Japan, June 2013

Japan: weird, polite to a fault, and bubble gum. I hate to be one of those people who say “you don’t know it until you experience it,” but that’s exactly the case.

Always looking for an excuse to travel, Leah and I hit Tokyo, the Kiso Valley, and Osaka June 14th through 24th. It was Leah’s third time to Japan and my first. Needless to say, everything that was wild to me was no big deal to her.

Our itinerary looked like this (Leah did a great job blogging the first part of the week):

  • Friday: Depart Portland Friday afternoon, arrive Tokyo in the future.
  • Sunday: Explore Tokyo with Seiga and drink iced coffee from vending machines. Skytree was my favorite sight.
  • Monday: Check out the Tsukiji Fish Market, eat a bowl of ramen, then take Shinkansen to Nagoya and Kiso Valley to experience the ryokan.
  • Tuesday: Hike from Tsumago to Magome (16 km or so). More eating.
  • Wednesday: Take Shinkansen to Osaka, where we stayed with Leah’s friend Nathan for the rest of the trip. Indian food for dinner.
  • Thursday: Explore Kyoto. Experience a legit tea ceremony. Make nachos with homemade tortilla chips from homemade tortillas.
  • Friday: Hang out in Osaka part one. Running in the morning along the waterfront. Read in a coffee shop. Wander around all night with a friendly drunk guy.
  • Saturday: Hang out in Osaka part two. Recover from our hangovers. Attempt to buy souvenirs, but fail because neither Leah or I like shopping.
  • Sunday: Explore Nara. Fight deer. Hike to the top of a hill. Shinkansen back to Tokyo, and fly home.

One with jet lag

Jet lag is a killer, but you can fight back.

As a kid, I remember distinctly the effects of jet lag. One trip in particular had me fall asleep on a bench along the Champs-Élysées at four in the afternoon. My family waited for me to wake back up, patiently munching on baguettes. Another had me tour around zombie-like for 42 hours because I simply couldn’t fall asleep.

The same kid who couldn’t sleep on planes for the life of him is now out in a heartbeat. Mitigating jet lag is a combination of: sleep at the right time, plenty of water and small meals, and caffeine, but not too much.

Coming back from Italy last June, I fought jet lag by running around the Coliseum late at night. I was sufficiently tired by my 6 am flight that I slept the entire way home. Given how timezones work, I landed in Portland mid-morning, drank my Earl Grey, worked a few hours, drove to Sunriver, and was convinced to do a half-marathon the next day.

Last week plus change, Leah and I flew to Tokyo. For me, it was the day following a return from New York — I had a total of 11 timezones to deal with. Our flight out was at 8 pm local and arrived 10 pm local. I slept six hours on the plane, spent a couple hours in transit to our hostel, and then slept four more hours. On our first day in Japan, we managed a full day of sightseeing.

Today, I’m back in Portland, rocking to Kyary Kyary Pamyu, and, having been up since 2 am, keeping my fingers crossed that my theory holds.