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Running it Back

August 4, 2017

Hey those of you who read this every couple of months (you know who you are). Of course, a savvy hero never reveals his exact location - look at what happened to ol’ Ed Snowden - but I’m in the process of crawling back to the 6ix. And then onwards after my lunch with Drake. I have nothing to do so I figure I’ll throw another post on the fire instead of watching youtube for another hour and a half.

Is this not scary??? Youtube video of a guy diving into world’s deepest pool

Anyway, the big news is I got a sweet new job in Japan. Check it out! 1

Thanks to that website for forcing me to make up a company name to download their free trial! That’s boring though, you wanna hear about the stamps, I bet. Well, sadly, I didn’t get all 77 stamps. I got 32ish I think, but I also got a whole lot in Sapporo (not of stations just places I visited). I suppose that’s just another reason to come back to Tokyo someday. No one likes an uncompleted stamp album. Yeah, the main issue with walking and getting all 77 is that there’s a series of 20 stations that look really close together on the map, but are actually spread out over 40 kilometres. To complete that section while only paying one fare, like I did going out the other way past Nakano, you’d just be walking a marathon. So it would have taken 4 days going for 5 stations at a time and I just didn’t have that time. Of course, I was missing other bits too, but realizing how the map snaked me out really drove it home that I wasn’t going to have time to walk around train tracks for a week without stopping. I did enjoy the walks I did, though. You get to see a side of Tokyo that I think of as the glue that holds it all together: where people actually live. What a strange city! It’s like nodes of mini cities everywhere, where the train lines meet, but then in between there are people living in relative quiet.

But not full quiet. I’m not going to miss the constant sirens, everything talking at you, and the people trying to hand out flyers no matter what street you walk on. I understand that this is just a big city thing, not limited to Japan or Tokyo much less, but one thing people hate about Ottawa which I don’t mind is how it shuts down at night. Tokyo just keeps going and you can’t get off the wild ride. Since the year is over, you probably also want some reflections and how I changed into a great enlightened person. Well, I don’t think I changed very much, but I’m sure something did. I like to think I got a little more patient, because everything was more busy and crowded than I thought. Also, learning a new language was pretty frustrating and I had to slow down and try harder to get results.

Hopeful that August will have better weather for Ottawa because I heard it wouldn’t stop raining this year.


Eki Stamp

May 19, 2017

The vacation posts are on hold because [your reason here]

In Japan, people like to collect things more than most countries. Some mostly free collectible “items” are stamps from tourist areas or temples. There are also stamps at some train stations.

These are some from the line I take to get allergy shots:

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I found out this week that every single JR station in Tokyo has a stamp, and there are 77 of them. They look like versions of the stations in the past, for example, the Shinjuku one had a lot of fields in it and there are definitely no fields around there any more.

You can get the JR stamps by just walking around the station and finding the table with the stamp and inkpad. You don’t have to pay to go in because they’re on the street side of the ticket gate. This means that you can’t get on a train and just stop at every station and get the stamps. However, the Toei ones are inside the gates so far and this means you can’t walk between subway stations and get the stamps… I did get one by asking the guy to go through and he let me go past the gate for free to get the stamp and then back out. The Tokyo Metro doesn’t have any stamps except for occasional promotions feels bad man…

The colour is different depending on which line they come from, so these ones are all green because I walked in a two hour loop today and passed three JR stations plus a subway station having a special contest. I’m sure you can guess which is the odd one out:

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I think these are pretty neat. Wonder how long it would take to get all 77 of the JR ones…


Vacation PART 2: Ho Chi Minh and Da Nang

March 24, 2017

Continuing on the adventure, we stayed in Ho Chi Minh a bit longer. I have some pictures from the day we went to the Mekong Delta.

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The delta area had a lot of boats showing tourists around and what you basically do is go from little island to little island on these boats and theres tourist stuff set up on each one. It was interesting but seemed a bit rushed. This picture is of a crocodile enclosure because of course they serve a big juicy meal of crocodile if you want it. Before you ask if I had it, we were on an organized tour (that was really cheap) that had some more boring food included. This croc is jumping cause he is HUNGRY for some meat. You could buy meat and dangle it from a stick and the crocs would jump up and eat it. Waste of money in my opinion, it’s like paying for your meal twice if you choose to eat the crocodile meat…

I didn’t end up taking that many photos on that tour mostly because we were moving around so much, like I said. Another thing is that there were a lot of times when we were close to water and I didn’t want to drop a camera I pretty much just purchased into a body of water in Vietnam… Some people are ruthless with their cameras, man. The other stuff on this tour was a series of people showing you how they made things and then trying to sell them to you, eating some fruit, going on this boat down a little river in one of the islands, and so on. It was really hot. Most of the trip was really hot (there’s a warning when it’s not as hot anymore, probably in post 3).

I instead have more photos from the best part of Vietnam, or at least the part I liked the most, which is the day I went to the Marble Mountains near Da Nang.

Back up! After Ho Chi Minh we flew to Da Nang which is in the middle of Vietnam on the coast. It is the 3rd biggest city but far behind the top 2, only 1 million people. I guess it’s like the Ottawa of Vietnam in a way, except totally not in a lot of other ways. When we got there, we met some guys one of the girls knew from Singapore at a Vietnamese “American” restaurant which was… interesting. So on the second day everyone except me and Jarin wanted to go to a tour all day in Hue which is an ancient town near Da Nang. Instead we went to the Marble Mountains which were just 30 minutes from the hotel we were staying at. It’s basically a bunch of little mountains with caves inside and temples on the top. The whole thing cost like 3 dollars to get into.

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You can see in the above pic one of the many statues in the cave. Since it was in a cave, the lighting was a bit bad. Those of you who open the pictures in new tabs to see the images’ names (no one) will see I named this one “texting” cause it kinda looks like the pose Matt does with his phone. Ha ha. There were a ton of statues in there. Another fun one is these dudes playing some kind of ancient board game:

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Also looks like Matt and I playing some kind of game where mom n dad forgot the rules and decided to sit this one out (again). Here you can see me looking like a tool and how tall the temples and pagodas were on top of the mountains:

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And here you can see some more pictures of the view from up there:

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I think those are pretty good photos at risk of being a Big Boaster TM. I hope they do a good job of portraying why I liked thise place. It also had a lot of stairs, not pictured. People who like leg day should visit for sure.

There was also a great beach right outside our hotel. In Da Nang there seem to be a lot of hotels under construction at this prime location, but not too much traffic yet. So the beach is real long and empty for a beach of this quality. Wow.

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You can kind of see the hotels at the side. The good thing was that having so many meant ours was pretty cheap.

But if you want to hear about beaches, you’ll want to check out the next post, as we travel to Hoi An, a little town outside of Da Nang with beaches and resort kind of stuff. See you next time.