Osaka Onegaishimasu

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Osaka Onegaishimasu

Over the past couple years, Rob and I have been on some amazing adventures. Every time we get home from vacation we Google how to move to wherever we just visited. I would move to Canada, New Zealand, or Japan in a heartbeat. I know I've said this in posts before and I'm sure I'll say it again and again -- this trip was the best. Japan is now my favorite country and every time I look at these photos I want to visit again so, so badly.

I chose New Zealand last fall which was an easy sell to Rob. He picked Japan and I was elated to go along for the ride. Based on watching J-dramas and anime I had preconceived notions of what Japan would be like, but I knew Power Office Girls may not be the most reliable source. I was VERY surprised at how close to real life Japan those shows turned out to be.

There were lots of other things that surprised me too, like how few people spoke English in Japan, or how quickly I became comfortable with the social norms there. We started the trip teasing each other for standing on the right side of the escalator (it's for passing), or violating the MANY subway etiquette signs. By the end of our trip we were eyeing the tourists eating or answering their phones on the crowded train. Every place we go has it's own pace, it's own rules, and it's own way of making you feel like you're a part of the community. That's why every new place we go is my favorite and always will be. 

I have several posts worth of photos from our two weeks in Japan. I took A LOT of photos. I hope you're ready!

is it a train or a Subway?

I asked a friend who lives in Tokyo and he said subway, so I'll go with that. The subways were my absolute favorite part of Japan. Figuring out ticket machines and train routes was an adventure. Watching the kids get on the trains in the morning wearing their school uniforms and pretending I didn't notice the business men falling asleep in their seats in the evenings really made me feel like I was living Japan, not just visiting.

days spent wondering

There were a couple really funny things I noticed right away:

  1. Almost everyone riding a bike in Japan was doing also doing something that they shouldn't have been like wearing really high heels, texting, or reading a book. Yes, I actually saw someone reading a book while riding a bike.

  2. The only places open for breakfast are Japanese versions of French bakeries. You can buy buns filled with curry there. I found it amazingly delicious but still very odd.

Osaka At Night

Umeda Sky Building

This is the only place I've been with chairs made for snuggling, hot dogs, city views, and black lights all together. No wonder there was a line to get up the escalator

Osaka Castle

Anything with a moat around it has to be amazing.

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An Adventure in Middle Earth - Christchurch

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An Adventure in Middle Earth - Christchurch

From Queenstown we took a road trip to Christchurch stopping along the way every time Rob spotted something fun or I got hungry. Twelve hours of audio books, New Zealand's tallest mountain, one glacier, and several one lane bridges later we made it to Christchurch.

Christchurch had been devastated by earthquakes and was still very much in the rebuilding phase but they'd stood up all sorts of community areas, calling it "greening the rubble". Shopping centers and restaurants were rebuilt out of shipping containers and murals had been painted on vacant buildings.

We were exhausted and very grateful the coffee shop under our apartment had tasty chai lattes. Our last few days were spent wondering around in the cherry blossoms and cheering on the All Blacks in the the rugby world cup.

I don't know if another vacation can top this one. ever.

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An Adventure in Middle Earth - Queenstown & Wanaka

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An Adventure in Middle Earth - Queenstown & Wanaka

Queenstown was our first stop on the South island. Everyone there has ridiculous jobs like throwing bungee jumpers off bridges or off-roading through rivers and forests while answering questions about the Lord of the Rings movies. I still have cravings for Ferg Burger, where we ate almost every meal. Seriously, four days in a row. They even had breakfast burgers! 

New Zealand was my idea, my bucket list big ticket item, because years ago I fell in love with a photo of a couple on Coromandel Peak. One morning in Queenstown, we woke up way too early. I drove on the left side for the first time on the narrow mountain roads while Rob was understandably terrified, all so we could stand on that same spot. We took a helicopter to the top of Mt. Roy, stopping off at Coromandel Peak, then hiked our way down the mountain through a sheep farm, past a winery, and around the lake back to town. That was the absolute best day of our vacation, and probably my favorite day of our marriage so far. 

We even accidentally found what I'd been calling the Wanaka Tree on our way back! I'm not making this up, this tree is famous. Google Wanaka Tree, I was there!

This is the fourth post of our New Zealand trip. Don't miss the RotoruaAuckland and Hobbiton posts!

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