Japan 21 - Home.


We have been on the plane for three hours now, nine more to go. I just ate some sort of meal that I wouldn’t feed to my dog. There was a pile of turbulence for the first few hours but the bumps have settled down now. This will be my last post for the trip. I will most likely do some conclusive ones after the jet lag wears off and post a few picture and video albums at some point. You can also access a lot of sights on my instagram account at: explainitca

Today we woke up to rain and had breakfast in the hotel. I have been feeling really worn out had a hard time getting myself in gear. We walked around a bit and tripped over to see the Hachi statue and Shibuya Station. It was all good and worth while but essentially I have been dragging my ass today pretty bad.

In a way the rain helped us leave Japan. It never really bothered us, but it made it easier to leave. Shibuya station was like the times square of Tokyo – not much else to say about it. The Hachi statue was nice, as it is in memory of a dog that used to wait at the station for his master every day and after the master died for years the dog would continue to wait for him to return until the dog died as well.

In 1924, Hidesaburō Ueno, a professor in the agriculture department at the University of Tokyo, took in Hachikō, a golden brown Akita, as a pet. During his owner’s life, Hachikō greeted him at the end of each day at the nearby Shibuya Station. The pair continued their daily routine until May 1925, when Professor Ueno did not return. The professor had suffered from a cerebral hemorrhage and died, never returning to the train station where Hachikō was waiting. Every day for the next nine years the dog waited at Shibuya station.

Hachikō attracted the attention of other commuters. Many of the people who frequented the Shibuya train station had seen Hachikō and Professor Ueno together each day. Initial reactions from the people, especially from those working at the station, were not necessarily friendly. However, after the first appearance of the article about him on October 4, 1932 in Asahi Shimbun, people started to bring Hachikō treats and food to nourish him during his wait. This continued for nine years with Hachikō appearing precisely when the train was due at the station.

Hachikō died on March 8, 1935, and was found on a street in Shibuya. In March 2011 scientists settled the cause of death of Hachikō: the dog had terminal cancer and a filaria infection (worms). There were also four yakitori skewers in Hachikō’s stomach, but the skewers did not damage his stomach or cause his death.

We also visited the man and dogs grave on our bike tour earlier on the trip. (they were buried together after the dog died). It is a big deal here in Japan and there are lots of dogs around. The seem to really appreciate them here.

During the course of this trip we discovered several coffee houses that offer large opulent ice cream sundaes and parfaits filled with fruits, mochi, syrups, rice crisps and so on. Today we had a twenty four dollar sky-high one filled with every fruit. We ate it looking out onto Shibuya crossing with all of the crowds passing by with their umbrellas. We drank ice waters and fed each other chunks of fruit and sweets. The rain was relentless today and we borrowed umbrellas from our hotel after we checked out.

Our lunch was not so good. Another vending machine deal, but more of a fast food vibe. It was very, very gamey/salty and when we left we had to hit a convenience store to stock up on chewy fruit taffy candies to get the taste out of our mouths. Think licking a pigs ass mixed with raw egg and stale cabbage – you get the gist.

We took a cab to the airport (too much luggage, too tired) and it was affordable and fast. The airport itself was like a hotel lobby and as efficient as a factory. I think we were all in and done in about fifteen minutes. Then we got to sit in living room style waiting areas and  drink gourmet coffees and shop even more. Daniela was in her glory dwindling away the remaining Yen we had left on toothpick wallets and knick knacks for the kids.

So I am sitting here now and I already seem to be drawing a blank – it could be the lack of rest, or just the fact that the trip is over. I may just be write-out for a few days. Who knows. 

This was a big trip for us with two big milestones. Ten years married and me turning 50. We had a lot of anticipation and excitement over this trip and it really delivered. Daniela did a lot of hard work planning it and we made out well on all aspects. Japan has a lot to offer and there is a lot to learn, but you have to be patient and open minded. Two things that are hard to do.

We are looking forward to getting home but are both intimidated by the struggle we are expecting to have re-adjusting. Not only from the jet-lag but from the cultural changes we have experienced as well.

I learned a lot about Japan this trip, but I learned even more about North America and myself. There are many, many instances on this trip that will stick with us forever, and hopefully some that will pop up unexpectedly in the future.

I love those moments of:

“Hey do you remember when we… and then we…”

If any good ones come up I will post them here, and I am sure I will have more to say.

The plane is loud and the bulkhead seats are worth the extra money. Fly direct here and don’t eat the food on the plane. It seems to be getting worse.

Thanks for reading and I hope you liked my posts as much and I did sharing them with you. Sorry there isn’t more to say right now, but I need to sleep.