Taking a Cat to Japan – Part 1

Taking a Cat to Japan – Part 1

Our decision to spend a year in Japan for the #100Summits Project depended, in part, on our ability to take our cat, Oobie, along on the journey. My husband and I believe that “pets are for life” and we wouldn’t have dreamed of leaving her behind. However, since Japan is a rabies-free country, entry requirements for pets are strict (see also: “draconian” – but with good reason) and it took us almost a year to ensure that Oobie could enter without undergoing extended quarantine.

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Celebrating The Unexpected

Celebrating The Unexpected

When traveling, I try to remember that closed itineraries–like closed fists–are unable to catch an unexpected blessing. Although I plan my travel in advance in fairly great detail, when I’m actually traveling I try to remain alert to the opportunities for spontaneous experiences, and to take advantage of them when I can. As a result, I get to enjoy the unexpected opportunities and sites that come my way. Here are just a few from the last week’s travels:

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Ginza, Visas, and the Start of the 100 Summits Quest

Ginza, Visas, and the Start of the 100 Summits Quest

Yesterday afternoon, I arrived in Tokyo to begin the first official step toward the #100Summits Project: filing my visa application. Japanese residence visas can be difficult to obtain, but I’m hopeful my plans to climb the hyakumeizan and my publishing contract for 100 SUMMITS–a nonfiction book about my quest to scale Japan’s most famous peaks in a single year–will be sufficient for me to obtain a one-year visa.

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A Visit to Nakamise Shopping Street (Part 1)

A Visit to Nakamise Shopping Street (Part 1)

Tokyo’s oldest Buddhist temple, Senso-ji, is also one of my favorites. The massive Kaminarimon, or Thunder Gate, is one of Asakusa’s best-known landmarks: and visitors often take photos with the gate’s massive chochin, which weighs almost 1,500 pounds. But a visit to Senso-ji is not complete without a stroll down Nakamise Shopping Street – the vibrant line of shops and stalls that lines the approach to the temple. Traditionally, vendors’ stalls or shops line the approach to Japanese shrines and temples. The goods on display can vary, but they usually include a variety of tasty local specialties, like these small cakes

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Temple and Toilet Slippers in Japan

Temple and Toilet Slippers in Japan

Most Japanese people don’t wear shoes inside. Apartments and houses typically have a small, lowered area just inside the door for removing shoes and a cabinet by the door where shoes are stored. This keeps the indoor spaces clean and undefiled – and it has been the custom in Japan for many hundreds (if not thousands) of years.

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