Monday, November 30, 2015

Japan: Maiahama station & earthquake damage

Maihama station connects Tokyo Disney Resort area with the Tokyo metropolitan area and Chiba prefecture, making it a busy hub of pedestrian travelers. Thousands of people go through the station every day on their way to the parks! It came as quite a surprise to me that given the meticulous upkeep of the parks, stark reminders of the 3.11 earthquake remained by the time I arrived 8 months later. In fact, this damage shown above (caused by the ground liquefying and caving out from under the pavement) remained for years, and was not the only damage visible in the area. To be fair, this was underneath the main entry area in the automobile pick up area, so I suppose the majority of visitors to the park were expected to return to their points of origin via the trains upstairs rather than taxi. Even so, this walkway was often crowded with visitors and employees. Amazing to see that even some 300+ miles away from the epicenter of the earthquake the damages could be drastic… that's like an earthquake in Los Angeles causing visual damage and noticeable shaking all the way back in Las Vegas! 
That's a 4-5 hour drive, guys. That's not right next door. 
Though I suppose that begs the question- do mountain ranges dampen seismic activity or exacerbate it? We do have the Sierra Nevada between us and L.A. so perhaps that would buffer the blow…but I digress, back to Japan! ^_^;

Some more damage at Maihama...

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Happy Birthday Antho!

Once a year, every year, we all get a special day to celebrate our existence.
Welp, it's Antho's special day, so I thought I'd share a collection of photos from our adventures to celebrate~ Hope you enjoy! 
Happy birthday baby! I love you!

Here's to many, many more! 

Japan: Day to day vibes 2011-11-30

More meanderings around my neighborhood in Urayasu-shi, Japan. 
Photo diary~

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Japan: Fujimi Yonchome & City Hall 2011-11-28

After settling in and preparing for work, it was time to tend to all the legalities of my move. 
Working in Japan it was imperative to have a work visa, which was hammered out prior to my arrival but now that I was here there were some final details to hash out. I made my way to city hall and took many photos along the way. Here's a glimpse into my neighborhood and day to day life in Urayasu!

Friday, November 27, 2015

Japan: Daily life & unique foods 2011-11-27

MOS Burger! 
A Japan-specific burger chain, they're actually pretty tasty. One of the things they're most known for is being among the first burger chains to offer rice buns, essentially rice balls subbed in for the regular bread buns. Who knew the Japanese were early adopters of the gluten free movement? ;)

A typical Japanese taxi, classy in black.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Japan: First day in Disney 2011-11-26

Welcome to Urayasu!
Urayasu is an old fishing village located on the bay of Tokyo, just across the water from Tokyo proper. Shin-Urayasu, or new-Urayasu, was another district of the city built out of reclaimed land (utilizing landfill) and provided the space for many of the Disney cast and dancers's housing, as well as much of the land used for both Disney parks. This meant that when the 3.11 Earthquake hit liquefaction was a major problem for much of the Shin-Urayasu area, whereas my neighborhood in old-town was relatively unaffected in comparison. By the time I arrived late in 2011, most of the damages in Urayasu were unnoticeable, whereas places near Disney and throughout Shin-Urayasu were starkly and noticeably impacted. 

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Japan: Arrival in Japanland 2011-11-24

My very first day in Japan, ever.
Something I had quite literally dreamt about since I was just a wee little kid. 
My heart soared high with anticipation and curiosity boarding the plane.
How would I adjust?
What would I come to love about the country?
What would drive me nuts?
All things to be discovered over the months and years to follow.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Japan: Ginza Illuminations & shopping 2012-11-29

A-chan asked a helpful police officer for directions inside the Police box!
Not just for Doctor Who anymore Police Boxes, aka Koban, are a common occurrence in urban Japan. Positioned throughout communities in an effort to make police readily accessible, they're also willing to help lost travelers find their way, some more happily than other's. 

Monday, November 23, 2015

Japan: Lunch in Ginza with A-chan 2012-11-29

Girl's day out in Ginza with A-chan!
Ginza is a beautiful upscale neighborhood of Tokyo.
A-chan had heard great reviews about a restaurant in the area from friends, so we decided to try it for ourselves.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Japan: Shinjuku & Ebisuko Sakababa 2012-11-24

After all the fun at Icho Namiki we headed over to Shinjuku for dinner and encountered this enthusiastic green fella. 

Welcome to Japan, friends.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Japan: Icho Namiki Ginkgo Avenue 2012-11-24

The Japanese have a profound appreciation for all things seasonal, including the changing of the leaves as summer slides into the chilly grip of winter. To celebrate, Yuka & A-chan and I went to Icho Namiki, a street lined with resplendent ginkgo trees who's leaves turn a stunning shade of yellow.

Braving the sleepy crowds, we met up and began our adventure!

Friday, November 20, 2015

Japan: Doggy basket 2012-11-24

Spotted these two at Inagekaigan station and found them too adorable not to photograph! 
Sweet little old puppy waiting patiently for his pop pop. ^_^

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Japan: Yakitori Alley in Yurakucho 2012-11-23

On this evening my friend & coworker Azusa, aka A-chan, was my guide to Yakitori Alley in the Yurakucho area of Tokyo. A short walk from Ginza and tucked away between buildings underneath tracks for the Yamanote line is this bustling alley full of amazing restaurants and astounding people watching opportunities. 

I have never seen anyone drink Tequila quite like a group of Japanese salary men who were pounding it inside this beef restaurant that A-chan and I stopped in.