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Tokyo & Taipei

April 17, 2009

First of all let me say that I don't know if this wil post correctly because everything on my screen is in Chinese. Okay here's what I've been doing so far:

Tokyo was awesome. The first night I got in, Jeff & I went shopping in Harajuku and had dinner there. For dessert I ate the best crepes from a street stand. We got up super early the next day and caught the subway to Tsukiji Fishmarket, where they sell any kind of sea creature you could imagine & some you probably couldn't. We also got to watch the auction where there were huge, huge aku and other fish. Navigating through it was treacherous, with bicycles and flatbed carts racing by in all directions and people rushing around everywhere. We waited almost an hour to get in to a good sushi restaurant at the fishmarket but it was worth it. The whole place seated about 12 people, who sit around the counter, where the fresh ingredients are on display and the sushi chefs do their thing. It was $50 for 11 pieces but I ate things I've never even seen before, like whole baby squid and some kind of shellfish that was so fresh it was still moving on top of the rice. The miso soup was the best I've ever had, with some kind of fish parts at the bottom.

In Tokyo we also went to some amazing gardens with lakes and bridges and tea houses, winding pathways, immaculately landscaped plants of all kinds, and cherry blossoms in full bloom. So, so beautiful and relaxing. The subway system was great - easy to understand, clean, and safe. Sometimes we were packed in like sardines but most of the time it was pretty empty. Last night we met Willene & her husband for dinner and drinks in Shinjuku. It was so nice to see some familiar faces so far from home.

I left all my Hawaii friends in Tokyo and am now alone in Taipei in the pouring rain. It's like a slum scene out of a kung fu movie - dirty, crowded, cars & bicycles weaving in and out through all lanes of traffic. And no one speaks English so I had a hard time telling the taxi drivers where to take me. I was mistakenly dropped off at the Chiang Kai Chek National Memorial instead of the National Palace Museum but luckily I figured it out before I got too lost and was able to get another taxi to take me to the museum, where they have an impressive Chinese artifact collection. I also went to a famous temple & then to the snake alley night market where i ate at the first place I could find that had other things than heads feet and guts. My garlic eggplant, fried fish, and tofu watercress were actually really good. I was fortunate enough to witness a funeral procession there - it was like a parade with floats and lion dancers and drummers and fireworks just going down the street.

Tomorrow I will be in Nepal and the adventure will really begin.

Tags: bangkok, japan, thailand, tokyo, travel

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