Monthly Archives: December 2013

How to Not Be an Obvious Gringo in Brazil

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Don’t be misled by the title — I’m actually still very much in Japan. In fact, I feel like I’m the only one I know who’s not going to Brazil anytime soon! Edu is set to travel back home early next year for a family event, and I recently found out that two friends are planning separate trips to visit Brazil for the first time this month.

Everyone is traveling to Brazil without me! (; ̄д ̄)

Anyway, one of the aforementioned friends asked me if I had any tips for her first trip. As a fellow gringa, my most valuable advice is essentially to try not to look like one.

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Kōyō in Kyōto

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Kōyō (紅葉)

Kōyō (紅葉) refers to the colourful leaves that dominate the landscape in the autumn. Kōyō viewing is a very popular fall activity throughout Japan. With this in mind, we timed our trip to Kyoto specifically to catch the kōyō season, and ended up with more pictures of trees and leaves than I normally take when traveling (and that’s saying something, considering how many tree pictures I usually take).

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Nishiki Ichiba (錦市場 ), Kyoto

Nishiki Market (錦市場), Kyoto, Japan

Nishiki Market (錦市場), Kyoto, Japan

Markets are among my favourite places to visit in any city. They are wonderful place to try new and interesting food, mingle with the locals, and immerse yourself in the culture. With only three days in the Kyoto, we budgeted out an entire day in our itinerary solely devoted to exploring Nishiki Ichiba (錦市場 Nishiki Market).

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Ambling through Arashiyama

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Our second day in Kyoto, we headed over to Arashiyama (嵐山) on the other side of town. This day was much less planned than our previous day in Kyoto, believe it or not. In a similar vein, our plan was to get off at Saga-Arashiyama Station and wing it from there.

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A Day in Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto

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I suppose one of the reasons why I haven’t been blogging as much as I originally intended is because life in Tokyo is really starting to feel normal. Although I was wide-eyed and easily amazed by everything around me when I first landed in the city, now the vending machines, the lights, the clean streets, the arcades, even the Engrish t-shirts are all remarkably ordinary.

And so after four months in Tokyo, it was super refreshing to be able to slip back into tourist mode for a few days for a weekend getaway in Kyoto. Once the capital of Japan for over 1000 years, Kyoto has a rich cultural history and I was very eager to get a chance to explore another part of the country.

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