We made it home and the trip wasn't that bad. Although we're suffering through some serious jet lag - 15 hrs. difference - there are a few things to recap.
1. Nara - Bronze Buddha
2. Kyoto - Zen gardens
3. Tokyo's fish market
4. Drinking the "bad" temple water in Nara (somehow I missed several signs)
5. Eating the fish mousse sushi(it looked like poop)
6. Kyoto Dinner at Mama-san's joint
7. Bernd crawling through the lucky post
8. Learning the sounds of the Japanese - soup slurping, sniffling, giggling (with hands over mouth), train arrival/departure songs, crosswalk songs, toilet bowl songs, elevator songs, slot machine hall white noise....
Brief observations about Japanese culture:
1. As mentioned above, even the most banal daily events are accompanied by electronic songs and jingles.
2. Hardly anyone I saw spoke on a cell phone - everyone was text messaging. If people did talk, then they weren't loud.
3. People sleep everywhere - standing up on the train, sitting on the train, in parked cars.
4. Controlled chaos in Tokyo. Something that is hard to describe, but easy to observe. City of lost childhoods - I've never seen so many ferris wheels, arcades, etc. in any other city.
5. Respect for elders and custom. We went with the flow and the rule were pretty easy to follow. I bowed more and smiled more in 12 days than I thought possible.
All in all, it was a great trip. Everyone we encountered was friendly and helpful. Most people spoke some English, even if they claimed they couldn't. Traveling was pretty easy and our only difficulty at times was finding food. We always found something, even if it was Subway (1 dinner) and Starbucks (a few times). I would go back to Japan and see more but there are a few other places on our list to do first!
Thanks for reading our blog. We'll be uploading photos soon!