Trip Recovery and Random Photos

Well, our epic trip to Japan is finally over.  You can read parts one through six, here:

Part 1:  Where we’re staying

Part 2:  A mini-trip to Wakayama

Part 3:  Eating affordably in Japan

Part 4:  A trip to Taketori Park.

Part 5: Our mini-trip to Okinawa.

Part 6: Spending in Oska & Japanese savings rates

Our Japan trip was an incredible journey, and we made a ton of great new memories as a family!  That said, it’s really good to be home!

We landed last night, and of course the kiddos still wanted to go out trick-or-treating for Halloween.  I really don’t know where kids get their energy.

(Yes, we really did take them out trick-or-treating)

Mrs. Tako and I are both exhausted from the long journey!  We’re unpacking and recovering from our big trip, and (surprise!) I really haven’t had time to come-up with new content for today’s blog post!

Instead of pulling an all-nighter after returning from Japan, I’m just going fill this spot with an ‘easy post’.  Sorry folks, sometimes the human body has limits, and mine is saying “get some sleep you fool!”

Not every post is going to be Shakespeare!  So, without further adieu I give you…


Random Pictures From Japan

I took over 2 thousand photos from our month in Japan.  It’s always hard to narrow down just the right photos for a blog post, but there were hundreds of worthy pictures.

They say a picture is worth a thousand words… so here’s a few extra photo’s from our Japan trip to fill the void where I don’t feel like typing today.

traveling by train

We loved the ramen in Japan.  It was cheap and delicious.  This huge bowl was like $5.

ramen in japan

Random ramen close-up.

ramen close-up

Good sashimi is cheap and easy to come-by.  Maguro sashimi.


I took hundreds of photos in Okinawa.  Here’s the famous “elephant” rock viewpoint.

elephant rock view

Okinawa was beautiful.  Every picture turned out fantastic.

okinawa rocks grass

Even on rainy days the landscape was stunningly beautiful.

rocky ocean view rain

Okinawa seems to be a forgotten gem in the travel world.  I hope it stays that way.

okinawa ocean view

Shuri castle stairs.  Ancient.  Pretty.

shuri castle stairs

The aquarium was nice.  A touch expensive.

okinawa aquarium

The giant-assed spiders of Okinawa are not so nice.  This monster spider was as big as my hand!

big assed spider

Hermit crabs were everywhere in Okinawa.  Cute little buggers.

okinawa hermit crab

Okinawa fruit drink selection at a local grocery store.  So many unique fruit varieties in Okinawa.

local fruit drinks okinawa

Osaka is a shoppers paradise.  We went into Osaka a couple times.

osaka shopping

The streets can be dizzyingly complicated.  Bring a map or GPS.

osaka random street

Osaka is also food heaven.  Every 15 feet there’s a new restaurant.  Local food creations like this Okonomiyaki are abundant.


Shrine near Shinsaibashi.  The statues are green from moss growing.  The patrons pour water on them, maintaining the green moss.  To my knowledge, they’ve never been cleaned off.

osaka shrine

Cheap eats are easy to find in Osaka.  Osaka Osho was one of our favorites.  The kids really loved the cheap gyoza.

Literally, everything I ate at Osaka Osho was delicious.  This Spicy Ramen cost about $5.  Super yummy.

osho spicy ramen

At some point, after all that wonderful eating you need to unload.  If you need to use a public toilet in Japan skip the nasty squat toilets in train stations.  Instead, go upstairs and use one in the department store.  Spotless clean public toilet.

department store toilet

Complete with washlette.  Thank god for the english labels on all the buttons or I would have been lost on how to use it.

department store toilet english

Then, space aliens attacked.

space ship attack

Did I mention the food was good in Japan? OMG!

prawns for sale

Fresh grilled spiny lobster.  Oh My!  (Not sure what kind of sauce is on it)

spiny lobster sale

Day trip to a free mentaiko factory tour.  We learned how mentaiko (spicy pollock roe) is made.

mentaiko factory

I’ve eaten it many times, but never knew how it was made.  It’s complicated.  Won’t be making it at home.


At one point, I think the kids got a little spoiled by all the good food.  Here’s Tako Jr.’s “What is this slop?” face.  It was a nice $8 set meal for kids which included: shrimp tempura, japanese hambagu, french fries, corn soup, tonkatsu, omelette-rice, and cake.  Spoiled!

what is this slop

The kids loved touching all the plastic food.

touching plastic food

Do I post too many food photos?  Random miso soup photo.  Because I like miso soup.

miso soup

We had a visit from 2 Typhoons on this trip.  I couldn’t take pictures during the storm (too wet), but the aftermath made for nice photos.

after the tyhpoon

Brothers watching the rain runoff after the storm.

brothers watching the storm water

Kobe Harbor.

kobe harbor

Kobe canal, not far from the harbor.  Fancy shopping area right along the canal.

kobe canal

One of our final meals in Japan was a “all you can eat Yakiniku” place.  Basically you grill, drink, and eat meat until you’re stuffed.


I ate my meat quota for the month!  The meat variety was quite good.  The all-you-can-eat included drinks and side dishes like salads, pizza, kimchi, and others.


Oh man did this taste good!  Japanese beef is super-high-quality.


River not far from Nara.  This river actually overflowed its banks during the Typhoon.

river japan

And then finally, you just have to crash after so much fun.  Tako Jr. #2 shows us how it’s done.  He passed out with his hands in his pockets.

passed out pockets

That’s exactly how I feel right now.


Need Some Sleep…

I really need to get some sleep.  In the next couple of days,  I’ll be calculating the total cost for our Japan trip.  I should be able to give you a full cost report in an upcoming post.  Look for it soon!

37 thoughts on “Trip Recovery and Random Photos

  • November 1, 2017 at 2:15 AM

    Welcome back! Those are great pictures. You guys had an awesome trip. Those photos make me want to visit Japan. Really cool.
    Don’t all the high schools have field trips down to Okinawa? They must get super busy at certain time. Maybe you guys went out of season.
    We’re heading off to Cancun today. 😉

    • November 1, 2017 at 2:38 AM

      Yeah, there were high school groups in Okinawa when we visited. Strangely we only saw the kids at the hotel, and even then the hotels kept them in a different part of the hotel.

      Wasn’t really an issue when we visited.

      Enjoy Cancun. Looking forward to photos!

  • November 1, 2017 at 2:58 AM

    What a great trip you had! That’s a lot of photos you took! We’re headed off to Chile for three weeks in December–we won’t be doing as much sight-seeing but I’m going to follow your lead and take lots of pictures! Hope you get some sleep and recover soon! 🙂

  • November 1, 2017 at 3:33 AM

    Well some good photos…we saw the Osaka running man too on that same bridge over the canal…and at a lot of the same foods this summer…the Kobe hotpot is great…yes all the noodles are awesome …beer too… you have some great travel ideas…God Bless, CPO…

  • November 1, 2017 at 5:52 AM

    Welcome back! This might seem like “an easy post” to you, but it took a lot of work and prep to be able to take those gorgeous photos! I loved every single one of them since they’re so beautiful!

    We dressed Baby FAF up as a baby lion and took him to a community Halloween parade yesterday. We didn’t go trick or treating, but we did take lots of photos and sent them to our family. Happy Halloween! ^.^

    • November 1, 2017 at 8:49 AM

      Thanks Ms. FAF! I really took a ton of photos on this trip!

      As always, thank you for your kind words!

  • November 1, 2017 at 6:07 AM

    Oh good grief this is making me miss Asia. The food and the landscape and EVERYTHING look amazing. 🙂 I’m sure you’ll need to recover for a bit after so many shenanigans. Thanks for sharing the food porn! Now I want to tempura everything.

    • November 1, 2017 at 8:51 AM

      haha! Thanks Mrs. PP! I’ve got a ton of stuff to do now that we’re back, so a ‘pictures’ post was the best I could manage. Glad you enjoyed it!

    • November 1, 2017 at 8:51 AM

      Thanks Mrs. AR! I look forward to sleeping properly…soon.

    • November 1, 2017 at 8:52 AM

      And devour we did! I totally need to go on a diet now! November and December… perfect months for a diet!

  • November 1, 2017 at 7:58 AM

    Man I love Japanese food, that’s something I look forward to every time I go to Japan. It’s hard to beat a hot bowl of ramen when it’s 1 AM in the morning and you are starving.

    • November 1, 2017 at 8:53 AM

      No doubt! Almost everything we ate was fantastic! It’s such a fun place to visit!

    • November 1, 2017 at 9:23 AM

      Definitely go in the spring. The cherry blossoms are beautiful, and the weather is quite comfortable.

      Ticket prices can also be cheapest in the spring too!

  • November 1, 2017 at 11:20 AM

    Love all the photos! Looks like an awesome trip! Japan has been added to my list of top places to visit. Thanks for sharing!

    • November 2, 2017 at 10:50 PM

      Thanks Cody! You should definitely visit! Great food, unique culture, tons of stuff to see and do! It’s a great travel destination!

  • November 2, 2017 at 5:10 AM

    Looks great Tako … Kobe harbor front looks quite spectacular when the lights are up at night especially the Tower … they have a great shopping and food court area too ….. we had hotpot there …. the Osaka running man photo from that bridge is great too … I love lots of photos and you have some great ideas too … Japan is a great tour site but you need to research it well to see the good stuff and find the deals … since Japan is so expensive …. Michael CPO

    • November 2, 2017 at 10:50 PM

      Indeed Japan does take a little bit more work to “find the deals”. The biggest expense is usually lodging for a long stay, but if you stay away from Tokyo, Japan can be pretty affordable.

  • November 2, 2017 at 7:03 AM

    Great photos. We need to visit Okinawa and never would have thought of that without your report.

    How was your slumber during the month? Will we get a sleep report?


    • November 2, 2017 at 10:48 PM

      I slept like a log despite sleeping on the floor. Mrs. Tako said I snored A LOT.

      • November 3, 2017 at 12:45 AM

        Every. Single. Night. Even Tako Jr. #2 woke up and shouted “Daddy!! Noisy!”

  • November 2, 2017 at 6:29 PM

    Welcome back! Thanks for sharing all the wonderful photos! Food is primarily the reason I want to go to Japan soon and you’ve done an excellent job of reminding me there are so MANY things to try 🙂 I’m extra impressed that you managed it with TWO kids. We often wonder how to stay sane trying to travel with just one energetic kid and all the luggage they create. I’m really looking forward to seeing your costs post, and I hope you might have time to cover your choices for lodgings!
    Revanche @ A Gai Shan Life recently posted…FinCon17 recap

  • November 2, 2017 at 10:06 PM

    That food looks amazing sashimi and ramen awesome! We were looking at going to Japan, it is not cheap!

    • November 2, 2017 at 10:24 PM

      Flights to Japan can definitely be expensive. We used a little travel hacking to lower our costs, but flights still weren’t what I consider “cheap”.

      Look for good deals on flights that happen in early spring (march/april). There are also a couple locations in North America that have cheaper flights to Japan than anywhere else — LAX and YVR. I’ve seen deals as low as $438.

    • November 3, 2017 at 2:58 PM

      Hi Miss Mazuma! I’m working on the cost-report right now! Coming soon!

  • November 3, 2017 at 4:36 PM

    “We loved the ramen in Japan. It was cheap and delicious. This huge bowl was like $5.”

    That’s how we felt about Japan too! Amazing pictures. Excited to see your cost breakdown!

    • November 6, 2017 at 12:52 AM

      I was amazed how cheap the food was! We spent tons on food, but that’s only because we ate everything delicious in site!

      We spent less per day than you guys did in the Kansai area, but we cheated by staying at a relative’s house. If we tack on the cost of a AirBnB apartment, it would be a close match for your daily costs!

      Thanks for reading (as always)! 😉

  • November 5, 2017 at 9:57 PM

    Man, I’m reading this at 10pm and these food pictures make me so hungry but I can’t leave the home or order any sushi because it’s 10pm and baby is sleeping! I will just have to go to bed hungry or drink some tea 🙁

    Thanks for sharing all these amazing pictures! That huge spider is really scary, especially if you say it’s the size of your hand. That makes me not want to visit Okinawa as much anymore.

    That ramen egg looked so perfect and that cha is in the ramen looked so perfect too- and for $5, what a steal!
    GYM recently posted…PF Blog Round Up: October 2017 Dividends Edition

    • November 6, 2017 at 12:12 AM

      Hi GYM! Thanks for reading (as always!) Glad you liked all the photos! Japan is a really amazing place to take pictures!

  • November 6, 2017 at 6:49 AM

    Awesome pics and adventure there.

    How did you guys travel from okinawa to osaka? Did you guys take the bullet train with the kids?

    • November 6, 2017 at 8:05 AM

      The only way to get to Okinawa to Osaka is by air. A cheap flight was included in our travel package. In most situations, it’s cheaper to fly on one of Japan’s discount airlines. The bullet train is expensive, but offers more leg-room.

  • November 7, 2017 at 10:22 AM

    Nice pics. I’ve been to Japan a couple times and I really miss the food and cool department stores. I’ll have to take my kids there one of these years.


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