Japan. Japan is what we saw. We didn’t go there with a plan, exactly. We didn’t have a list of things we needed to see. Just a list of cities to travel to and a loose schedule of when we wanted to come and go from each place.
We were a little nervous about doing things that way. What if we were so indecisive that we didn’t do anything? What if we missed all the best stuff? What if we ended up so frustrated with each other that by the end of the trip we were hardly on speaking terms?
Ha. Ha ha ha.
It was awesome. It turned out pretty much as well as we could have hoped for. We saw so many great things, went to so many beautiful places. By 10:00 nearly every morning we would turn to each other and say: “Well, if we see nothing more today, it has already been worth it.”
There was the Christmas Hotel we ran across on our way to the temple in Narita. The Castle we stayed across the street from in Nagoya. The thousands and thousands of orange gates (and the breathtaking hike we took — off the beaten path — to get to the top of the shrine that they led to.
We ran to the Golden Temple in Kyoto and rubbed shoulders with all the uniformed school kids there. We bumped into some sister missionaries on the ferry to Sado Island and they caught us up on what’s been going on in Micah’s mission over the past decade or so. We spent our second Sunday at the Tokyo English speaking ward and made friends with a family there who invited us over for dinner that night.
And we walked until our legs hurt. Our unofficial motto was “Climb every staircase.” It served us well as we biked around Sado and stopped at every trail that looked interesting. One time we climbed 300 steps to the top of a hill, only to find a couple of burnt out buildings. Then we turned around and saw the most amazing view of rice fields and mountains. Three hundred steps well worth it.
It was technically my first international experience, but I have to say that even though we were in a foreign country, it felt very much like home. Home like Hawaii, because the landscape and architecture were very similar. And home like New York, because big cities and public transit is how we roll these days. Even though I don’t speak the language (yet) Micah and I couldn’t help but wonder if maybe someday we actually will make our home there for a little while. It’s something we’ve talked about often, and this trip made it seem like an idea worth pursuing. Maybe not right away, but not never.