VR's Trip To The Land Of The Rising Sun


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To return my father to the country he helped defend. He died unexpectedly a couple of months ago. He was 89 and lived a good life, moving to the USA back in 1956. He spent more time living in the US than in Japan. I was the one who drew the short straw on who was going to escort my mother back to Japan so I thought that I would share my trip with the forum. I thought that this Japan Forum could use some help with a post so here we go.

The final picture together with my parents onboard Delta #643, even though my father was technically my carry on luggage at this point.

The TSA doesn't trust anyone, even when they are dead.

Descending towards Narita International Airport outside Tokyo after ten hours with the wheels up, nice and smoggy.

Wheels down at NRT

Spent a couple of nights in Tokyo, but it's not like I had a red light, I mean green light to go out and hit the nightlife. My 90 year old mother had a pretty tight leash on me. Funny story after hopping in a cab to the hotel after a 90 minute bus ride from the airport, I asked the taxi driver if he spoke English. He said a little. The reason why was that I wanted to know what the large building we were passing by was, it was well fortified with tons of security. He replied US Embassy.

I did eat well, tons of noodle bars. Although Tokyo is one of the most expensive cities in the world, I could eat cheaper, at least here than I could back home in Idaho.


After two nights in Tokyo, off to Matsuyama Enhime, the largest city on the island of Shikoku, which is one of the four major islands that make up the majority of Japan. A little over an hour's flight south. Departed out of Haneda Intl Airport, the second international airport that serves Tokyo.

Beginning of our decent down to Matsuyama.


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More noodles.


No gambling, at least legally in Japan so they have these parlors called Pachinko. A bunch of metal balls, and the objective is to accumulate them, rather than losing them. Then trade in your balls for prizes. But I guess you can go get cash, but I'm not sure where. The place was LOUD, from all the machines making these annoying sounds, similar to a loud video game.

This woman had a nice stack.

On the road again, to my mother's hometown called Unomachi, about an hour south of Matsuyama by train. Picture of my mom getting on and a selfie of me.


The place where my mom grew up Is now considered the Historic District.



The home where my Mom grew up in and where I also visited when I was like 3 and 10.
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The streets are narrow and you will not find more of a true Japanese town than this.



Where my grandmother is buried. And the view from the burial site overlooking the small town.


So back in the city of Matsuyama, there is a famous castle called Matsuyama Castle. I will spare you the history lesson, and if anyone is a real history guru, you can always google it and learn more about it.





I really wanted to get inside. It would be so cool.
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Well it turns out, for about $10 USD, you can get inside. You just have to take your shoes off and walk around in these stupid plastic slippers.

Okay, so I have been slacking off on my PT from my ACL surgery because of this trip, but I made up for it today. Nothing but uphill to get to the castle and once inside, all you seem is to go up and up the stairs, and it's pretty steep.







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I saw that there was this giant ferris wheel on top of a department store, so I went on it of course.

The nights in Matsuyama, it's like Vegas.

No more noodles, this time it's yakitori. Beef, pork, chicken, veggies on a stick.




So my Dad's final resting place, in Matsuyama Japan. The burial site just across the street where he grew up.

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Almost forgot, this is a motorcycle forum. So here's a picture of a motorcycle in Matsuyama. For a country that makes a lot of motorcycles, it's hard finding any bikes around here. And when I finally did, it's a BMW!

Lots of scooters. I did notice much more motorcycles in Tokyo. Of course the very last day here in Japan, I discover that there is a place that rents bicycles and scooters just a block away from the hotel. I go over there and discover that they also rent motorcycles. Next time I will. I don't think I would feel comfortable riding in this country yet, I still find myself hopping on the escalators that are going in the wrong direction. It's on the opposite side compared to the USA. I hate to imagine if I have a brain fart riding, you might as well just reserve me a spot next to my dad.

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It is hard finding motorcycles. I though I could snap up an enduro for cheap when I got here, but they're not easy to find or cheap, even for a 20+ year old one. I'm taking the train down to Tokyo this weekend, so I might have to check out this motorcycle rental thing.

[ETA] I'm stationed in Misawa, BTW.
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My deepest condolences to you and your Mother.

My husbands mother is from Japan, I think we'll be doing that kind of trip here sooner or later too.
Noodles, noodles! I remember when I was in Tokyo 2 years ago even for breakfast---everybody is having noodles. Pretty complex transit systems there, too, huh? Nice pics.
Thanks for sharing Kenny, my condolences to your family, some great pics, I'm pleased that you could do this for your mum, and put your father to rest.
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That is a very special thing you did with your mom to bring your father to his final resting place:thumbup:
Early in my career my cutter made a special patrol to Japan to participate in a parade of ships in Tokyo harbo for the 25th anniversary of the Japanese maritime safety association(now the Japanese coast guard). That was my introduction to sushi, a great culture, and drink machines recessed into the stone walls in residential areasBlah
Thank you for sharing with us, Kenny.
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Thank you for sharing with us a bit of your soft side. I would like to offer my sincere condolences for your father. People of that generation have seen many great and not so great things in their lifetime. However your Mother appears to very much still in charge - good for her. I have never visited Japan, but we can learn a lot from their culture. :thumbup:
1st leg of the trip back home begins.

Arriving into Haneda Intl in Tokyo.

Then a 60 minute bus ride over to Narita Intl Airport. On the way, I saw a group of 3 motorcyclist.

While waiting for our flight back to the states, inside Delta's Sky Lounge, I came across this neat little machine.

You place an empty glass underneath where it dispenses.

Press the button and it starts pouring, but it also automatically tilts the glass to minimize the head.

Well it's not perfect so after the glass is full, there is a automatic scraper that goes across the top of the glass to make it a smooth head.

And during my final flight back to Boise, my 4th flight after my initial JAL flight to begin my trip home, the guy sitting next to me throws up! Fortunately I had an aisle seat and the seat in the middle was unoccupied, so I was minimally hit. I switched seats.
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Hey Kenny, I'm surprised you didn't post about Japan's NASA toilets that are standard just about everywhere. ;)

BTW. this thread hits home as my mother passed away May 29, 2014 after 95 years. As your father, my mother was part of the (worldwide) Great Generation.
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Hey Kenny, I'm surprised you didn't post about Japan's NASA toilets that are standard just about everywhere. ;)

BTW. this thread hits home as my mother passed away May 29, 2014 after 95 years. As your father, my mother was part of the (worldwide) Great Generation.

That's just a few days ago. My condolences to you and your family.
Thanks for sharing the visuals and the personal time with your mother and you, condolences to both of you and your extended family
Sorry to hear about your father, but at least there was some good times had in his honor. I'd love to go to Japan some day, maybe once I graduate school. I'll tour the world before going job hunting
That is an amazing thing you did for your Mom and your Father, my condolences.

I LOVE Japan, I was there 2 years ago. Do you speak Japanese? I do a little and a couple of my family members speak, read and write Japanese but I am just on a very basic conversational level.

I can not wait to go back, everyone is so nice there and there are so many interesting things to do.
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Sorry to hear about your father. Good to see you and your mother there for each other. Great pictures and very cool buildings! Those shoes remind me of crocs.