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Photography Friday – Fushimi Inari

Photography Friday – Fushimi Inari

The place I was most excited to go in all of Japan was the Fushimi Inari shrine outside of Kyoto. It’s a Shinto shrine dedicated to foxes, which the Japanese believe are messengers that connect people to the world of spirits. Fushimini Inari is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Kyoto. Its path up the mountain is lined with red Tori gates, making for probably the prettiest hike you’ll ever go on when it comes to architecture. Since…

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Photography Friday – Japanese Gardens

Photography Friday – Japanese Gardens

It’s been a pretty whirlwind week over here in SMTT land. Between getting my house ready to put on the market for lease, writing some posts for Jumper Nation, riding nerd horse, looking for apartments in California and smattering in some social activities between all of that… my blogging power is fairly zapped at the moment. Because I need a bit of a zen break, I’m going to share some photos from my Japan trip today. These were all taken…

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An Influx of Temples in Kyoto

An Influx of Temples in Kyoto

For the first half of my Japan trip, Kyoto was burning a hole in the back of my head. Each time we saw a temple in Tokyo or any of the other towns we visited I couldn’t help but think, I wonder how much more awesome they’re going to be in Kyoto. Once I got there, I realized that it wasn’t so much that the temples were better in Kyoto… it’s that they are everywhere. You can’t throw a stick in Kyoto…

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My New Bae Samurai Cat

My New Bae Samurai Cat

This is one of those time periods where life is hard and lonely and I don’t want to do anything but watch Netflix in bed with my dogs. That doesn’t make for insightful writing, so let’s talk about something near and dear to my heart — Samurai Cat. Hikone is a town that we stopped at for a night between Hakone and Kyoto, and it’s a little bit off the beaten path. I wasn’t sure what to expect, because this…

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Trip to Texas Beaches

Trip to Texas Beaches

Even though I’ve lived in Austin for seven years, I’ve never been to a Texas beach. It seemed like native Texans were the most hard on them. “Don’t bother!” “Watch out for flesh eating bacteria.” “You’re not missing anything.” “It depends on how recently the tractor has drug for seaweed.” Still, I like to explore around where I live so I decided to round up some friends to rent a house for a weekend in the sun. And honestly? It…

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The New York Bar

The New York Bar

My number one “must do” for Tokyo was visit the Park Hyatt’s New York Bar. It probably seems like an unreasonable request. Sure, I’m a little bougie but it’s not like I made demands to go drink overpriced cocktails at expensive international hotel chains while traveling. But the Tokyo Park Hyatt is different, because that’s where Lost in Translation was filmed. While I did research in staying at the hotel, at $500-$900 USD that was not going to be an option for…

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Ponies in Japan

Ponies in Japan

Usually when I’m traveling, people around me here this a lot. “Pony!” You know, every time I see a pony… which is fairly often. Europe has tons of carriage horses. Typically you’ll see at least one farm traveling by train, and find a fat cob grazing in a field. However, Japan was pretty short on ponies. In fact, I didn’t see a live, breathing pony the entire time. So this post is contrived, because it contains no actual ponies. There were…

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Gaudy and Glittered Tokyo

Gaudy and Glittered Tokyo

Tokyo has the reputation of being weird. I think everyone has heard rumors vending machines that spit out school girl’s used panties or all other kinds of fabricated urban legends about strange things in Japan. I have to admit that I fell victim a little bit too to that opinion before I left. After reading about some of the interesting Japanese opinions regarding love & sex in Aziz Ansari’s Modern Romance, I have to admit that I came to Tokyo wondering what…

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Alone in the Crowd

Alone in the Crowd

Tokyo is a city unlike any other I’ve been to. Logically, my brain wants to compare it to New York because that’s the other massive metropolitan that I’ve visited, but it doesn’t seem like a fair comparison. New York feels vibrant and alive because it’s filthy, full of interesting characters and has a brisk candor in the air around those tall buildings. When I visit New York, I feel like I’m watching someone have surgery — their guts are busted open…

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The Whole World

The Whole World

After what is probably the longest travel day of my life, I’m in Texas and settling back into my normal routine. Getting from Tokyo to Austin was an interesting journey that involved: a two hour commute to the Narita airport waiting around until 6:30pm Japan time on Tuesday evening to board for our flight Flying 12(?) hours until we landed in Dallas at 4:30pm Texas Time… aka 2 hours earlier than we left a four hour layover in Dallas where…

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Lost in Translation

Lost in Translation

I’m heading to Japan in less than a week for a trip I’ve wanted to go on since I was eighteen. A lot of people are drawn to Japan through anime or manga or all things kawaii. Though I have a healthy appreciation of Sanrio and certainly love miniature plastic food, I’ve been pulled to Japan by Bill Murray. I have this little game I ask people when the conversation is dull or I’m getting to know someone new. What’s the…

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Photography Friday – La Jolle Cove Sea Lions

Photography Friday – La Jolle Cove Sea Lions

One time my super cool California friend took me to La Jolle Cove near San Diego, and I was surrounded by sea lions and harbor seals. This trip was made even more fantastic by three things: I listened to a This American Life episode years ago all about the cove and the battle between animal activists and beach patrons. It’s really interesting, and you can listen here. You can get close enough to touch the animals. Of course I don’t…

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