Snow monkeys & nude dudes

Nude dudes, really ? Yep, keep reading ... The day is packed with plans as we head out early from the… [more]

Snow monkeys & nude dudes Snow monkeys & nude dudes

A dose of Mother Nature

Now that the title got your attention, I thought I would take a few minutes and fill you in on the past… [more]

A dose of Mother Nature A dose of Mother Nature

Back to Japan …

30 straight hours of travel; consisting of 2 car rides, 2 plane rides, and 2 train rides and I finally… [more]

Back to Japan … Back to Japan …

A Mucking Good Time !

It seems impossible that it has been nearly a year since my last update on this site. I guess I use Facebook… [more]

A Mucking Good Time ! A Mucking Good Time !

Joys of home brewing

After watching a few episodes of a new TV program called "Brewmasters", my passion for home brewing has… [more]

Joys of home brewing Joys of home brewing

Travelling Around Ireland !

I recently returned home from one heck of a 10 day trip to the Emerald Isle ! The "reason" for the trip… [more]

Travelling Around Ireland ! Travelling Around Ireland !

Finishing Strong …

I did not get a chance to update you with a new post because the last couple days have been a blur. I… [more]

Finishing Strong … Finishing Strong …

Fish Market & More …

Today was another early start ! Now, everyone who knows me, knows I love to go to markets, but this one… [more]

Fish Market & More … Fish Market & More …

2 Years Later !

They say that hindsight is always 20-20 ... and I would be inclined to agree ! It was 2 years ago this… [more]

2 Years Later ! 2 Years Later !

Last Couple Days …

Posted on : 04-05-2010 | By : Nathan | In : Travelogue


Before we made our way to Tokyo, we wanted to spend the morning at one final national monument. It is called the Fushimi Inari Shrine
. It consisted of thousands of “Torii” going all the way up an entire mountain and back down. I added some images of them to the gallery so check them out.

We made it into Tokyo after taking the bullet-train from Kyoto at around 3pm. We then checked into our new hotel, which is actually run for the military, right in the center of Tokyo. the hotel is super plush and is only 1 subway stop away from the Rappongi district. After unpacking and taking a refreshing swim, we ventured out to meet some of Derek’s friends.

I was starving, so we arranged to go to the “Ninja Restaurant“. It is a themed restaurant that included our very own Ninja training, private dining hall, and magic show. We had a blast and I highly recommend this to anyone traveling in Tokyo or New York (they just built one there). After dinner, we headed to sing Karaoke at one of the many karaoke bars, then finished things up at a 70′s Disco bar called “Sonic Boogie”.

Next Day:

I have always wanted to visit the Sony Building in the Ginza district, so I can finally mark that off of the list. It was awesome, as I got to see loads of things the US likely wont have for a couple years. We also made it to Shibuya Crossing, which is famous for being the world’s busiest intersection. As part of the traffic cycle, traffic stops in all directions to allow people to cross in one of 5 directions. Really cool …

We made it to the Tokyo National Gardens after 1.5 hours of searching. However, it had closed about 30 minutes prior to our arrival. Bummer … back onto the subway and looking for some dinner. I finally got some sushi ! Now, time to get some rest …

unordinary: Check out the Wiener Dog … Read the description at the top for a good laugh.

Kyoto National Museum & More

Posted on : 02-05-2010 | By : Nathan | In : Travelogue


Today we ventured into the realm of National Monuments & Museums. We started the day off early at around 6am, but nothing was open except Mcdonald’s @ the Kyoto Train Station. After some breakfast and some quick research, we made our way to one of the most famous national monuments in Japan.

The name of the monument is: Sanjūsangen-dō and let me tell you, this place is completely amazing ! The main draw to this 800 year old templs is the 1000 statues that it houses of the “Thousand Armed Kannon” deity. I was not able to take any pictures while on the tour, so you will have to check the web for more info. The main hall which houses the 1000 statues, and the main shrine in the center, is gigantic. It easily covers  a city block in length. The exterior gardens are amazing as well. There was no line, a modest entry fee, and it was easily worth the travel out to see it !

Directly across the road is the Kyoto National Museum. The building looks a little out of place when you compare it to what sits across the street, as it is a one hundred year old French building. It houses numerous art works from centuries past, consisting of scrolls, pottery, calligraphy, and other fine arts related to the Kyoto Prefecture. The line to get in was extensive, but very well organized. Women do not like to be out in the sun here, so everyone had umbrellas to keep from getting exposed during the hour-long wait. This exhibit was interesting, though not one of my favorite thus far.

We had definitely worked up an appetite, so we headed down the road to eat at Coco Ichibanya once again. This place’s food is AWESOME, and I would highly recommend Japanese curry to anyone traveling here. Once lunch wrapped up, we rambled around the streets for a few more hours and stumbled on to several other temples and historic treasures.

unordinary: Check out this beverage can. I bought it to try just because of the marketing they put into the design. It was called “Fanta Cider Zero”. In truth, it looks way better then it tastes, which is more like metallic red cream soda.

Thanks for reading, and be sure to leave comments. I am heading to bed ! (since it is 3:51 am here)

A day of temples!

Posted on : 01-05-2010 | By : Nathan | In : Travelogue


Today was spent making our way around the city looking for 2 famous temples. We decided to try our hand at the subway system here in Kyoto. Thanks to a couple of Brits, we were able to figure out how to purchase the correct tickets, but figuring out the rest was up to us. I would classify the public transport mission as a success, as we were able to get to where we wanted without even getting on the wrong train.

The 1st temple we visited was: Kiyomizu Temple. All I can say about this is WOW ! I have never seen anything quite like it. The entire walk up to the temple was through a narrow street, likely unchanged for centuries, where merchants were selling their wares. This is “Golden Week” here in Japan, so the temple was extremely busy. Entry was free, and the tour was self-paced throughout the entire temple complex. There were numerous buildings, prayer areas, bells, gongs, and shrines. It is placed high up in the mountains and offers picturesque views of Kyoto from high. We were even lucky enough to see a Geisha who was making here way up for prayer. This is by far my favorite experience since landing in this beautiful country.

After a couple hours venturing back through the public transport system, we finally made our way to: Nishi-Honganji Temple. Unlike the mountainous position of the previous temple, this temple was located right in the heart of Kyoto. The entire compound was several city blocks in size and offered a peek into hundreds of years worth of history.  There were lanterns over 20 feet tall/wide, and compound doors over 8 inches thick. Beautifully decorated in gold, and sprawling for acres, this temple was more then impressive. Highly recommended for anyone visiting this city !

After touring the entire grounds, it was time for a well deserved nap ! Not much else to report, as the nap turned into a full on sleep. Plans for the day include museums, tasty local cuisine, and whatever else we get ourselves into.

unordinary: Check out the beer vending machine … for only about $3.00, you can partake while on a walk around the city.

Thanks for reading my travel log !

Imperial Palace & Kyoto Castle

Posted on : 01-05-2010 | By : Nathan | In : Travelogue


Yesterday we got a really early start (because our sleep schedule was up-side-down). The days plan was to check out the Imperial Palace and the Kyoto Castle. These 2 places were really easy to find, as they are surrounded by gigantic parks. I added some good pics to the gallery of the parks and structures for you to check out. We spent most of the day walking through the various displays, and reading what little English we could find regarding the descriptions.

On our way back to the hotel for a power-nap, we stopped into a thai-indonesian restaurant and had some lunch. I tried sum-tum for the 1st time, and it was really freakin good. The place only sat a total of 10 people, so I guess you could call it “crowded” since there were 5 total people eating.

After to the power nap, we ventured out for the evening. We found an Irish pub called “the Gail”, which was gaijin friendly. After a $10.00 beer, we headed to get some dinner at the famous Coco Ichibanya. They are famous for their japanese curry, and are open 24/7. Wow, it lived up to it’s reputation … We went with a spice level of 3 (out of 9) and it about lit me on fire. I have to say, it looks like crap, but tastes AWESOME !

It was about 2 am after dinner, and neither of us were tired, so we headed out to find another bar that allowed foreigners. Taking the bartender’s advice from the Gail, we headed over to  a club called Sam & Dave’s. With a name like that, we had to be allowed in ;)   The cover charge was ridiculous, but the beer prices were pretty low. We stayed there hanging out and BSing for the rest of the night. There was a couple live DJ’s and decent music. We even heard “it’s time for the perculator”, so you know it was good! It was definitely a good time and the people watching alone was well worth the price of admission.

After 3 hours sleep, we are back up and going on the hunt for some temples. We are also going to try out hand at the subway today… Well, I will check in later. Thanks for reading.

unordinary: Be sure to check out the picture of me in the gallery eating fried octopus balls sold out of the back of a mini-van. It is classic !