I told people I was going to Japan and some people actually asked me if I was going to see family.  I still laugh out loud whenever I remember I was asked that.  You would be surprised to know how many people actually asked me that.  Well, you should be surprised.

Hint:  I'm not Japanese.

So why "Japan"?

Why not?  

Tiana wanted to go for cherry blossom season.

That's good enough reason for me!

One thing I made sure to bring was my DSLR with pro primes.  Almost all the pics were taken with a D750 on Sigma art glass or a Tamron 70-200 2.8.  Edits and tweaks in LR.  Seven days of carrying my shaved down mobile kit made me appreciate all the extra thought I put into what I felt were bare essentials.  I was SUPER glad that I used my mobile kit fastpack with a rain cover.  One body, a flash, three lenses, batteries, chargers, waterproof point and shoot, a waterproof packable down jacket, notepad, iPad, mobile keyboard, and my travel EDC were enough make sure got a good workout during our time in Japan, but not uncomfortable.  For what could be a once in a lifetime trip, I wanted to make sure the images were the best I could produce.  With almost 100 edited images for each day at the start of wedding season, I'm just happy that this post is coming out in the same year.  

Right before booking flights, a doctor was dragged off a plane on United for not giving up his seat, so their stock plummeted.  This means their flight bookings were GREAT.  Some people poked fun at me since I'm an Asian guy in the medical field, but I'm sure I would probably take $800 and lodging to take the next plane.  This is one of the great things about traveling with no plans.  If you want to leave a town early or spend an extra day or two somewhere, it's totally feasible.  Anyways, here's me getting ready for the flight.

The flight wasn't bad with a set of noise cancelling, wireless Bluetooth headphone and an iPad full of movies, musics, books, podcasts and video games.  Tiana has developed an irrational (or is it?) fear of flying, but I'm pretty sure she just doesn't like flying.  Both of us are tall so that space gets pretty tight and having to share that space with a third person can get weird in an aisle.  My super hero ability of being able to sleep anywhere comes in handy on planes, ESPECIALLY on long, 10+ hour flights.  

I'm going to break up this post so it isn't super LONG, so expect posts for:


Paul's tips for traveling in Japan:

  • Japan loves their peace/silence.  Don't be a jackass and talk on your cell phone in public places like the train or a park, especially close to shrines.  It was easy to spot tourists.  
  • Everywhere we went, people dropped/forgot wallets and phones and had them promptly returned to them by Joe Citizen.  We would watch someone drop their wallet on a packed sidewalk to have someone fight foot traffic to make sure it got back to their rightful owner.
  • A lot of restaurants still have smoking in their restaurants.  We were asked if we wanted to sit in the smoking or non-smoking section.  Imagine our surprise.
  • You do not need an electrical converter for your plugs as long as it's two prong.  Just make sure it can take the different voltage.  
  • Download Google Translate.  The sign translator was a lifesaver.  The great thing about it was you could download the language so you don't have to use data to use it.  Most of the translations were comical, but enough to get by.  
  • Do NOT be late to anything.  They WILL start/leave without you.  We missed a train by 7 seconds.  Seven.  
  • Leave your perfume/cologne at home.  
  • Every hotel has toothbrushes, toothpaste and soap.
  • Bidets.  Americans do not know what they are missing.  
  • Download a decent train app and you can get ANYWHERE.
Japan: Volume I

Japan: Volume I

Tasty n Alder, Portland, Oregon

Tasty n Alder, Portland, Oregon