Friday, May 9, 2014

Pre-Golden Week!

Greetings everyone!

I hope this post finds you well. I know it has been a while, but I have a lot of updates for you! I will be making two blog posts back-to-back.  This one contains everything about my time spent before traveling to the Tokyo area for Golden Week.  The other will concern the many amazing experiences I had during Golden Week. Read on, and enjoy!

Hikone City & Hikone Castle -- Part 2
Since the last time, I have made it out to conveyor-belt sushi with friends.  It is so nifty you pay by the plate, in that different colored plates represent various prices and orders. Have I mentioned by love of salmon? 
Otherwise,  Hikone Castle has made it into my travel log two more times now. Guess I can't get enough of this place! So far, all three trips have been unique and special. I was able to visit the area surrounding the castle at night with friends to enjoy the sakura being lit-up.  Also, on a separate occasion Meena and I were able to meet the town mascot, Hikonyan. He put on a nice show for the crowd. : )
Korei-Taisai Festival at Tagataisha
After class on April 22, I traveled to Tagataisha by bus with a few friends.  It is a Shinto shrine within Shiga Prefecture dedicated to the god Izanagi-no-Mikoto and goddess Izanami-no-Mikoto.  In Japanese mythological history, they are considered the creators of Japan. An annual festival is held to pray for the productiveness of grain.  While here, we were able to watch part of the parade, explore the grounds surrounding the shrine (but sadly not inside), and peruse many of the vendor stalls and specialty shops.  After stumbling upon what I assume functioned as the parade grounds, the lot of us were approached by several locals for high-fives, pictures, and some genuine conversation.

Kyoto -- Part 1
Recently, I was Kyoto-bound to see The Amazing Spider-Man 2. In addition to seeing the movie, I was able to enjoy a western-style lunch at Shakey's, a walk through the neighboring shopping district, and some wonderful okonomiyaki for dinner.  Oishii desu yo! I barely made progress in seeing all there is to see in Kyoto, so I hope to return soon (in either one or multiple visits) to witness what other great opportunities await.
I will be sure to update within the next day or two about my Tokyo sightseeing.

Thanks for tuning-in,

(P.s.- 20 points if you can guess the name of the friendly character to the right.  Hint:  Think Studio Ghibli)
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