Yes, it’s mid-May and you’re reading April’s month in review – a big whompity whomp on my part. One of my best friends noticed this initial oversight (which admittedly, I’d let progress to “hmm maybe I’ll just combine it with next month’s post…”). Now exposed, I figured I’d better play a little catch up sooner than later. Here’s what we got up to in April!
Our Whereabouts: Japan
- 8 days Zamami, Okinawa
- 7 days Osaka
- 3 days Kyoto
- 5 days Fuji Five Lakes
- 7 days Tokyo
- Professional beach bumming. The stereotype of working from a laptop on the beach is totally false (things like sun glare, sand in your keyboard, lack of outlets etc make this an impractical dream). We did however, ace a nice balance of working indoors in our tatami mat rooms and taking breaks by the beach on Japan’s teeny tiny Zamami Island in Okinawa.
- Picnicking with strangers. A major highlight of April was a birthday I won’t soon forget (though actually, I did forget a lot of it, thanks to abundant sake consumption). Japanese people are typically quite reserved until a hefty dose of beer & sake. Only then you may find yourself beckoned by a group of giggling Japanese and sharing your afternoon with them over food, booze, and a magician show. More on that strangely awesome birthday here!
- Walking down (travel) memory lane. Japan is home to some of our fondest travel memories from our first long-term travel departure 2.5 years ago. Despite having an open itinerary now, we ended up revisiting places we’d already been to the first trip. It’s cheesy, but it was almost a romantic honeymoon of sorts to revisit the beginnings of our current lifestyle. Not to mention, revisiting the many things we found bizarre and comical about this fascinating, beautiful country we’ve fallen so hard for!
- Sakura, sakura! We weren’t sure our timing would align with Japan’s notoriously elusive cherry blossoms, but indeed we managed to catch them throughout the country. I am happy to say, this is definitely a globally hyped phenomenon that is absolutely worth all its hype – see photo evidence below!
Lowlights & Lessons Learnt
- Cheap accommodation bookings can cost you more in transit. Indeed we’re thrifty when it comes to snagging cheap places. But as we dropped money nearly each day on long transit rides in Tokyo, we soon were reminded of the added costs of transportation that come with staying at “cheaper” accommodations further from the city centre. Lesson learnt: crunch the numbers on how often you’ll be using public transit if staying further from downtown!
Awkward Moments & Laughs
- World’s best PSAs. Even though we’ve now explored Japan for nearly 4 months (non-consecutively), I still catch myself taking photos of its hilariously cute, awkward and funny posters and Engrish translations. It’s probably better that I show than try to explain… here’s a few favs from the month (you can’t even begin to fathom how hard it was to narrow these down). But first, a snap of the most epically decorated ride we’ve ever taken:
Next: the abundant hilarious public safety posters. Why be boring and write, “please reserve these seats for elderly and children” when you can illustrate it much more dramatically? I love it, and I want posters like these to replace boring statements EVERYWHERE!
Health & Fitness
- Steps walked: 344,905 or ~ 11,496/day – BAM, we hit the minimum recommended average! Also, breaking news – technology and a little competition can motivate you to be more active. It’s sad, but a little challenge request via the Nike app from a friend was enough to convince me that I must prove my cardiovascular self-worth. Now, did I successfully run the 100km I said I would last month? Time to move on to the next section……
- Food & accommodation: On average we spent $3-$6 CAD per meal on basic, day-to-day eats in Japan (the usual udon, bento, ramen, curries, etc). That being said, it was still a bit of a splurgy month meeting up with friends, celebrating birthdays, and having a few nights on the town. Accommodation was insanely inflated with the sakura season driving up costs (and restricting availability). We spent a wild range of $17-$40/night on accommodation, typically in the $25 average price point.
- Transit: $1.60-$6 CAD was the wild range of what it cost us to hop around Tokyo by transit (keeping in mind, we were 40 mins out of the city).
- Cell phone/Internet: This one is sad, then happy. First, we kept overspending on data plans this month (especially in Okinawa where availability was sparse). At the end of the month though, we had ourselves a free mobile wifi pocket device with our AirBNB accommodation – I can’t wait until those things become mainstream everywhere!
- Miscellaneous: Other than a few postcards home, a splurge on a new waterproof jacket for me, and a shirt for Ted, our biggest splurges were the usual life’s pleasures: food (sushi, ramen, udon, tempura… mmmm), alcohol, and coffee!
I can’t believe it, but May marks our fifth month on the road. It’s also going to be/has been a time of hitting the grind to barrel through a series of projects and start-ups in our current location, Thailand. We’re also looking to finally launch the new site, so stay tuned for that!
If you’d like to be more in the regular photo know-how on our current whereabouts, follow us on Instagram!
Thanks for following along, check back next month to see what we get up to! To explore our prior adventures, see our old months in review here!