The Road To Kyoto

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7:00am JST

Tanking up at the buffet near a sunny window with … I think these are octopus balls because of the tentacles… curry chicken, grilled fish, potato pancakes, orange slices, mmiso soup, rice with sprinkles and pickled vegetables. Every good day of photography starts with a good breakfast!

8:00am JST

Godzilla raises his immense mass from the buffet table and lets out a mighty roar of conquest. Other patrons flee, panicked by the earth shaking sounds exploding from the mighty thunder lizard! The mighty thunder lizard also has a mighty sunburn from his day in the hot sun in Sawara.…

Earthquake!

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2:00 pm JST

Earthquake! I’m told that Sawara was a mere eight miles from the epicenter. It felt like a sudden cold front of thunderstorm had blown into town. The street quivered like jello under my feat, and then as suddenly as it began, it was gone. There was little apparent concern from the residents here as well, and the festival rolled on…

http://earthquake.usgs.gov/earthquakes/eventpage/usb000d4vp#summary

Sawara Fall Festival

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7:30am JST

My first full day in Japan begins uber early by tanking up with a hearty breakfast. Buffets at hotels are par for the course in Japanese hotels and I started with a plate load of breaded fish, salmon, scrambled eggs, sausage, and bowls of rice and miso soup. I like my rice with sprinkles and pickled vegetables. Its a lovely sunny first day as the morning light streams in through the windows.

[ First-Time Traveler Tip: Get up by 6:30am and make the most of the day! ]

8:00am JST

Man I just want to keel over from all that food, but no time to waste… I’m setting out for the town of Sawara, former home of Ino Tadataka, the first man to make a comprehensive map of Japan.…

Arrival

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As my flight approaches Narita Airport, I can see Tokyo Sky Tree looming in the distance! That thing must be utterly huge if you can see it all the way to Narita Airport in Chiba Prefecture! I breeze through declarations and customs because I’m organized and squeaky clean, and magically my luggage appears before me as I reach baggage claim.

Ahhhh, Narita Airport, looks the same as the way I left it. You’d think someone would have cleaned up that mess by now. I ask at transit information where to find the Keisei bus, but the next Keisei bus leaves in an hour so I opt for the Keisei line train to Narita (the town).…

Checking in at the Airport…

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8:00am EST

The hour has arrived! My bags are packed, the fridge cleared out (mostly) and I’m ready to wing my way to Japan for a month and a half of touring, photography and video creation. This trip I left the travel guitar at home and managed to pack a week’s worth of clothes, laptop computer, hard disks, Nikon DSLR, video camera, audio recorder, stereo field microphone, cables and accessories into a mere three pieces of luggage.

Checkin and security was uber fast and efficient thanks to no lines a full two and a half hours early and my penchant for having all of my boarding materials ready in plastic organizers (Japanese of course).…

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