Asia

Cambodia: The Killing Fields

Cambodia: The Killing Fields

Warning: The post contains some gruesome pictures/details of the Khmer Rogue regime. On January 4th, I continued my exploration of Phnom Penh. I left my hostel around 9 am and got in one of the tuk-tuks waiting outside. My destination was the Choeung Ek Genocidal Center. But […]

Angkor Wat Sunrise

Angkor Wat Sunrise

One of the most popular times to see Angkor Wat is for the sunrise. Because the temple faces west, it’s in a perfect silhouette for sunrise. But get there at sunrise and you’ll be disappointed with the amount of people. So like many other photography opportunities, […]

Chiang Mai Zoo – with videos!

Chiang Mai Zoo – with videos!

I love zoos. If the animals are treated decently, they’re always a fun way to spend the day. Most countries outside of the United States tend to have looser rules when it comes to interacting with animals so when I travel, I always try to […]

Tiger Kingdom

Tiger Kingdom

It’s been an extremely busy and exhausting past couple days in Siem Reap visiting Angkor Wat. Waking up at 3:45 am then touring all day long. In the trade-off between staying in and making a new post vs. going out and traveling, traveling wins. I’ll […]

Muay Thai Boxing

Muay Thai Boxing

On top of it’s wildlife, Thailand is also popular for their native martial art: muay thai. Muay thai is similar to kickboxing with the boxer able to use their fists, elbows, knees, and shins to attack their opponent. It consists of 5, 3 minute rounds. In […]

Criminal Massage

Criminal Massage

I read about this place in my guidebook and being up for anything, I decided to give it a shot. At 8 am Christmas morning, I showed up to the women’s correctional center in Chiang Mai. This center offers great massages by female inmates looking […]

Baan Chang Elephant Park

Baan Chang Elephant Park

As soon as I booked my trip to Thailand, I knew I wanted to ride an elephant. Thinking that I won’t go back to Thailand anytime soon, I reserved a spot on two different day tours. NOTE: Due to time constraints, this post doesn’t contain […]

Off to Chiang Mai

Off to Chiang Mai

I woke up after six short hours of sleep to catch my flight to Chiang Mai. I checked out and grabbed the hotel shuttle to Bangkok airport. I arrived at the airport at 7:30 am for a 10:00 am flight and I’m glad I did […]

Travel Day(s)

Travel Day(s)

I’ve said in the past that the worst part about traveling is actually traveling, and that hasn’t been more true than today. While my flights went smoothly, I went a long time without sleeping in a bed. I woke up early on Sunday and after […]

On crowds and expectations

On crowds and expectations

Traveling comes with a certain level of expectations. You plan for months for your trip – looking at pictures, reading reviews online, and talking to people who have traveled the same path. But even for the experienced traveler, these lofty expectations can come with disappointment. Think […]

Initial planning for Thailand and Cambodia

Initial planning for Thailand and Cambodia

Between my birthday and Thanksgiving, my trip will be here before I know it. I booked my initial flight to Bangkok on October 3rd and since then I’ve managed to do some good planning.  I know which cities I’m going to and for how long and […]

Just booked my next trip…

Just booked my next trip…

With the amount of planning that only a (legally) single guy can do, I booked a flight to my next destination. On December 21st, I’ll be flying to Southeast Asia and spending 20 days touring Thailand and Cambodia. I’ll drive to Tampa on December 20th and then […]

Delightfully tacky, yet unrefined

Delightfully tacky, yet unrefined

This past Saturday before my parents arrived I did some more shopping in Tokyo. I stopped by my favorite burger restaurant for lunch and then picked up some dress shirts. I haven’t purchased a lot in Japan but my suitcase was fairly full when I came over – hopefully everything […]

Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum

Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum

One of the top sites to see in Hiroshima is the Peace Memorial Museum. As an American, it was a very interesting experience. First, the logistics. It’s open most days from 8:30 am until 6:00 pm, which is somewhat surprising since most places in Japan […]

Okunoshima – the bunny island

Okunoshima – the bunny island

While in Hiroshima, I did a couple side trips. My first stop was to Ōkunoshima, an island about an hour west of Hiroshima. From the outside, there isn’t anything remarkable about Ōkunoshima. But after spending a few minutes on the island, you can see why it’s so […]

27 days left

27 days left

Time has passed quickly since my trip over Golden Week. From a personal level, it’s been a fun past month. My parents are visiting me in Japan this upcoming Sunday (June 8th) and will be spending two weeks in Japan. I’ll get to spend the weekend […]

Day trip to Nara

Day trip to Nara

On my last full day in Kyoto, I decided to head south and take a day trip to Nara, a small city famous for it’s temples. But I wasn’t really there for the temples. In fact, I didn’t really see them at all. Instead, I went […]

Gio-ji and Adashino-Nenbutsu-ji temples

Gio-ji and Adashino-Nenbutsu-ji temples

The end of my trip was pretty busy and I didn’t get a chance to make new posts. I’m back in Fussa now and will post updates this week. On another rainy afternoon in Kyoto, I went to visit a couple temples. Rather than walk from the train station […]

Fushimi Inari Shrine

Fushimi Inari Shrine

This Shinto shrine sits at the base of a mountain and is dedicated to Inari – the god/spirit of rice. It’s relatively large and without an admission gate, it’s free and open 24/7. Like the bamboo forest, I decided to come here on two separate days. The […]

Kyoto Aquarium

Kyoto Aquarium

With a rainy day, I decided to visit the Kyoto Aquarium. It didn’t have very good reviews, but I found it to be a good option outside of the temples and shrines. First stop was the frog and small fish exhibit. Neat, but nothing too exciting. This […]

Bamboo Forest in Arashiyama

Bamboo Forest in Arashiyama

On the western side of Kyoto is the Arashiyama district – famous for its many temples and hilly scenery. One of it’s most famous sites is a bamboo forest. Like many popular attractions, it all depends on when you visit. My first visit was on a sunny […]

Iwatayama Monkey Park

Iwatayama Monkey Park

Sunday morning I took short trips to Fushimi Inari Shrine and the bamboo forest in Arashiyama. I mainly went to scout for taking pictures later in the week so I’ll make separate posts for them later. The rest of the day was dedicated to visiting Iwatayama Monkey […]

Kyoto Tower and the Golden Pavilion

Kyoto Tower and the Golden Pavilion

Saturday started my golden week holiday. I left my apartment early at 6:30 am then transferred in Tokyo for the Shinkansen and finally arrived in Kyoto at 11:15 am. The train ticket cost $135. First stop was lunch. I got sushi and went with two rolls which had […]

Packing and the diminishing returns of traveling

Packing and the diminishing returns of traveling

On Saturday, I start a 10 day trip to Kyoto and Hiroshima. Different from most trips I take, I’ll only be spending the night in two different locations – 6 nights in Kyoto (probably too many) and 3 nights in Hiroshima. But beyond a few […]

Jigokudani Monkey Park

Jigokudani Monkey Park

In the nineteen countries I’ve been to this was one of my best travel experiences. My main reason for going to Nagano for the weekend was to visit the wild monkey park in Yamanouchi. Japanese macaques, more commonly called snow monkeys, are drawn to this mountain area […]

Basics of the Japanese language

Basics of the Japanese language

Let me preface this by saying I have barely scratched the surface on learning Japanese and while I can’t guarantee that everything below is 100% correct, it is to the best of my knowledge. A year ago I knew nothing about the Japanese language. I couldn’t […]

Canon service center in Ginza

Canon service center in Ginza

I noticed my camera sensor had some dust on it so I went into Tokyo to get my camera cleaned on Saturday. I have a 10 day trip coming up on the 26th, so I figured now would be a good time. I visited Canon’s flagship […]

Hitachi Seaside Park

Hitachi Seaside Park

This park has been made famous outside of Japan mainly due to internet articles like the poorly-worded 22 Unbelievable Places that are Hard to Believe Really Exist and 21 Breathtaking Places You Won’t Believe Exist (clearly the second author didn’t agree with the first list). […]

Grocery stores in Japan

Grocery stores in Japan

Exploring a Japanese grocery store can be an interesting experience. They take some getting used to but in reality they’re not all that different from ones in the United States. Layout and hours The layout is what I’m used to: produce, milk, and fish/meat on […]

Hanami and Mt. Takao

Hanami and Mt. Takao

In the last week of cherry blossoms in Tokyo, my coworkers invited me to a hanami gathering. A very kind gesture on their part. So after work on Friday, we met at the local Seiyu (Japanese Wal-mart) and picked up some beer, snacks, and bento – the […]

Upcoming travel in April

Upcoming travel in April

I plan on doing a ton of traveling during the month of April. Luckily for me, the weather looks good – at least for this weekend. In addition to my plan for Golden Week starting on April 26th, this is what I have planned: April […]

Cherry Blossoms

Cherry Blossoms

Cherry blossoms are a huge deal in Japan. There’s hundreds of thousands of cherry trees throughout the country and when they bloom, it’s a very special time of the year. Like the ones located in Washington DC, most of the trees are the non-fruit producing […]

Bathrooms, masks, and germ prevention in Japan

Bathrooms, masks, and germ prevention in Japan

One of the things that surprised me about Japan how they prevent germs. Let’s start with public bathrooms. I’d say the 90% of public bathrooms (most common at train stations) don’t have paper towels, hot water, OR soap. I’ll go through these one at a […]

Trash cans in Japan

Trash cans in Japan

I’m living in the largest city in the world and surprisingly trash is not an issue. The streets are very clean and if there’s an empty bottle on a train, someone probably left it by accident. However, the amount of public trash cans is staggeringly low. In […]

Rant on deodorant and central air/heating in Japan

Rant on deodorant and central air/heating in Japan

So I learned the hard way that Japan does not have western-style deodorant readily available. This is not something I anticipated when I moved here and isn’t something you really think about.  It should be like finding toothpaste or face wash, right? Turns out that’s […]

Tsukiji Fish Market

Tsukiji Fish Market

This past Saturday I decided to go to Tsukiji Fish Market. The most popular thing to do is see the tuna auction, but that didn’t happen for me and I doubt I will see it. For one, even though it starts at 5:15 am, you […]

Trip to Mt. Fuji and Kawaguchiko

Trip to Mt. Fuji and Kawaguchiko

After checking the weather forecast, I decided to spend Saturday night near Mt. Fuji and return on Sunday. One night in a hostel costs 2700 yen, whereas a one-way train ticket costs 3000 yen, so I might as well spend a night there and make […]

What we’ve got here is a failure to communicate

What we’ve got here is a failure to communicate

Coming to Japan there were many things that I was prepared for ahead of time: the relatively low-carb diet, riding a bike to work, and even the compactness of my 230 sq. ft. apartment. But something I underestimated was the difficulty in talking to people. […]

Update on Japan

Update on Japan

I wanted to post an update on my trip to Japan. It’s been about two months since I moved to Japan and I have about three more months to go, so almost half way there. As expected, it’s been an interesting experience. One thing I […]

Land of the poorly-timed sun

Land of the poorly-timed sun

I’m convinced there is something wrong with Japan’s timezone. Right now in early March, the sun sets at 5:30 pm. Not too bad, it’s winter right? Tokyo has roughly the same latitude as Raleigh, North Carolina so you would expect them to get the same […]

Golden Week traveling

Golden Week traveling

If you’re not familiar, Golden Week is a week in late April and early May that has many close holidays in Japan. Most companies give their employees the week off. At JTEKT, we get from Apr 26th to May 5th off. Since I booked my […]

Snow skiing in Nagano

Snow skiing in Nagano

We met at work Saturday morning at 6:30 am to carpool for the ski trip. The only problem was that I didn’t have a way to get there so I had to bike. I left my apartment at 6:00 am and got there 20 minutes […]

The Tokyo skyline

The Tokyo skyline

Well it took me about a month, but I finally managed to get a good picture of the Tokyo skyline. My first few attempts weren’t that great. I first tried the observation deck at the Bunkyo Civic Center. It’s free to take the elevator to the […]

Lack of traveling

Lack of traveling

The business trip to Osaka went well. I wasn’t able to see much besides the manufacturing facility and my hotel, but that was expected on such a short trip. Hopefully next time I’ll get to spend longer and see the cities of Osaka or Nara. […]

Snowpocalypse 2014

Snowpocalypse 2014

Over the weekend Tokyo got 10 inches of snow, with Fussa City collecting closer to a foot of snow! I’ve experienced snow like this when I lived in Rhode Island, but 12 inches in 24 hours didn’t happen very often. It was an unusually high […]

Sushi Santa

Sushi Santa

Near the Yokota Air Force base there is a sushi restaurant called Sushi Santa. From my apartment, it takes me 3 minutes on my bike. Inside is a sushi bar that can seat at most 15 people. It has a family atmosphere, where the chef […]

Matsumoto Castle

Matsumoto Castle

My first stop on my trip this past weekend was to Matsumoto Castle. Getting there was a bit of a challenge. I left my apartment at 6:30 am, went into Tokyo and then took the shinkansen (bullet train) to Nagano. I then grabbed a local […]

Upcoming weekend trip: Nagano and Matsumoto

Upcoming weekend trip: Nagano and Matsumoto

I booked my lodging and this weekend I’ll be taking a trip to Nagano Prefecture. I’ll be leaving from my apartment (near Hachioji on the map) to take the bullet train from Tokyo to Nagano where I’ll be spending two nights. On my way back, I’ll […]

Helping teach English in Nakano

Helping teach English in Nakano

Yesterday was an interesting day. I bit the bullet and bought some cooking supplies and made my first meal since I arrived in Japan two weeks ago. My extremely small kitchen was finally put to use. At noon, I went to meet a coworker in […]

How to ride Local trains in Japan

How to ride Local trains in Japan

When you arrive at a train station, you’ll see the ticket center. It will often have a large map overhead that has all the train stops in Japanese Kanji. The red arrow indicates where you are and the numbers indicate how much it will cost to […]

A gym membership then Krispy Kreme

A gym membership then Krispy Kreme

Saturday I decided to find a different gym and do some shopping. I did more research online earlier in the week and found out the Gold’s Gyms in Japan have squat racks. The closest one to me was located in Hachioji, 30 minutes away by train. Looking up […]

More company meals and almost a gym membership

More company meals and almost a gym membership

This past week has been mostly meals with coworkers. I haven’t gotten a lot a time to myself so far, but plan to go into Tokyo this weekend. On Wednesday, the 15th, we ate at Dohton Bori, a cook-it-yourself restaurant. The food is served to […]

Car accident while riding my bike

Car accident while riding my bike

Well it was bound to happen eventually. On my way home from work yesterday, I was biking along the main road in the area. It’s two lanes wide on each side with a raised median, but there’s a generous sidewalk where the bicycles ride. I […]

First few days of work

First few days of work

The first few days of work have been interesting. About 5 people in my office speak English (including me) so it’s been fun trying to learn as much Japanese as possible. Google translate has become my new best friend. I had to draw a picture […]

More exploring and another company meal

More exploring and another company meal

Similar to yesterday morning, I woke up well before the sunrise. I don’t normally sleep in, but now I can’t sleep in past 6:00 am. I had free time this morning so after doing my pull-ups in the park, I set out to explore Fussa […]

Shopping, working out, and raw horse meat

Shopping, working out, and raw horse meat

I didn’t have to work today (Saturday) which was a welcome surprise, so I set out to explore Fussa city on my bike. I rode down near the train station and parked my bike in front of Mister Donuts. Not knowing if I had to […]

Welcome dinner, a bicycle, and 7-Eleven for two meals

Welcome dinner, a bicycle, and 7-Eleven for two meals

Despite just arriving, I didn’t have any problems falling asleep on Friday night. I stayed up until 12:30 pm on my computer and woke up around 6:30 am. For breakfast, I went to 7-Eleven as I don’t have any pots or pans yet. Not entirely […]

Moving in to apartment and first meal in Japan

Moving in to apartment and first meal in Japan

After meeting Saki, we quickly bought train tickets. The airport is on the far east side of Tokyo and we had to pass through Shinjuku (red dot) in order to get to Fussa Station, where my apartment is located. I was going to stay in a hotel for […]

Travel day (updated, but boring)

Travel day (updated, but boring)

Too long, didn’t read: Long travel day, United 747 is not recommended, arrived in Japan My flights got changed again, the sixth time in 36 hours. The flight out of Greenville was cancelled again so the remainder of my flights were cancelled. It was assumed […]

Flights cancelled – leaving tomorrow?

Flights cancelled – leaving tomorrow?

I was originally going to fly out Tuesday at 7:00 am. That didn’t happen.  Due to the weather, United has allowed passengers to change their flights without incurring fees. Good thing because in the past 24 hours, I’ve had 5 different flights to Tokyo that have […]

Last minute preparation

Last minute preparation

I finally moved everything into my 10′ x 10′ storage unit on Saturday with some much needed help. Besides moving sofas down two flights of stairs, it went pretty well. One of the good things about a one bedroom apartment is it’s hard to accumulate […]

Airline tickets, Japanese visa, and moving

Airline tickets, Japanese visa, and moving

Things have been picking up quickly. First off, I’ve started to build a custom Google Map with the location of my apartment, work, and other notable landmarks to get myself oriented. Between that and the bird’s eye view in Bing Maps, I have a pretty […]

My apartment in Japan

My apartment in Japan

In picking where I wanted to live, I decided to stay near Fussa which is on the western side of Tokyo and close to work. It is also home to a United States Air Base, Yokota Air Base, so there’s a good amount of Americans […]

Moving to Japan

Moving to Japan

In early January, I’ll be moving to Tokyo, Japan for six months for work (I consider anything longer than 3 months moving rather than traveling). I work for a Japanese bearing company and my main assignment will be understanding how bearings are designed, manufactured, and […]