Our day trip to Nagoya started off a little rocky due to poor planning, but in the end, we were more happy about being with each other than not being able to see everything we had planned to see. We wanted to wake up early, which is impossible to do when we’re together, because we love sleeping in. So, our day started off in the late morning. Our first stop was at Atsuta Shrine and right away, Mark was super excited about being in Japan. From the trains to the street food, he was ready to dive into everything.
He was able to cross off eating takoyaki off his Japan bucket list. Mark needs to try the takoyaki in Osaka though before he can officially cross it off his list. We headed to the shrine where we were greeted with the longest, most crowded line I’ve ever seen.
I’m not sure why I thought this, but I thought that people visited shrines to pray for the New Year only on January 1st. I don’t know why it didn’t occur to me that five days later, people will still be going to pray. Hence, the super long, crowded line. (We would also find out, at Fushimi-Inari shrine, that three weeks after the new year, shrines are still super crowded). We decided to ditch seeing the shrine and eating Nagoya’s specialty udon (nooooo!!!) and head to the aquarium. I’m sure we’ll make it back there sometime in the near future. We did get to see this weird looking tree, root, art thing:
Mark was like a little kid at the aquarium. He was so amazed and excited to see all the fish and mammals they had there. This was his second time to visit an aquarium and I’m so happy that he enjoyed it.
After the aquarium, we decided to walk around the Sakae area and find a place to eat. I love Sakae. I love the atmosphere; it’s lively, but not too crowded, and not to mention a ton of shopping!
This was only the beginning of our new year travels together and the beginning of our food adventure spree. Looking back on these pictures makes me so happy to relive the memories I made with Mark and makes me so excited to be able to make more memories once he moves here. Stay tuned for more of our winter break travels!
Did I ever mention how much I love curry and ramen? Well, they’re pretty much among the greatest foods ever and what Mark and I ate for most of our time together. This wasn’t all from the Kansai region, but naming this “What We Ate in Kyoto + Nagoya + Wherever Else” seemed a little long. When Mark was here for vacation, eating was a very popular activity we did. I think we’re going to become that kind of travel couple; the one who tries to eat all the amazing things first then go out and explore. This wasn’t nearly half the things we ate, but you can definitely see what kind of food we love. Some of my favorite food that isn’t pictured here is Nepalese curry with cheese naan and yakiniku. I need to stop talking about this, because I’m going to crave it… Ah!
Enjoy eating with your eyes!
What are some of your favorite Japanese food?
Mark and I have been in a long distance relationship since the end of July, when I left for Japan. On January 1st, I got to bring in the New Year by reuniting with him! It was seriously the best way to start the new year. I’ve been waiting for a dramatic airport reunion for a long time now. You know the one where we run across the airport into each others’ arms, crying tears of joy? Okay, that didn’t happen, but it was good enough. I was standing at the domestic arrivals exit at Central International Airport, teary-eyed, my heart pounding. Mark ended up being one of the last people from his flight to leave the baggage terminal. Slow poke. He finally walked through the doors and I finally got to see him. Mark was actually here, in Japan. HERE IN JAPAN. RIGHT IN FRONT OF ME. We were actually hugging each other and talking to each other rather than separated by a computer screen and the Pacific Ocean.
This is Mark’s first trip abroad (well if we want to get technical, it’s not, but I’ll leave that to Mark to explain during his Japan posts). He was beyond excited to be able to leave California and venture out into foreign lands, literally. Before he left, he was so excited and nervous about coming here. Between talking about how his plane was going to crash and how he wanted to eat everything, we were just super excited to see each other again.
Being able to guide Mark around my area in Japan has made me so happy, especially seeing how much fun he is having. It’s so funny and cute to see Mark trying to speak Japanese to everyone. It’s weird that I’ve become the one who has to do the talking and I’m not even that much better at speaking Japanese. Since he got here, we’ve pretty much eaten everything in my city in the past week. I’m still feeling the bloaty affects of his food spree. It’s not over yet. We’re going to Kyoto this weekend, where in between the walking and the sightseeing, we’ll be trying every delicious thing we can stuff ourselves with (so excited for okonomiyaki and this hipster tofu restaurant!).
The first thing Mark ate was ramen. Can we just mention how much we love ramen? WE LOVE RAMEN! If we could eat it everyday, we would. We came pretty close as we ate ramen for lunch for the next three days. Am I complaining? Never! It was so delicious! Okay, I’m complaining a little now that I’m basically a blob of bloaty. I think Mark had an even better time, finally having the chance to eat ramen from Japan. Look at this happy boy:
Besides eating, we had a failed adventure to see Atsuta Shrine in Nagoya. Even though it was January 3rd, there were sooooooo many people there to pray for the New Year. I knew that everyone goes to pray at a shrine, but it didn’t occur to me that the whole world would still be there two days after. We didn’t want to fight the crowds so we ate some street food and went to visit the Nagoya Port Aquarium instead. This was Mark’s first time seeing animals other than fish, and boy, he was excited.
After five months of not physically being with each other, I feel like our relationship has grown stronger through the trials we’ve had to face while being apart. With our goals as individuals and as a couple in mind, we cheered each other on as we made it through the distance. I think we’re more refreshed as a couple and our spark has been ignited again. I love that I can have fun with him even when we’re just lounging around at home. I’m so excited for when Mark moves here in April, because of all the fun and wonderful adventures we’ll have together. This is only the beginning of our travel adventures.