll just have to wait and see.
I’ll let you guess where we’re going, but it will be a lot of eating and shopping. Especially now that the outdoor activities will be held to a minimum. We are really looking forward to some good food! See you soon!