May 31, 2017

Adventures In Asia | The Other Half Of Our Trip...

Back in October I posted about mine and Justin's trip to Japan and Hong Kong (Which you can read about here), and I very much so meant to post the second half of our trip after that post but it honestly sucked all of the life out of me trying to remember all of the things that we did throughout the course of our trip and it just didn't happen. So I figured since we are going to Spain in a few weeks that I should really post about the other half of our trip from last year -- Hey, better eight months later than never?

Friday September 2nd, 2016 -- Nara
We woke up early to take a day trip over to Nara to visit the deer and Tōdai-ji temple, which was one of the things I was looking most forward to when we booked our trip.
After being attacked by deer (I have THE BEST video up on my Instagram of Justin being assaulted by a bunch of deer wanting his deer cookies) and seeing the biggest Buddha either of us has ever seen, we walked over to the Nara National Museum for a snack (Which was a recommendation from one of the program providers that we use at the library) of Japanese pancakes.
Eventually we made it back to our Airbnb to just relax.

Saturday September 3rd, 2016 -- Kōya-san
After checking out of the Airbnb we took the trek up to Kōya-san (Which it the center of Shingon Buddhism), where we stayed at Ekoin Temple with monks overnight. While we were there we learned Ajikan meditation, ate Syojin Ryori (Buddhist vegetarian cuisine) and took a night tour of the Okunoin Cemetery.
Sunday September 4th, 2016 -- Osaka
Before leaving Koyasan, we went to the morning service and goma fire ritual at the temple. Then we went for a day time walk in the Okunoin Cemetery, which is eerily beautiful.
After we had our fill at the cemetery we headed to Osaka, checked into the Airbnb and headed to Hanshin Koshien Stadium to visit the museum and see a Japanese baseball game (Which was the main reason we went to Japan during the hottest time of the year).
I honestly don't remember much about the game, aside from the fact that it kinda reminded me of a low budget Brooklyn Cyclones game but with a balloon release during the seventh inning.

Monday September 5th, 2016 -- Osaka
We spent the day wandering around Dōtombori–dori to see the famous Glico Man sign, eating ramen and window shop before going to check out the Pokémon Center (The Pokémon Go was still a thing while we were there, so we had to stop by). While we were there Phil sent out a big group text saying that Rob proposed to him, which Justin and I thought was a prank for a whole 24 hours after.
After being underwhelmed by the Pokémon Center and confused by Phil's text, we decided to visited Ōsakajō (Osaka Castle) for a little bit and I honestly don't remember what we did for the rest of the day.
Tuesday September 6th, 2016 -- Osaka
This happened to be our two year wedding anniversary, and we started off our day by visiting Isshin-ji, also known as "temple of Buddha statues made of dead people's bones" (Basically the place has a mausoleum of Buddha statues that are made of people's bones, it's apparently a thing).
When we were done there we decided to head over to the Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan because Justin loves aquariums. Unfortunately we picked a day where there were a lot of class visits, but we still had a nice time.
While we were in the area we contemplated riding the Ferris Wheel, but we decided it was too hot to do it. So we went and played a quick game of Luigi's Mansion at the arcade then went across the street to this pizzeria called Kuma Kafe run by this bad ass Australian dude and his wife.
After lunch we decided to head back to the Airbnb to shower and relax before figuring out what we'd do in the evening to celebrate our anniversary.

We ended up deciding on this Italian restaurant called Alto Tritone, where the chef made all of the pasta from scratch (It's actually what inspired me once I got home to start making all of my own pasta). Can I tell you, it was some of the best pasta I have ever had in my entire life.

After dinner we headed across the street to the Umeda Sky Building (A floating garden observatory) to check out the view, have a few drinks and just hang out on our last night in Japan.
Wednesday September 7th, 2016
The majority of this day ended up being a travel day. We were scheduled to fly from Osaka to Hong Kong around 11:00am but our flight ended up being delayed forever. Thankfully we didn't actually have anything planned for that day, so it wasn't like we were missing anything in Hong Kong.
Eventually we made it to Hong Kong and our hotel (The hotels and the Airbnbs were priced very similarly, so we opted for a hotel). Once we settled in we did a quick Trip Advisor search and found a highly rated buffet, The Market at Hotel Icon, and went to stuff our faces at one of the best buffets I have ever been to. Then wandered around a little bit before heading back to the hotel.

Thursday September 8th, 2016 -- Hong Kong
This was the morning we discovered N1 Coffee & Co. which would end up being our go to breakfast spot during our time in Hong Kong and where we would try to figure out what we were going to do for the day because we kinda went to Hong Kong without a game plan. Our time in Japan was so scheduled, so we wanted Hong Kong to be a bit more relaxed.
On this day we decided to check out the Hong Kong Museum of History because it was raining and it was something to do indoors.
By the time we were done at the museum it had cleared up a bit, so we headed to the tram that takes you to Victoria Peak to see if we might be able to get a glimpse of the view of Hong Kong and the harbor from the peak.

Unfortunately when we first got to the top it was extremely foggy out, so we went down to one of the restaurants in the building for lunch. While we were eating the sun decided to come out, so when we finished we went back up to The Sky Terrace entrance and annoyed the lady until she let us back up.
After snapping a bunch of pictures we headed back down and back to the hotel to rest before going out for a super nice dinner at Hutong, a restaurant that overlooks the harbor that you can see A Symphony of Lights (A nightly light show on the harbor which starts at 8:00pm and lasts for about 13 minutes) from.

When we were done with dinner we just went for a little walk (Which I believe is when I caught my Farfetch'd in Pokémon Go -- Don't judge me!) and someone asked us if we wanted to buy cocaine (As you walk past shops in Hong Kong people call out things like "Custom suit! Suits! Designer handbags!" and so on, that night someone shouted "Cocaine!" which took me aback as I was walking past and is now a joke Justin and I have) before heading back to the hotel.

Friday September 9th, 2016 -- Hong Kong
Honestly, I cannot remember what the hell we did during the day, but I do remember dinner. For dinner we went to this fantastic restaurant called The Salted Pig (Months later, I still think about the food we had that night) and then wandered around by the harbor, where we watched A Symphony of Lights again, then we found the Bruce Lee statue where Justin decided to take shirtless pictures in the pose the statue was in (I will spare you from those photos) before heading back to the hotel.
While we were at the hotel I saw a Facebook post from my sister's boyfriend's brother saying that he was getting a sister with a picture of him being a creep behind my sister and his brother that magically disapeared two minutes later. So I spent an hour trying to call my sister to see if she was engaged. Eventually she called me on her boyfriend's phone and told me that they were indeed engaged. So two couples got engaged while we were away.


Saturday September 10th, 2016 -- Hong Kong
At this point in our trip we really didn't have any set plans. We contemplated going to see the Tian Tan Buddha (Also known as the Big Buddha) and the Po Lin Monastery, but I told Justin there was no way in hell I was walking up 268 steps to see another Buddha once I realized how many steps I would have to climb in the rain. So I asked him if he wanted to go to Hong Kong Disneyland, since he loves Disney he was all about it and we hopped on a train to head there.
Unlike Tokyo Disneyland, EVERYONE spoke English at Hong Kong Disneyland. So that made for an easier time.

Despite being rainy out, we had a great time and thought it was a great last day in Hong Kong.

Sunday September 11th, 2016
Justin and I spent almost twenty hours traveling from Hong Kong International Airport to Narita International Airport in Tokyo (Where we had a tiny layover before hopping on a sweet BB8 plane, with a Yoda in first class) to John F Kennedy International Airport in New York.
It was a long trip but such an incredible one. I would love to go back to Japan in the future.

NOTE: Thank God for the fact that I love to check into places on Facebook, that Justin makes very detailed Google Spreadsheets with our itineraries and for my love of Instagram or I wouldn't have been able to figure out when we did what we did.

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