Travel theme: Circles

When I read these week’s travel theme at Where’s my backpack? …. Immediately the “Circle of Life” song from the Lion King got stuck in my head – and now it’s playing on repeat. Damn it Elton John! Great movie of course… I miss the golden age of Disney!

Circles are everywhere – and when I look through my pictures, especially prevalent when I’m eating because of all the plates! So I had to make a conscious effort not to put any food pictures, although my mouse finger was itchy from it. I decided to restrict myself to circles from one particular trip, and therefore I present to you…

Various Circles of JAPAN!

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On an epic trip through Asia, one of our stops was Japan, where my best friend and I would spend 1.5 weeks shinkansen-ing it to various cities. Our first stop was to Tokyo, where we stayed in the Asakusa area. While we were exploring the area, I was struck by the really cool and pretty manhole covers – such a change from the extremely industrial and gritty covers of NYC.  Little did I know, this would be a theme of our Japan trip. And that is my shoe in the bottom – I managed to wear flats every day of our six week trip – minus the day that I wore sneakers for the Great Wall. Phew.

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In Tokyo, there’s an artificial island called Odaiba where they have all sorts of cool stuff, like this colorful Ferris wheel. I loved the pretty rainbow colors of the little cars… they also had these “Crystal” containers where the whole car was made of glass or really strong clear plastic – scary! We were fine in our normal one. In Odaiba they also had a huge Gundam statue! Which we sadly did not see. We did however get to relax at the onsen – Oedo Onsen Monogatari, where we got to don Yukata and live out our Japanese anime girl fantasies.

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Another city, another totally awesome manhole cover! This was in Osaka – and as a disclaimer, not all the manhole covers are this intricate. Most of them are not colored – but this was just special. For tourists?

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And of course in Osaka, you MUST visit the Momofuku Ando Instant Ramen Museum. Yes you did read that correctly… they have a RAMEN MUSEUM! This is worth a trip to Japan by itself, because within this wondrous building you get to create your own Cup-A-Noodle, complete with decorating the cup and choosing which toppings to put in. Afterwards they even put it through a machine to seal it into a puffed up bag so it doesn’t get crushed in your suitcase when you travel back home. The Japanese think of everything! We also got to make our own ramen and walk through the tunnel timeline of ramen. It was trascendent.

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Here we are in Nara – with the in?famous Nara deer depicted on the manhole cover. For those of you who are unaware, the deer in Nara are protected and therefore are super bold and will come up to you if they think you have food. All the souvenirs in Nara are deer related – deer keychains, phonestraps, and delicious mochi that are playfully called deer droppings. At least I thought it was mochi…

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This is for Himeji – a city famous for its beautiful white castle which is often called White Egret castle because it looks like white birds about to take flight. Therefore the birds on the  manhole cover! While I can’t say that the castle looked like it would be flying off anytime soon, it was definitely a beautiful construction and had a gorgeous garden for meandering through.

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At Himeji Castle, a tower depicts many of the crests of the clans within the area. I would love to have a crest for myself!

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