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Monthly Archives: September 2015

September 15 โ€“ September 21 โ€“ First week in Osaka

I have arrived in Japan!

Flight

Wow! What a culture shock. I cannot speak for the rest of the country, but Osaka has very few non-Japanese residents (I’ve literally seen two white people since arriving). AND there is very VERY little English on signs, in stores, in the subway, etc. Be prepared.

I highly recommend taking a screenshot of a subway map with English translations and having the picture on your phone. The subway is highly useful and pretty cheap, but you don’t want to get trapped in a station with no English on the maps.

Subway Map Subway

I am really doing Japan on the cheap, which means hostel living. Most of the folks staying in our hostel are also Japanese (working short-term in Osaka). I have to say at first I was a little worried about the lack of locks / protection of your things, but people here appear to be highly trustworthy. And my hostel has free and unlimited bananas so …. I’m good ๐Ÿ™‚

Bed

After getting setup at a local co-working space, Common Room Nakatsu ….

CCN

… I also signed up for the only Crossfit box in all of Osaka, Crossfit Minami.

Crossfit M

I have also done a fair bit of exploring in two of the major Osaka shopping districts Dotonbori and Shinsaibashi (literally right next to each other). Shinsaibashi appears to go on for the length of the entire prefecture. Okay okay, I am probably exaggerating, but the point is you could spend a full day walking around this indoor / outdoor shopping area.

Shin
Doton.

Look a Sega store! And with traditional Japanese drum guitar hero and very specifically prized crane games:

Sega Corgi
Drums

Of course if you come to Japan wanting to read manga, the opportunities are endless (except you need to know Japanese). Even most restaurants I’ve walked into had thick books of serialized manga on their shelves!

Manga

And what about an Anime themed casino? No problem!

Casino

BUT … of course the best part about Osaka so far has been the food. Osaka actually is known for the best food in Japan. It has exceeded expectation so far. The only hiccup being in most restaurants I am playing a bit of Russian Roulette with the menus since most have no English on / in them and the restaurant staff only speak Japanese.

Menu Dish

PS that dish above was from a restaurant Joel recommended called ใŸใ“็ซน. It was raw seafood on top of noodles on top of the best rice I have ever had + soup + tea. And before you say, “Sydney: ใŸใ“็ซน is not helpful — how am I supposed to find this place?” my advice would be copy-paste and plug into google maps. ใŸใ“็ซน does not have an English name like most restaurants I have seen in Osaka ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

Today is a holiday in Japan, ๆ•ฌ่€ใฎๆ—ฅ Keirล no Hi, which roughly translates to “Respect for the Aged Day.” Basically this weekend is like a Japanese labor day weekend all about celebrating your elders. As my mom says, “that should be an American holiday too!”

Well, back to writing. Tomorrow I visit Kyoto!

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September 9 – September 14 – XOXO fest

Before heading off to Japan I stopped in Portland for XOXO fest an experimental festival / conference celebrating independently produced art and technology.

XOXO

XOXO is figuratively the coolest conference on the planet. The schedule was too jam-packed to list everything, but here were the highlights for me:

      + C. Spike Trotman’s talk about working as an independent webcomic creator (check out

Iron Circus Comics

      )

 

      + Nicky Case’s

Explorable Explanations

      (you’ll probably recognize some of the simulations he has created)

 

      + An introduction to

Baman Piderman

      , the cutest and funniest web series I’ve seen by Lindsey and Alex

 

      +

Feminist Frequency

    episode screening (Anita Sarkeesian finally putting a data-driven, experienced voice to the sexism in the gaming industry a lot of women feel)

Honestly there was so much great stuff here. I am excited to go back and to continue to explore Portland (especially the food).

Benedict Bulgogi

It was also wonderful to see my friend Eli and hang with her throughout the weekend (and Riley too of course!)

Friends

Next stop: Japan!

August 15 – September 8 – Family Time

Well, I took a break from my travels to come back to Orlando for my cousins’ b’nai mitzvah. Aside from the requisite (and quite fun!) family time, I had a fairly productive few weeks in the States.

Checked off:
1) Wrote and submitted all my business school applications (6 schools)
2) Applied and was admitted to Dev Bootcamp (wahoo!!!)
3) Got into (really into) crossfit
4) Checked off all my doctors’ appointments (including more vaccines yay!)
5) Unpacked and repacked a much smaller suitcase for travels

A few pics from my time home:

Luf1 Luf 2
Fam 1 Fam 2
HP1 HP 2
BMitz Keno 1
Keno 2 Keno 3

Next up: XOXO in Portland! Then off to Japan ๐Ÿ™‚