Sunday, August 29, 2010

Vegan Voyager: Rockin' Out in Tokyo with Rachel and Josh

After Tokyo, the three of us headed back to Okazaki for a bit. Unfortunately, I was having weird appendicitis-like stomach pains (I have since been to the doctor and taken Chinese herbal medicine and am thus feeling all better), so they sort of hung out without me for a bit (sorry guys).

After a calm day of resting, we then headed on over to TOKYO! It was my second time there, and it was possibly even more exciting this second time around because I was with people that actually wanted to vegan restaurant explore with me!

This is perhaps going to sound lame (what can I say, I'm obsessed with delicious vegan food), but I think my FAVORITE thing about Tokyo was the Donut Plant. In Japan, they don't use eggs, and they have a soymilk donut and cinammon roll that also doesn't use real milk or butter. And is vegan. The flavor of the season was key lime while we were there, and it was absolutely TO DIE FOR! We got one EVERY DAY, and I don't know why I don't seem to have any pictures of me eating this deliciousness. The present flavor is chocolate mocha, and I am devastated to be missing it.

Other than donuts, though, the other food was also delicious.

Such as this wonderfully scrumptious pie!

And of course the rest of Tokyo was also awesome.
I can't decide if my favorite thing about it was the overabundance of dragon everything:

Such as this awesome dragon that was hanging out in the subway,

And this dragon fountain in Ueno park (I think I mentioned before that I don't think I will EVER get tired of the dragon fountains)!

or if it was perhaps Akihabara, where

We went into this old school game store, and

I got to sit in this AWESOME chair made out of fam com games - I totally need one!

More than that, though

If I look pyshco in this picture, it is because I was feeling psychotically excited!

Yes, I think just for that Akihabara was my favorite. I mean, I now own that Dr. Mario. And a way to play it. And everyone that knows me knows that I am even more obsessed with Dr. Mario than I am with food (and plus, there was a Donut Plant in Akihabara).

Then, we also went over to Harajuku,

where we got to walk down this ridiculously overwhelming street.

And thankfully it was as overwhelming as it was, because I was overcome with desire to buy almost everything I saw.
We checked out the park nearby, which was lovely,

and there was this huge group of people rocking out and dancing to 50's music.

I wanted to join in, but I didn't know any of the dances. :-(
We spent quite a bit of time in Ueno park, and I got to see MUCH more of it this time because it wasn't cherry blossom season and so we could actually walk through it.

This pond full of lily pads was breathtaking.

I also really enjoyed the lanterns!

Also in the park, there was this museum that was supposed to give you the feel of what a house/shop in Japan used to be like "back in the day." It was super cool, and most of the things had actually been used way back when.

We got to see what an old school candy shop looked like!

Then of course, I can't forget Asakusa, which is the area in which we stayed.

There were some very old and beautiful temples.

Some other interesting things we saw

were the amazingly cute balloon decorated road entrances,

these repulsive looking soy sauce kit kats,

and their adorable caps to cover the water for firefighters (which, of course, don't match in any way the beautiful sewer caps of Okazaki).

Oh, and not to be forgotten, we played the drum game on the electronics street right by Ueno Park!

It was super fun, and Josh was totally great at it!

Our last night there, we of course had to do karaoke - I mean, you can't come to Japan and not do Karaoke at least once.

We totally rocked out to the Scorpions!

The last thing we did, before heading to the train station and heading our separate ways (Rachel and Josh back to NYC - sadness) was to head over to the drum museum. It was super awesome - there were drums from all over and from all times, and most of them we were allowed to play.

We totally rocked out!

And that's it! Sorry if I wrote too much - as you can see, Tokyo was AWESOME! And a big thanks to Rach for sharing her pictures with me - I think half of these must be hers.
Anyhow, lots of things have still been happening, so be expecting more pictures SOON! :-) Enjoy!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Vegan Voyager: Kyoto with Josh and Rachel

Okay, so a TON has happened since Kyoto with Josh and Rachel (I've actually even been back) - I've gotten SUPER behind in the writing department. Mostly because, for some reason (probably that the internet connection here is terrible), I couldn't get my photos to upload - I finally found a new site, Fotki, that works! So since I'm sure what interests you guys most is pictures anyway, I'm going to try to minimalize the writing and just post mostly pictures. Enjoy!

I was SUPER psyched to go to Kyoto for the first time, as I had heard a TON of great things about it. It definitely lived up to expectations!

When we got there, we immediately hopped on a bus and headed over to Tenryuji Temple.

There, we ate DELICIOUS vegan temple food (although there were lots of pickled things, of which I was NOT a fan),

and from the place where we were eating, we had the most AMAZING view!

On the temple grounds, there was also this ridiculously OLD koi pond. It was huge and amazing and wonderful and forgive my lack of adjectives to describe it.

Then we headed over to Kinkaku kuji, the Golden Temple, which was, without a doubt, all that it's cracked up to be. It was AMAZINGLY beautiful, and the gardens were also a sight to behold.

After then going down the Path of Philosophy, which was absolutely BEAUTIFUL, we made our way over to the Kyoto Arts and Crafts center (which was super cool), and we got to see the most amazingly huge Tori I had ever seen. It was breathtaking.

One day, we rented bikes, which made getting around Kyoto SOOOOO much easier, as the day before we had walked NON-STOP, and I know my feet and hips had been killing me. Having bikes was such a relief.

We biked up to this restaurant (Cafe Proverbs), which was by the river. Cafe Proverbs was, I think, as of now, the most delicious vegan restaurant I have found in Japan. It by far tops all the others! I got this to die for soy milk ramen. The river was also cool because there were all these bird and turtle shaped stones that you could use to cross it.

Other than that, while in Kyoto, we checked out a cool art exhibit, and we got to do our own woodblock print, which was cool.

We checked out Ginkaku kuji, the Silver Pavillion, which was nice,

but what was really amazing about it was the gardens. I want a garden like that at my house if I ever grow up.

We walked around the Gion area (unfortunately didn't see any geisha) and got to see the big shrine filled Ueno park.

I feel like everywhere we looked there was the most BEAUTIFUL moss. I really don't know how they get it to grow like that, but it was impressive, and I just wanted to roll around in it.

We also checked out this world-renowned rock garden, to which many buddhists monks have been known to meditate. It was really quite something.

We went to a performance and got to see geisha dance and perform a tea ceremony. There were two different musical performances and also a traditional style Japanese play. It was totally worth doing!

And, of course, we checked out Nishiki Market, where there were some amazingly interesting things, such as vegan ice cream and these vegetables covered in miso.

And I wrote FAR more than I was planning on writing. Forgive me. EVen if you don't read it, I hope you enjoy the pictures.
I'll be updating soon about TOKYO!!!! :-) So stay tuned!