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japan travel

{travel} shieh sibs in tokyo: umegaoka sushi and incheon airport

January 28, 2017

I was really, really sad during our last day in Japan. Actually, sad doesn’t even begin to describe it. I was devastated! I was going to miss the clean environment, fresh sushi, fantastic service (that required no tips!), and of course, the warm toilet seats. Oh, how I miss the warm toilet seats… especially now that it’s dipping into the 30s in California. This morning, Steph and I had to wait patiently for the ice to melt off of the car’s windshield. Brr…

Good bye, our cute little airbnb in Yoyogi!

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japan travel

{travel} shieh sibs in tokyo: sensoji temple, sometaro, and happy hour

January 24, 2017

After we filled up our bellies with delicious sushi and then filled it up even more with hot ramen, we headed over to Sensoji Temple. If you followed along with my Japan adventures last year, you’d remember that I went to draw my omikuji (aka “fortune”) twice, and I pulled bad luck fortunes… both times. I really wanted to go back this year to try my luck again! There’s no way I could pull yet another bad luck fortune right?

When we got off the train, we walked through Nakamise Dori, which was packed with tons of people looking at souvenirs and buying Japanese snacks to eat.

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japan travel

{travel} shieh sibs in tokyo: tsurutontan, sushi zanmai, and tsukiji fish market

January 21, 2017

Being in a new country means trying new things, right? After we finished shopping in the electronics district, we wandered around Shinjuku, which is Tokyo’s most bustling Japanese business and entertainment district. We passed by some cute little restaurants that have huge posters outside showcasing what they serve inside. Besides fish sashimi, we saw pictures of other kinds of sashimi, and Clay proclaimed we should try horse and whale sashimi. He’s heard about it from his friends who were visiting Japan too, so we figured why not? (Neil was pretty grossed out, but we convinced him to just try it out.)

Since we already had a dinner place picked out, we only wanted to dip into a restaurant and try the sashimi real quick. Turns out, a lot of the shops require a cover just to dine there. We decided we would just keep looking!

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japan travel

{travel} shieh sibs in tokyo: genki sushi, ramen street, and imperial palace

January 17, 2017

After an amazing trip to Japan and Taiwan last year with Steph, we were toying around with the idea of going again for the holidays. But this time, we’d bring our brothers! Not only did our family in Taiwan want to see our brothers (the last time they were back in the motherland was 5-6 years ago), we thought it would be fun for Clay and Neil to go on a little international vacation with us. We started brainstorming places we could go, and we thought Hong Kong would be a great place to check out before Taiwan.

The perfect opportunity actually came up when Steph’s friend Allen told her he was going to have his wedding reception in Shanghai. Going to a wedding that requires international travel? Sign me up! I started looking up flights to Shanghai/Hong Kong/Taiwan, and we waited and waited. By the time they finalized the details of the wedding, we had already went with our back up plan of going to Japan/Hong Kong/Taiwan. If you know me… I get really anxious waiting around. When the total for our flights to the three countries was $1,500 (for the holidays, which isn’t too terrible in my opinion), I wanted to buy before they went up. To be fair, we did wait a couple of weeks before we pulled the trigger, and I’m glad we purchased when we did because the flights only increased after August. By September and October, the cheapest flights were $2,250 – $2,500, and the times weren’t ideal.

When it comes to transportation and lodging, Steph and I usually try to find the best deals so we can splurge when we’re actually vacationing. This year, we looked a little harder because we offered to pay for Clay and Neil’s flights. Poor college students and the such. Do we win the best sisters of the year award? After the flights were purchased, I went straight into my travel planner mode. I booked all the airbnbs, ordered all of the pocket Wi-Fi’s, and created a fourteen day itinerary. Some people may hate all this, but I thrive on it! I get such a high doing researching on new places and putting little bits and pieces together. 🙂

With my new job, weeks and months flew by. In a blink of an eye, the holidays were upon us, and a week later, we were at San Francisco International Airport and on the way to Japan! Although the four of us have traveled together, we’ve never traveled internationally before. I can’t say it was perfect, cause it wasn’t, but it was definitely a learning experience. Even for four siblings that get along great and are as close as we are, spending time with each other 24/7 for two weeks can be tough at times. Steph and I have similar travel styles, while Clay and Neil have similar travel styles. Steph and I love waking up early, going home late, and packing in as many sightseeing places and restaurants in our day as we can. Like most guys, Clay and Neil like to chill more, so my itinerary definitely tired them out in Japan and Hong Kong. Thank goodness Taiwan was the second half of the trip because everyone was enjoying everything in Taiwan. Nothing like being back, right? 🙂

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japan travel

{travel} wombmates in tokyo: spa laqua and sometaro

January 22, 2016

“Go to an onsen” was one of the things people said was a must do in Japan. True to the Asian stereotype, Steph and I never get pampered. Facials? Nope. Massages? Just once. Relaxing at a spa? Definitely not.

After reading about some of the best onsens, I realized many of them were a little outside of Tokyo. Although I really wanted to get that experience of chillin’ in a hot tub made of rocks with trees surrounding us and snow falling gently, I wasn’t a big fan of getting on a long bus ride just for that. (And there was no snow.) We’re both pretty low maintenance, so I figured a regular spa was fine. Spa LaQua was more than just a regular spa!

2015-12-26 10.29.06There are two types of bathhouses in Japan. Onsen are filled with natural volcanic spring water that is known to have rich and healing mineral content. Sento use heated tap water and add minerals and infusions. Most bathhouses offer more than just a heated bath – they have a sauna, bedrock sauna, outdoor spring, electric baths, and of course, massages.

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