Well by now poor Matt should be safely home and relaxing. He had quite the whirlwind trip, and got a lot done. He saw about as much of Japan as could be expected in a week and a half.
Three of Japan's 4 most populous cities. (Tokyo, Osaka, Nagoya.) Missing only Yokohama! He also got a whirlwind tour of Kyoto, and of course Kanazawa.
A ride on the double decker MAX Shinkansen. Because little in life is cooler than a two story train traveling in excess of 200 kilometers an hour... with a mini convinience store inside!
Eating a full traditional meal, as well as Okonomiyaki, Conveyer belt sushi, MOS Burger, Mr. Donut, and other tasty treats that have to be tracked down while in Japan. Unfortunatly he didn't get any Kobe beef. (next time gadget, next time)
He experienced (a lot of) Karaoke, and got to see Gardens, Temples, Shrines, Castles, Museums of Anime and Parasites, crazy fashions, huge department stores and more! He even got to sample a wee bit o' the communal bathing. (It is interesting to note I recall him saying there was no way I could get him either to Karaokoe or an Onsen, and I got him to both. He denies his denial.)
Of course there are disappointments. There was a lot of rain, and some snow. But then, I think any trip to Kanazawa is going to include more than its fair share of precipitation. Tokyo was warmer, but waaaaay windy. Wow. It felt like climbing a 14er!
Well there you go, the post-mortem. I'm glad he came, as I know I had a great time.It was interesting, the chance to see my own experience reflected back to me. My perceptions have changes A LOT in 6 months, but I hadn't really noticed it happening. But as we wandered Nagoya and Matt kept reacting to things that were strange and/or vastly different from Denver, they were all things that I had gotten used to months ago and saw as completly normal. Well maybe not completly normal...
I would also say that seeing Japan reflected through new eyes brought back a bit of the wonder to me. I freely admit that the last couple of months have been very difficult, and I had lost the sense of adventure and fun I had when I first arrived. The shrinks have names for all the phases of culture shock, but I don't care about that. I care about how I feel, and I was feeling pretty down! But now I feel better, more energized, more ready to get out and about again. I also feel a bit lighter in the wallet!