Japan can be intimidating, even for seasoned travellers. You arrive to massive sticker shock, tiny octopi in soup, and 30 kinds of hot canned coffee (which all taste moreorless the same) in ubiquitous vending machines.
Japan is a long country with 80% mountains – covering several climates, from frosty Hokkaido in the north, to tropical Kyushu giving adventurous folks much opportunity to head to the outer provinces for exploration of the heady scenery of this varied archipelago. With some planning, politeness and persistence, combined with a little zen, you can find big adventures.
Indeed, it is easy to get lost in the big cities of Tokyo and Osaka – crowded with skyscrapers and twisted alleys, piled high with screaming neon clubs pumping techno, reggae or karaoke and shops piled with futuristic technological gadgets that won’t make it to North America for another decade – but, far away from the expensive hotels and talking toilets of the huge Pacific metropolis, you may find yourself soaking in alpine hot springs on a starry night, drinking sake with strangers crammed into a mountain hut after a backcountry dinner of rice, seaweed, miso and green tea.
Best to fly to Kansai (KIX) Osaka airport. This schmancy modern airport is located on a human-made island in the middle of the bay and includes 2 hotels, like 100+ restaurants, post office, an airplane viewing platform and importantly, a train station. The hotels (the full-service Nikko Hotel & business-single-pod-style First Cabin) are super useful if you arrive exhausted from the long flight (usually about 14 hours from N.A. west coast). A short trip from the airport’s island by shuttle bus brings you to loads of other hotels. This airport village also has loads of shopping for buying treats on your way home. Of course, the are other airports, specifically Tokyo (massive international hub Narita NRT or sometimes Haneda HND which is usually used for domestic flights) and the new Centrail/Chubu/Nagoya (NGO) airport. While you might save a few dollars on the flight, you’ll have a longer (more expensive) train journey to reach Okayama which is the destination for the shindig.
Fly direct to Okayama (OKJ) via the charmingly convenient and cute Momotaro Airport. If you fly to Haneda or Narita (Tokyo) mentioned above, you can transfer and fly right here. Sometimes this requires an airport shuttle between Narita (mostly international) and Haneda (more domestic). There is a bus service from Momotaro to downtown Okayama too. Note: there is a huge service difference for the long-haul flights from North America. My personal experience is to fly an Asian-based airline, i.e.: Japan (ANA *fave, JAL), Korean (Korean or Asiana), Taiwan (EVA), HK (Cathay Pacific) or Singapore if coming from YVR, SFO, LAX, etc. If coming from other Asian destinations, well you are usually all good. I have experienced much less enjoyment from US-based airlines and China mainland airlines often have low prices but check the reviews and adjust against your comfort levels.
Postcards and scrapbooks, scrapjournals and greeting cards… i dig these papery things. However, sometimes received postcards end up in a shoebox which seems sorta sad. So, Ryoko and i built a scrapbook to hold postcards and cards.
The scrapbook is my usual style – side bound Japanese binding, sewn up with sturdy twine through 3 holes. The covers and binding are Sri Lankan paper made from elephant dung (yup!).
Inside the pages are a bit of variety but all feature some sorta envelope comfortably hold the postcard or greeting card – meta in a way. Then decorated with a variety of postal stamps, inky stamps, luggage tags, stickers, oddities, ephemera, bits of paper (mostly admittedly from the “b-pile” and other oddities from the scrapbook bin.
There are a still a few empty pages / slots to fill with postal dispatches to come in the future.
This features treats from Bermuda, Seattle, Vancouver, France, and many other places… Thanks to all who send the treats. Want to mail me items? Get the coordinates.
Oh this album was built on Nusa Ceningan, Indonesia where it lives in a teak cabinet.
Along our meandering honeymoon ramble, a spontaneous stop along the way – in an otherwise unremarkable corner of Ishikawa-ken at a 2nd hand shop – sparked two incidents.
The first was the purchase of a nearly perfect condition Olivetti Lettera 34 typewriter (note: the 33 and 35 are listed in Typewriter Database but the 34 is not as it is – perhaps – a Japan specific machine including a “¥ shift” key on the number row). Also noting UK Pound, various fractions and a margin release key.
Bought from the Granny shop owner for ¥2500 (about $22 US or $27 CDN) no haggling. (note: ribbon ordered as the one inside was dried out).
Batch of scrapjournals hand-crafted during summer of 2019 whilst on Nusa Ceningan, Indonesia.
Featuring: covers made from vintage aerogrammes and hotel letterhead; binding covers of elephant dung paper and used envelopes; accessorizes of cookie fortunes, wax seals, cancelled postage stamps, eraser crafted ink stamps (and other inky stamps for that matter); hotel luggage tags; forged passports; printed Lomo sardine can camera 35 mm snaps; and various printed oddities – often leftover from other scrapbooks and places of comfort and inspiration (see: Wonder Hotel).
Made with Japanese-style side binding, sewn with hearty thread via 3 holes drilled through a mighty block of various paper stock acquired at random intervals around Bali.
To be filled with anything desired by recipient. Scissors and glue provided separately.