After our Miyajima excursion (almost a year ago…yeesh!) we headed back to our base in Kyoto and decided to hop a train to head to the fabled Bamboo Forest of Arashiyama.

Arashiyama Forest

One of Adam’s favorite photographers captured some beautiful scenes here and Adam was eager to try his own hand at capturing the beauty of a path lined with fully grown bamboo. We were anticipating a long and lonely walk along miles of pathway…

What we got was a fairly short walk that became increasingly crowded as the day wore on.

Bamboo Forrest

Don’t worry, the end is near.

But it sure was gorgeous. Much like the Inari Shrine – get here early to enjoy some solitude before the masses arrive!

Considering that it took less than half the time to fully explore the bamboo lined walkway we decided to head over to the Iwatayama Monkey Park where Japanese macaque monkeys have free range. Along the way we jostled with hundreds of school kids to snag a spot at a ramen joint (cue lots of pointing and giggling).

To get to the Monkey Park there is a considerably long and steep hike. Along the way you pass many signs warning of the dangers of looking a monkey in the eye. You are warned to not feed the monkeys outside. You are reminded to not touch the monkeys. You are informed that the monkeys could be anywhere…it honestly started to feel a bit horroresque.

Signs

Photo Cred: Flickr

The monkeys are everywhere! You may not see them but they see YOU (preferably through their heart shaped eyes). Honestly, these cute signs are too much! The whole kawaii (‘cute’) craze in Japan infiltrates everything!

Still, I began to worry about how I was supposed to look at a monkey without looking at a monkey. These signs make them look so…approachable (especially without their boxing gloves).

Once we made our way to the top I spy my first few monkeys lounging around on the dirt stairs. Of course I plop down – a safe distance away – and ask Adam to snap a photo.

Monkey Mob

What NOT to do. Apparently.

Apparently you’re not supposed to do that because one of the researchers who work at the top ran outside to give me the universal “no” sign of arms crossed in front of him. I guess I’d been in danger of inciting a monkey mob?

It was neat being surrounded in the open by monkeys going about their business. The young ones were hilarious jumping around and generally being foolish. And man, do those adult monkeys mean business. As soon as one of the young ones became too rambunctious WHACK!

Monkeys don’t like too much monkeying around I guess. (see what I did there?)

The highlight of the monkey park was going inside the human cage in order to safely feed the monkeys. I was having a ball holding out my hand so that they could take the apples slices. I even held my hand out empty to see what would happen and, I swear, this monkey grabbed my hand, gave me the most human “WTF, how dare you!” face possible and shoved my hand away in anger.

Monkey Feeding

I quickly gave the monkey several apple slices to apologize for my behavior.

She seemed appeased.

It was a great afternoon. Then again it’s hard to fail when you have scenes of beauty, delicious ramen, and make some monkey friends.

 

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Crazy Cat Lady

April 12, 2014

Everyone has their own private version of hell on earth, right?

Well, I’m sure that for some I made that hell on earth a reality late Sunday night on US Air flight 499.

You see, I happened to be traveling with a grown cat. On a plane.

…and the cat was not happy.

I’ve made some small judgments in the past on those people who travel with their animals. I remember only twice in all the flights I’ve had encountering people crazy enough to bring a cat with them on their airline adventure.

Each time I could hear meows but it took me several highly confused minutes to determine where on earth that sound was coming from and several minutes more to confirm that Yes, Virginia, there is a cat on your plane.

Both of those times I smirked and kind of rolled my eyes. Who on earth travels with a cat?!

Fast forward to last Sunday and…well…isn’t that ironic?

The vet provided me with natural “composure chews” that should help my cat feel calm. I put all my eggs in this one basket. Cat would eat said chews, feel pleasantly loopy and sleep throughout the 3+ hour ordeal.

But Cat was not going to chew those chews. Not only are those chews entirely too big for cats but they apparently taste like warmed up garbage because Cat refused to touch them.

Maybe I’ll just give them to her the way I would give a dog medicine?

“Hahahahaha!” – The Cat

So with my non-drugged Cat I made my sheepish way through the airport security line. I requested additional screening (how they expect me to remove my very angry cat from a crate, walk through a metal detector, and put her back into the crate without her escaping and causing rampant chaos is beyond me).

I am fortunate enough to be re-booked on a direct flight in first class. And then I realize…

I’m that person.

The crazy cat lady.

The pretentious first-class flying, scarf wearing lady who requires a cat for a companion.

And it’s not even a nice cat (for the moment).

Every cringe inducing yowl that escaped from the soft kenneled crate at 1, 5, and 30 minute increments. Every oh-so-judgey look that I returned with an apologetic “Yes I have a Cat” stare during the extra long boarding process. The disgusting smell that alerted me that my Cat had NOT enjoyed take-off.

Yep. Definitely someone’s version of hell.

And I helped complete it.

 

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Far From Home

April 2, 2014

My heart has been heavy these last couple of weeks. A friend is remembering the loss of her father. Another friend is coming to grips with the unexpected loss of a parent. It seems that loss is everywhere. As it always seems to happen I find connection through reading and came across a beautiful post […]

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A Tale of Tattoos and Hot Tubs

March 28, 2014

During our *ahem* recent stay in Japan we got the chance to experience something rather exotic – take a dip in a Japanese Bath, or Onsen. A year ago is still considered recent, right? I digress… Japan, much like the rest of the ancient world, at some point used public baths as a way to […]

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The Happiest

March 21, 2014

Did you know it is International Happiness Day today? I’m not quite sure what that is either but, whatever, I’m going with it. As I discovered, through various newsfeeds and news circuits, what today is supposed to celebrate I smiled a little. In this day and age maybe a day dedicated solely to happiness is […]

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Are We Supposed to Eat That?

November 20, 2013

I know I’ve regaled you with tales of my delicious adventures with sushi in Japan and Hawaii. It is, I will argue until I die, one of the best dishes around. This will not be that sort of tale. Part of our stay at the Hotel Makoto in Miyajima was to include two traditional Japanese […]

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Sacred Deer of Miyajima

November 12, 2013

To avoid an overly long day of travel after our visit to Hiroshima we decided to stay the night on the small island of Miyajima at a true public house – the only affordable lodging on this tiny island. Miyajima is famously known for it’s world heritage Floating Torii – a wooden gate that stands […]

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Hiroshima Peace Museum

November 5, 2013

In light of my new self-challenge to let go of my need for perfectionism in writing I decided to tackle a post that has been dodging me since I first contemplated how to put it into words. Adam and I visited the city of Hiroshima while in Japan with our main goals being to see […]

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