Thursday, August 26, 2010

Honeymoon Essentials - Part 2

While it's my personal belief that everyone needs a travel tripod, the next two honeymoon "must-haves" are a little more specific, depending on what type of post-wedding trip you take.

For honeymoons involving walking, hiking, or any other sort of strenuous pedestrian activity - you're going to want good, reliable shoes.

My impression from Japan is that everyone has cute shoes. Cute sandals, cute heels, cute boots - you name it. Well, except for the rampant Croc fascination. I don't know much about fashion, but the rubbery fashion statement really confuses me.

Anyway, I brought a pair of cute sandals with me, hoping to blend in with the locals. Did I wear them? Zen Zen! (Not at all.) Instead, I spent the entire duration of our trip in these "beauties":

Yes, old brown Rainbows so worn in there's a permanent shadow where my foot belongs. But they were comfortable - six years of tried and true comfortable. No blisters, no foot pain other than the dull ache of walking way-too-much - that equals no problem. Sure, they aren't cute and trendy, but they certainly allowed me to trek around happily. And Japan requires a lot of walking. Walking to train stations, walking to temples, up mountains to castles, walking in the middle of some seedy pachinko alley because someone didn't read the map correctly...

Just to give some perspective - on a typical work day I walk about 7,000 steps. Our longest walking day (according to my Pokewalker) in Japan was about 35,000 steps. A lot of walking.

So bring your most comfortable shoes, regardless of how they look! Your feet will thank you.

And finally - advice for those planning on international honeymoons: bring familiar medicine.

I really should have known better, especially after discussing how Sak gets sick anytime he travels. Luckily he staved off the illnesses until after the wedding, and I consider it a relatively good thing that he only had two vomit incidents in Japan. Better than everyday, right?

I came to Japan with a massive Hawaiian sunburn and a blister on my foot from a cute, non-Rainbow sandal. Nearing the end of our first honeymoon week, Sak developed a massive cold sore under his bottom two front teeth. He also made friends with a snot-infection and a cough. A little bit of dizziness, too - but that could have been from dehydration and severe heat. Now maybe it was my foreign blood, but mosquitoes decided they loved me, and I had more than ten bug bites on each leg before the end of the trip. It probably didn't help that we spent a lot of time around standing water in moats/ponds near castles and temples.
My leg, after just one day in Japan:

So, what did I have on me to remedy any of the above ailments?
One small bottle of Advil. That's it.

Screw an out-of-town bag - we needed an out-of-country bag.

Several convenience and drug stores later, we ended up with the following:
Yeah, other than the band-aids, I have no idea what we actually bought either. The "aloe vera" was the consistency of water (but it smelled like aloe vera, so I guess it was okay). The "cold sore medicine" (small tube) we bought because it had a drawing of a guy with a red bump inside his mouth. And the "bug bite medicine", had a drawing of a mosquito on it. I'm thinking maybe it was repellent, because it certainly didn't make the itchy go away.

Later we bought this, thinking they might be sore throat lozenges since Sak read the word "nodo" (throat) on it:
But maybe it was just candy, because it didn't do much for Sak's cough.
Poor Sak.

My point is - if you can't really read the language, and you can't really ask for help, and you don't have international health insurance and an English speaking doctor - bring your familiar medicine with you. I think Sak would have been better a lot sooner had we some good 'ole cold & cough syrup.

So in summary, reliable shoes and reliable medicine - go! Add it to the honeymoon pack list!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Honeymoon Essentials - Part 1

While I still have absolutely no idea how I'm going to summarize our trip to Japan in just a few posts (for the 'bee a-listers here get every.single.detail. sorry!) - I do have a very clear understanding of what was and was not necessary on the honeymoon. Jackets, for instance, were definitely a waste of precious luggage space - given temperatures were practically always in the humid 90's - 100's. I feel sticky just thinking about it.

Anyway, we found that if there's one absolutely-must-have item for any honeymoon, minimoon, or whatevermoon - it would be this:
The travel tripod.

If my mother hadn't bought us this handy little device, all of our pictures would have looked like this:
If you notice on the left, our big fat heads are covering the big gold shrine we're supposedly trying to take a picture in front of!

Or they might all look like this:
Yes, Sak went on vacation by himself. Wifu? What wifu?

Luckily though, with the tripod and the ten-second timer on our camera, we were able to get a little less face, a little more scenery, and a little more coupley-ness.

I know you could always just ask someone else to take your picture for you ("Sumimasennnn - cheeesuuu?"), but there might be places you'll go where there's no one around:

Or you might be doing something strange or embarrassing that you don't want anyone else to see:

Of course, someone might always ruin your shot since the tripod is so little:

So make sure you throw up the peace/victory sign to let everyone around you know that you're taking a picture!
Convinced yet? Definitely add a travel tripod to your pack list. It takes up much less room than completely useless jackets!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Sew in Love

Aloha! Shiny-new-husband Sak and I have finally returned from the only vacation we can afford to have for the next couple years, ha! Or rephrased, we are happily married and back from an unforgettable honeymoon!

Although I'm still battling the brutal fog of international time travel, there's a stack of pending thank you cards calling my name, and an enticing Google Reader with more than a thousand unread articles - I wanted to pop in and say thank you for all your kind words in my last post. Sak and I really enjoyed reading them together.

Unfortunately I don't actually remember everything from the wedding since it was such a blur. Hopefully as we go through recaps together I'll remember! I know I married Sak. That was the important part. And I was smiling all night, crooked teeth and all! And even though my dress ended up really muddy, it didn't fall apart! Victory is ours!

Married life is still so surreal though. Have I really been gone a month? It feels like time really did fly out the window. Sak still fiddles with the foreign piece of metal around his finger, unused to the feel of a ring. I still giggle when I call him husband. We are still learning not to fight over a shared blanket. We still smile the same, sappy smile of newlyweds - like two people that know a great secret that the rest of the world does not. It takes more than a month to get used to the change, it seems.

But enough reflection! I'm off to sort through 25 gigs worth of Japan pictures. And while we wait for the wedding pictures to roll in, here's a sampling of great shots from the ever-talented Barbara of Terra Photography. She kindly had a nice patch of teasers ready and waiting for us upon our return - such a great "welcome home" surprise!

Now, tell me - what's the quickest way to get over jet lag? I feel like a zombie!