Seth, Nate, and myself at the base of the main sanctum in Ise Grand Shrine
My first set of visitors, comprised of Seth and Nate, arrives on April 21st and stayed until May 1st. Seth is a long-time friend I've known since high school and I met Nate in college via Seth. Both are of the same geek disposition that I am, but (unlike me) actually use it in their jobs.
Seth and Nate got perhaps the most fast-paced of all the tours due to their shorter stay and my limited time off to show them around. Also, they were my first visitors in over two years and so I was quite ambitious in how much of Japan I wanted them to experience -- needless to say I kept them busy during their time here:
- Ise Grand Shrine - outer and inner
- Ise - a bit of the town environs where I used to live
- Shiroko - the high school where I work, including bringing them to a few classes (where Nate met with unexpected disaster)
- Nara - turtle lake, deer-feeding, pagoda at Kofukuji, giant Buddha at Todaiji)
- Osaka - Namba, capsule hotel, Fuse Segaworld, Dotombori, Shinsaibashi, Yodobashi Camera
- Kyoto - Nintendo headquarters, Heian Shrine, Nijo Palace, Kyoto Station
- Iga Ueno - Iga Ninja Festa
- Suzuka - Suzuka Curcuit, Bell City mall, Mandai Shoten (the ultimate used goods shop)
- Tokyo - Yasukuni Shrine, Odaiba island via the Yurikamome train, Sony and Toyota showrooms, Odaiba giant ferris wheel, Shibuya station-front intersection, Harajuku (ultra-crowded due to it being a national holiday), Square-Enix official gift shop, Tokyo Metropolitan Government lookout tower, Imperial Palace, Edo National Museum, and Akihabara
Unfortunately Nate was forced to hobble his way through most of these places because on the second day full day of the trip, while passing out papers in one of my classes, the "guest slippers" betrayed him and with a misstep sent him twisting to the ground, injuring ligaments in his knee in the process. We were able to get some medical pads and a very effective knee brace that made the rest of the trip possible, but as there was lots of walking involved Nate definitely put in an extra degree of effort and energy to make it around everywhere. Particularly the Tokyo experience which, as the above list indicates, was especially full.
It was great having them here and I think they enjoyed their trip and certainly saw a lot for just one week. I was really happy to finally show off Japan to the geek-oriented (post) high school group.