It's been ten years since I took my first trip to Japan. At the time I was traveling alone and stayed in Osaka with a very nice Korean lady who could not speak or understand a word of English. Lucky for me she had a nice Korean doctor friend who did. He made for the perfect tour guide since my knowledge of Japanese was limited. I was able to explore Himeji Castle and had my first taste of real authentic Japanese cuisine. I've been back to Japan three times and have seen so much of this amazing country. I have memories of the touching and peaceful setting of Hiroshima to the wild and crazy nights in a Roppongi karaoke bar, and many places in between. What's nice about Tokyo and Osaka is that there are so many people who speak English and can show you where the western style toilet is. My in-laws reside in the country-side of Okayama. Surrounded by mountains full of bamboo trees, rice fields and beautiful bonsai, and a sense of what a small Japanese country-side neighborhood is like.
Okayama Korakuen Garden; Photo from Okayama-ken Kanko Renmei/JNTO During my last visit I enjoyed a yakiniku barbecue, a miso soup party and an udon noodle tour. Lots of good Japanese food, Kirin Ichiban, and family fun. Can't wait to go back.
Sanuki Udon Noodles Rick