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Go forth and enact change. 001

2023.06.02 22:47 The_Eternal_palace Go forth and enact change. 001

⟨⟨ Chapter 001 ⟩⟩ Don't thank the «GODS»
Without warning; the direction left became urgently Tuesday. Up became a distant relative. Backwards became fictitious. And the popcorn I’d been eating became a puddle of vomit at my feet. — That last one being what I would consider “normal” allowed me to realise that whatever had happened had now stopped happening.
I stumble around in the darkness for a few seconds before a light shines up ahead. Someone else had gotten to the exit before me, opening the door allowing light in. Some part of me is trying to remember a common saying that warns against going towards the light. But right now, disorientated and in the dark, it feels instinctual.
I left the cinema room and made it out to the lobby. I bumped into someone, but just as I utter a reflexive “sorry”, someone else bumps into me. More and more people keep entering the lobby. Be it as a response to the general panic, a desire to escape the growing crowd, or something deeper; everyone seem to gravitate towards the buildings exit. Out onto the street and in the parking lot.
One leg after another, I walk without giving much thought to what's going on around me. Or to what happened back in the cinema. Going forward in a daze, carried along by the crowd.
After the exit acts as a bottleneck, The crowd is able to spread out after getting outside. I find myself leaving between the people ahead of me, pushing towards the front of the crowd.
As I’m too busy watching my footing to give the slowing crowd or my surroundings much thought. It wasn’t until I reached the outer edge of the crowd proper that I was able to take in my surroundings more fully. And it was like I woken up. The daze I was in had me on autopilot until this moment when I set eyes upon the world around me.
Where should have been a car park in the outer suburbs, instead I find myself looking up at thick vegetation. Thick distinctly alien vegetation.
“Ah crap, we got isekaied.” someone to my right said. I was internally glad someone else came to that conclusion. It would have been kind of embarrassed if I was the only one.
Around me a few more dazed people pushed forward to the edge of the crowd before seeming to wake up. A quick glance over my shoulder suggested that they were quite a few more people to come out. So I decided to walk over to the side out of everyone's way.
I started talking to myself, thinking out loud. “alright, alright, if we've been isekaied.... Hmmmm.... Is it sci-fi or magic?”
I looked over at the forest again. Tall thin trunks, or two to three trunks per tree. Then with a few large leaves hanging down. Everything is coloured a cross between olive green and chalky white.
“It looks like it fits the magic variety better. Then again, it's not like I have firsthand experience with this. And any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic anyway.”
“Yo, what’s up?” A guy comes up. He gives me a casual head nod greeting. As if what was going on was just any other normal day. “names Steve.”
“Mac. I was just trying to figure out what's going on”
“Well you are already doing better than that lot. Half of them are in denial, and the other half are in a panic.” Steve gives a friendly smile, suggesting the comment was at least partly in jest.
“Are You familiar with isekai stories? Where the characters get transport it to a planet full of magic and monsters.” I asked him.
“Like the wizard of Oz?”
“no...” I paused, thinking about it “well, yeah. Sort of.”
“But less singing, right?” he smiled “nah, sorry. I’m more of a fan of Doki Doki Sims.”
“Anyway....” I said “There's usually magic involved. If we can open up the magical interface, then we can start using magic. In some stories it is voice activated. We just need to know the right words to say.”
“Hocus pocus! Alakazam!!” Steve said enthusiastically. There was an awkward pause for a second before Steve continued “welp, I'm out of ideas. Let me know if you managed to figure magic out.” And with that he was off just as quickly as he came.
I felt a little lost for words about the whole conversation. And needed to take a moment to gather my thoughts again before continuing.
“menu? Open menu? Stat window?” I started listing off all of the variations I could remember from different books that I've read. “Help desk? Open log? Open system? Initiate system?”
I looked over towards the crowd. It was quite sizable, definitely over a thousand people. I'll thinking about Steve I suddenly hung my head and a mix of shame and defeat.
Taking a deep breath I said “Hippity Hoppity, show me my magic properties.” Time seem to slow down as I focused on the world around me. Watching as.... nothing happened. I let out a sigh. “thank «GOD» it wasn’t that one.” But this time something did happen. A cold shiver ran out my spine, and I was gripped with a deep sense of fear.
I could tell, with every fibre of my being, that I had gotten the attention of something powerful beyond measure. Like if I was an ant, and I just gone be attention of a farmer who held a shovel in one hand and a 20L Jerry of pesticide in the other.
My life flash before my eyes. And then, a moment later, the feeling of soul crushing dread and helplessness had passed. In its wake was left the more mundane type of trauma associated with near death experiences, and a message etched into his mind.
“You are not worthy to seek audience with the pantheon of «GODS». Not yet.”
I sat there in stunned silence for what felt like hours, it was probably less than 5 minutes. I didn't know what to think, I didn't know what to think about. Getting isekaied onto an alien world was surprisingly easy to come to terms with. Finding out that «GODS» exist, and then having one such «GOD» directly speak to you... That is a lot to take in.
My turmoil of inner thoughts was snapped back into focus when someone came over to talk to me. A middle-aged woman, probably late 30s. I looked up at her and saw that she had a very worried look on their face.
“Was that you? Did you... draw their attention?” She asked.
I opened my mouth to respond, but at the same time I glanced over her shoulder at the rest of the crowd. EVERYONE was looking at me. There was no movement in the crowd, no sound of talking. Everyone had stopped what they were doing to look at me, personally.
It was unsettling.
Everyone must have noticed when the «GODS» spoke to me. Or perhaps the «GODS» contacted everyone at once. Which probably was the case. It just seems more efficient than to contact each person on a case-by-case basis. Not that supremely powerful being must be concerned with efficiency.
After realising I hadn't answered the woman. I looked back at her, but still couldn't find the words to say.
“Please don’t do it again.” She said. And all I could do was manage a weak nod in response.
When the woman turned to leave, I followed behind her. As I entered into the crowd, people started talking again. At first in hushed whispers as I passed. Then as the general volume got louder, normal conversation seemed to resume.
I looked around and realised I didn't have anywhere specific I was trying to go. Nobody else came up to start a conversation. And I felt too a self-conscious at the moment to join in with random group.
So with nothing better to do, I went back into the cinema to claim an isolated corner as my own. It was my hope that some of my more immediate problems would be solved after a few hours sleep.
. ⟨⟨ Chapter 002 ⟩⟩ Food, shelter, and an obsession with magic.
It has been 3 days since we've arrived here. For me, these last three days have been... troublesome.
TITLE ⟩ Attention of the «GODS» You have gained the attention of the God's once, and thus are more likely to do so again. +⟩ You have a weak aura of ‹Divine touched› +⟩ All humans have a partial geas. It now takes significant effort for humans to utter the name of any «GOD».
My unfortunate choice of words on the day we arrived resulted in me getting a title. And the rest of humanity getting a slightly different title. For all other humans, as well as for myself, we are unable to speak the name of any «GOD» unless we really, really mean it. Which is honestly probably for the best. Humanity is probably lucky I got the «GOD’S» attention by thanking them instead of by using some creative cuss words. The part of my title that has been given me problems has been the weak aura of ‹Divine touched›. About 1/3 about the humans have become actively hostile with me. While the other 2/3s have remained politely neutral, although slightly distant. With a very small number, let's call it a rounding error, have become creepily friendly toward. Not in a way that suggests any sort of mind control, just a cultish fascination. As for everyone else; humanity seems to have adapted surprisingly well to our new reality. All of our first world problems have taken a back seat in the face of more immediate issues. Food. Shelter. Our obsession with magic. It was on the first day, after I had already retreated inside, someone else had unlocked the secrets of magic. There's no key phrase that needed to be spoken. All that is required is for a person to enter a deep meditative state. From there it is rather intuitive. Spells, classes, titles, bloodline traits... All the things I had expected to find, in quantities far exceeding my imagination. At some time in the near future I need to sit down and dedicate an hour of three going over the system. But not right now. The other two priorities that have kept us all busy — food and shelter — have been partially solved thanks to magic. Our primary shelter, what I had originally thought to have been a cinema complex, turned out to be an amalgamation of at least a dozen different earth buildings. Including a cinema, an office building, an apartment building, a subway station, a mattress retailer, a Chinese restaurant, The Fiction section of a library, a classroom that used to teach forklift certificates..... And other random things. It was either a failed attempt at selecting a variety of buildings that we might need in this new world, or it was a highly successful attempt at taking the most obscure choices for the greatest variety. I have already seen at least a dozen people using magic to help reshape the central building. Internal plumbing and rearranging the hallways where the top two priorities. An internal electrical grid is apparently the current attempt at improving our home building. But apparently electricity, and physics in general, aren't working the way we expect them to. I guess that's the price to pay for having cool magic. For reconstructing the building, the most common magics in use have been: Geomancy, Wood Magic, Metal Smithing, Drawing Runes, and various other types of magic that don’t fit a common naming convention. Maybe all magic should just have -mancy attached to the end of the word. It works for hydromancy, pyromancy, geomancy, etc. Although adding the -smith suffix works for a lot of magics as well: Metal Smith, Wood Smith, Rune Smith. I can deep dive the linguistics of magic another day. Last but not least – Food. The limited supply of earth food that got teleported in with us quickly became a rare delicacy that is making a select few people rich on the black market. Is that for the majority of us, We have become hunters and gatherers once more. With the aid of magic to Find, identify, kill, purifier, butcher, and cook. An attempt at agriculture is being made. But it has not yet borne fruit; Both literally and figuratively. . After all that rambling on about world building and exposition and stuff, we come back to the most important part of any action adventure story....
Action and adventure (duh)
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2023.06.02 22:46 Plaingirl123 Average cost of inground pool in SC

It’s probably an annoying question but does anyone know the avg cost of a ‘not fancy’ rectangle inground pool near the Greenville/Spartanburg area in SC? Mostly likely vinyl.
Also, has anyone found it to be meaningfully cheaper to buy during the off season/fall&winter ?
Thanks a bunch!
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2023.06.02 22:09 IvorFreyrsson A Hellish Offer, Ch. 1

Greetings! I hope you enjoy this new tale I've spun up! Trying a different POV this time around. Let me know what you think.
Next
Markus gazed once more at the package. It was tubular in shape, about ten inches in length, and rattled slightly when he shook it. There was no return address, and the delivery label was obviously hand-written in a gorgeous calligraphic font. Someone definitely took their time and care in creating this.
However, he didn’t recall ordering anything, nor did he have any friends or family with a looming marriage, so this arrival warranted some concern. It smelled somewhat of a campfire, but was otherwise a normal, nondescript cardboard tube with plastic caps.
As he inhaled the scent surrounding the tube, his mind was cast back to the few camping trips he had taken with his father, and of the many blóts he had performed with his old Kindred before they disbanded. Good memories, all. With a smile on his face, he gently uncapped the tube and emptied the contents out into his heavy palm.
As he had been expecting a letter, he wasn’t disappointed. What was interesting was the fact that said letter was made of honest-to-goodness vellum. A rolled piece of vellum, kept tight by a heavy signet ring.
Markus took the vellum to the kitchen table, and gently slid the ring off of it, laying it down, ignored for now.
Whomever had sent this to him had some serious skills. He was looking at what appeared to be an illuminated invitation. The handwriting was as exquisite as the lettering on the delivery label, and was a veritable joy to read.
Dearest Markus,
I am cordially inviting you to tea.
Please meet me at Kitcho Arashiyama – Kyoto, Japan.
Enclosed, please find your ticket to Japan.
I expect to see you there in three month’s time, at four PM local time on February 14th, 2023.
Yours,
Lucifer
Markus sat the letter down beside the seal, dumbfounded. Lucifer? Either someone was attempting to draw him into another LARP, or they must have sent the message to the wrong guy. Curious, he inspected the ring.
It was a heavy ring, with a curious, angular symbol embossed on it, surrounded by an almost hypnotic pattern of lines. The same symbol was also on either side of the ring. Smirking, he took a snapshot of it with his phone and did an image search.
It was, indeed, the sigil of Lucifer. Someone must have gone to some expense for this. Remembering that the message had said something about a plane ticket, Markus snatched up the tube and shook it some more. Out floated a second item. Picking it up off the floor, Markus saw that it looked curiously like a ticket of some sort. Round-trip from Louisville to Kyoto, open-ended. Nonstop, first class. Holy shit.
In disbelief, Markus checked the ticket online. It was booked through Quantas, and was, indeed, legitimate. Sitting back in the chair, he realized that he would be going to Japan in three months.
Three months was hardly enough time to get his passport in order. Still, if someone spent this much on a flight for him, he owed it to them to do his utmost to be there on time, and at his best.
The next day, he called in to work and went to a post office in Louisville to apply for a passport. Figuring the expense would be worth it, he went ahead and got it expedited. No sense in it arriving the day after his flight. This way, he would have it around the third week of January, leaving him enough time to not panic about having everything ready.
The second most important task done, he went home and perused the web for a nice outfit to wear to his tea meeting with “Lucifer”. A new kilt, belt and boots would do the trick. He would go to a nicer store for a dress shirt once he had the items.
Markus felt invigorated for the first time in several years once he had made the purchases. His life had been fraught with one setback or disaster after another for quite some time. He and his girlfriend of five years had split up last month, both of his grandfathers had passed while they were together, and his mother, the only family he had left, had developed Alzheimer’s and had already forgotten who he was. Markus couldn’t afford to take care of her on his own, and had been forced to place her in a home. A change would be welcome.
So, he started on the hardest and most important task: learning Japanese. He had three months to get fluent enough to get by without being seen as disrespectful. He had been an avid fan of most anime and manga for nearly thirty years, and hopefully watching the subtitled anime would come in handy in this endeavor. Thinking about his upcoming trip, Markus realized he’d need somewhere to stay. He scoured the internet, looking at reviews and ads for various hotels in the area of the restaurant he’d be dining at. After several hours of searching, he selected a place called Rikyuan Kyoto Nishikyogoku. He sent them an email detailing his trip and his needs, and got a reply with the costs. He put it on a credit card, and felt one more piece of the puzzle slip into place.
Markus made the necessary arrangements at work the next day, “planning” on two full weeks of being gone. Thankfully, his company was extremely flexible, and allowed him to take the required days off, no questions asked. When not working, Markus was deep in his Japanese lessons, cross-referencing what he heard in his anime with what he was learning. It took almost the entire three months, but by the end of it, he was watching entire episodes of “One-Punch Man” without subtitles and understanding about eighty percent of it.
Reading the katakana and hiragana, however, was proving to be a little more difficult. He could recognize the symbols for the various shops and restaurants, but was far from reading a newspaper.
On February tenth, he checked that the ticket was still valid, and packed enough for a month away. It was a depressingly small, single bag that he wound up having. Since a kilt was easy to care for, and he would be wearing a second one anyway, all he really had to pack were a few shirts, socks and underwear for the trip alongside his small bag of toiletries.
Once he was fully packed, he went about his life as usual. Work, eat, video games, sleep, and repeat. There was little in the way of friends, and no family left to visit besides his mother, who sadly never recognized him.
The day before his flight left, he decided to visit his mother one last time. He drove himself to the retirement home, and signed himself in to see her. It was a bright, if cold, afternoon.
Knocking on her door, he called out, “Hello? Mom? It’s me, Markus. May I come in?”
“Markus? Markus, Markus…. Now where have I heard that name before? Oh! Yes, please come in!” she replied.
Opening the door, he was surprised to see his mother in a bathrobe with a broad smile and outstretched arms. “My son! I’ve missed you. Your father is at work, but he should be home in an hour or so. I have some tea in the fridge. Would you like some?” she asked, her soft voice as pleasant as it ever was in his childhood. She wrapped him up in a warm, if weak, hug in her fragile arms.
“No thanks, Mom. I’ll get some water, instead. Can I get you a glass, too?” he replied.
“Oh, please. I’d appreciate that. I’ll just have a seat, then,” she said, taking a seat on the small chair at the writing desk.
Markus got two glasses of water from the tap, handed one to his mother and sat in a chair. “Mom? I’ve got something to tell you. Promise you won’t get mad?”
“I promise, son. Now, what is it?”
“I’m going on a trip tomorrow. To Kyoto for a business meeting. I don’t know when I’ll return,” he said softly.
“Oh! My boy is finally getting to travel. Your father will be so proud of you. He should be home soon, you know,” she said, taking a sip of her water.
Markus’ breath hitched at the second mention of his father, who had been dead and gone these past seventeen years. Forcing a smile, he said, “Yeah, Mom. You know how dad is, though. He works so much to make sure we have what we need.”
“He sure does, Markus. I do hope you get to see him before you leave. It’d mean the world to him. So! What’s this business meeting about?” she asked happily.
“Well, I’m not sure, if I’m honest. I just got a letter to meet someone in Kyoto. They included an open-ended plane ticket and everything. I checked everything out, and it’s all legitimate. It’s probably something pretty important. I just wish I knew why they chose a relative nobody like me,” he replied, deep in thought.
“It’s because my son is an amazing person. That’s why. I just know it,” she said, setting down her mostly untouched water on the writing desk. “I’m getting tired, now. Come see me again soon? I miss you so much,” she pleaded.
“Okay, Mom. As soon as I can. Let me help you to bed, okay? I know you’re tired,” Markus said, offering an arm to his mother.
“You’re such a sweet boy. You got that from your father, you know.”
His mother grunted softly as she climbed into bed, pulling the covers over her shoulders.
“I love you, Mom. Get some rest, and I’ll come see you as soon as I can, okay?”
“Okay, sweetheart. He’ll take care of you, you know.”
“Who will, Mom?”
“The man you’re going to meet for tea. He’ll take care of you. I’m sure of it,” she said sleepily.
“...meet for tea? What? I never…”
But Markus’ mother was already fast asleep, snoring softly. Markus looked at his mother in wonder. Shaking his head, he kissed her forehead and walked out of her room, shutting the door as quietly as he could manage.
He walked to the front desk and informed the receptionist that his mother was asleep, and that he would be leaving in the morning for Japan, in case she asked about him.
“Oh, that sounds wonderful, sir! I hope you enjoy your trip. I’ll make sure the aides know that she is asleep. Thank you for visiting her. I know it’s hard, but it does help them. Even when they don’t recognize you, connecting to their past is always helpful. Please be safe,” he said.
“Thank you. I will be. Take care of her, okay?” Markus asked softly, swallowing past the tight lump in his throat.
The receptionist nodded with a smile, and Markus went home, crying silently.
Obscenely early the next morning, Markus tossed his travel bag into his car and drove off to the airport. The drive was thankfully smooth and without any serious traffic. He got a decent spot in the long term parking lot, and went to check in to his flight.
Surprisingly enough, the wait for check-in was short and quick, allowing him to get to his gate with over an hour to spare. With such ample time, Markus got breakfast, and was able to savor the mostly bland fare. The boarding process was quick and efficient, and the other passengers were mostly quiet and tired. This allowed them to be able to leave a full fifteen minutes early, and Markus was soon on his way to Kyoto.
He found himself the only resident of first class, oddly enough. He and the flight attendant spoke cordially a few times, and he busied himself on his phone for most of the trip, napping occasionally for the nearly fourteen hour flight.
He was gently awoken by his flight attendant. “Markus? We will be landing soon. I need you to sit up and get your seatbelt on, okay?” she said softly.
“Hrmm? Oh. Okay, Sophia. I’m up. Thank you,” he replied with a smile. Sophia nodded and went to buckle herself in as well.
Safely buckled, Markus awaited the plane’s touchdown.
The plane landed, and all passengers disembarked just as orderly and quietly as they boarded. Once his bag had been claimed, Markus left the airport, and took his first breath of the air in Kyoto.
The air was cold, clean and crisp, with a promise of snow in the future. Markus had been busy during his flight, checking on the best ways to get to his destination. He settled on taking a bus, and then a train, as that was an experience he’d never had. Markus oriented himself, finding the correct stop, and sat down on a nearby bench to wait.
His adventure in Japan had just begun.
Next
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2023.06.02 22:09 IvorFreyrsson A Hellish Offer

Greetings! I hope you enjoy this new tale I've spun up! Trying a different POV this time around. Let me know what you think.

Markus gazed once more at the package. It was tubular in shape, about ten inches in length, and rattled slightly when he shook it. There was no return address, and the delivery label was obviously hand-written in a gorgeous calligraphic font. Someone definitely took their time and care in creating this.
However, he didn’t recall ordering anything, nor did he have any friends or family with a looming marriage, so this arrival warranted some concern. It smelled somewhat of a campfire, but was otherwise a normal, nondescript cardboard tube with plastic caps.
As he inhaled the scent surrounding the tube, his mind was cast back to the few camping trips he had taken with his father, and of the many blóts he had performed with his old Kindred before they disbanded. Good memories, all. With a smile on his face, he gently uncapped the tube and emptied the contents out into his heavy palm.
As he had been expecting a letter, he wasn’t disappointed. What was interesting was the fact that said letter was made of honest-to-goodness vellum. A rolled piece of vellum, kept tight by a heavy signet ring.
Markus took the vellum to the kitchen table, and gently slid the ring off of it, laying it down, ignored for now.
Whomever had sent this to him had some serious skills. He was looking at what appeared to be an illuminated invitation. The handwriting was as exquisite as the lettering on the delivery label, and was a veritable joy to read.
Dearest Markus,
I am cordially inviting you to tea.
Please meet me at Kitcho Arashiyama – Kyoto, Japan.
Enclosed, please find your ticket to Japan.
I expect to see you there in three month’s time, at four PM local time on February 14th, 2023.
Yours,
Lucifer
Markus sat the letter down beside the seal, dumbfounded. Lucifer? Either someone was attempting to draw him into another LARP, or they must have sent the message to the wrong guy. Curious, he inspected the ring.
It was a heavy ring, with a curious, angular symbol embossed on it, surrounded by an almost hypnotic pattern of lines. The same symbol was also on either side of the ring. Smirking, he took a snapshot of it with his phone and did an image search.
It was, indeed, the sigil of Lucifer. Someone must have gone to some expense for this. Remembering that the message had said something about a plane ticket, Markus snatched up the tube and shook it some more. Out floated a second item. Picking it up off the floor, Markus saw that it looked curiously like a ticket of some sort. Round-trip from Louisville to Kyoto, open-ended. Nonstop, first class. Holy shit.
In disbelief, Markus checked the ticket online. It was booked through Quantas, and was, indeed, legitimate. Sitting back in the chair, he realized that he would be going to Japan in three months.
Three months was hardly enough time to get his passport in order. Still, if someone spent this much on a flight for him, he owed it to them to do his utmost to be there on time, and at his best.
The next day, he called in to work and went to a post office in Louisville to apply for a passport. Figuring the expense would be worth it, he went ahead and got it expedited. No sense in it arriving the day after his flight. This way, he would have it around the third week of January, leaving him enough time to not panic about having everything ready.
The second most important task done, he went home and perused the web for a nice outfit to wear to his tea meeting with “Lucifer”. A new kilt, belt and boots would do the trick. He would go to a nicer store for a dress shirt once he had the items.
Markus felt invigorated for the first time in several years once he had made the purchases. His life had been fraught with one setback or disaster after another for quite some time. He and his girlfriend of five years had split up last month, both of his grandfathers had passed while they were together, and his mother, the only family he had left, had developed Alzheimer’s and had already forgotten who he was. Markus couldn’t afford to take care of her on his own, and had been forced to place her in a home. A change would be welcome.
So, he started on the hardest and most important task: learning Japanese. He had three months to get fluent enough to get by without being seen as disrespectful. He had been an avid fan of most anime and manga for nearly thirty years, and hopefully watching the subtitled anime would come in handy in this endeavor. Thinking about his upcoming trip, Markus realized he’d need somewhere to stay. He scoured the internet, looking at reviews and ads for various hotels in the area of the restaurant he’d be dining at. After several hours of searching, he selected a place called Rikyuan Kyoto Nishikyogoku. He sent them an email detailing his trip and his needs, and got a reply with the costs. He put it on a credit card, and felt one more piece of the puzzle slip into place.
Markus made the necessary arrangements at work the next day, “planning” on two full weeks of being gone. Thankfully, his company was extremely flexible, and allowed him to take the required days off, no questions asked. When not working, Markus was deep in his Japanese lessons, cross-referencing what he heard in his anime with what he was learning. It took almost the entire three months, but by the end of it, he was watching entire episodes of “One-Punch Man” without subtitles and understanding about eighty percent of it.
Reading the katakana and hiragana, however, was proving to be a little more difficult. He could recognize the symbols for the various shops and restaurants, but was far from reading a newspaper.
On February tenth, he checked that the ticket was still valid, and packed enough for a month away. It was a depressingly small, single bag that he wound up having. Since a kilt was easy to care for, and he would be wearing a second one anyway, all he really had to pack were a few shirts, socks and underwear for the trip alongside his small bag of toiletries.
Once he was fully packed, he went about his life as usual. Work, eat, video games, sleep, and repeat. There was little in the way of friends, and no family left to visit besides his mother, who sadly never recognized him.
The day before his flight left, he decided to visit his mother one last time. He drove himself to the retirement home, and signed himself in to see her. It was a bright, if cold, afternoon.
Knocking on her door, he called out, “Hello? Mom? It’s me, Markus. May I come in?”
“Markus? Markus, Markus…. Now where have I heard that name before? Oh! Yes, please come in!” she replied.
Opening the door, he was pleasantly surprised to see his mother in a bathrobe with a broad smile and outstretched arms. “My son! I’ve missed you. Your father is at work, but he should be home in an hour or so. I have some tea in the fridge. Would you like some?” she asked, her soft voice as pleasant as it ever was in his childhood. She wrapped him up in a warm, if weak, hug in her fragile arms.
“No thanks, Mom. I’ll get some water, instead. Can I get you a glass, too?” he replied.
“Oh, please. I’d appreciate that. I’ll just have a seat, then,” she said, taking a seat on the small chair at the writing desk.
Markus got two glasses of water from the tap, handed one to his mother and sat in a chair. “Mom? I’ve got something to tell you. Promise you won’t get mad?”
“I promise, son. Now, what is it?”
“I’m going on a trip tomorrow. To Kyoto for a business meeting. I don’t know when I’ll return,” he said softly.
“Oh! My boy is finally getting to travel. Your father will be so proud of you. He should be home soon, you know,” she said, taking a sip of her water.
Markus’ breath hitched at the second mention of his father, who had been dead and gone these past seventeen years. Forcing a smile, he said, “Yeah, Mom. You know how dad is, though. He works so much to make sure we have what we need.”
“He sure does, Markus. I do hope you get to see him before you leave. It’d mean the world to him. So! What’s this business meeting about?” she asked happily.
“Well, I’m not sure, if I’m honest. I just got a letter to meet someone in Kyoto. They included an open-ended plane ticket and everything. I checked everything out, and it’s all legitimate. It’s probably something pretty important. I just wish I knew why they chose a relative nobody like me,” he replied, deep in thought.
“It’s because my son is an amazing person. That’s why. I just know it,” she said, setting down her water on the writing desk. “I’m getting tired, now. Come see me again soon? I miss you so much,” she pleaded.
“Okay, Mom. As soon as I can. Let me help you to bed, okay? I know you’re tired,” Markus said, offering an arm to his mother.
“You’re such a sweet boy. You got that from your father, you know.”
His mother grunted softly as she climbed into bed, pulling the covers over her shoulders.
“I love you, Mom. Get some rest, and I’ll come see you as soon as I can, okay?”
“Okay, sweetheart. He’ll take care of you, you know.”
“Who will, Mom?”
“The man you’re going to meet for tea. He’ll take care of you. I’m sure of it,” she said sleepily.
“...meet for tea? What? I never…”
But Markus’ mother was already fast asleep, snoring softly. Markus looked at his mother in wonder. Shaking his head, he kissed her forehead and walked out of her room, shutting the door as quietly as he could manage.
He walked to the front desk and informed the receptionist that his mother was asleep, and that he would be leaving in the morning for Japan, in case she asked about him.
“Oh, that sounds wonderful, sir! I hope you enjoy your trip. I’ll make sure the aides know that she is asleep. Thank you for visiting her. I know it’s hard, but it does help them. Even when they don’t recognize you, connecting to their past is always helpful. Please be safe,” he said.
“Thank you. I will be. Take care of her, okay?” Markus asked softly, swallowing past the tight lump in his throat.
The receptionist nodded with a smile, and Markus went home, crying silently.
************
Obscenely early the next morning, Markus tossed his travel bag into his car and drove off to the airport. The drive was thankfully smooth and without any serious traffic. He got a decent spot in the long term parking lot, and went to check in to his flight.
Surprisingly enough, the wait for check-in was short and quick, allowing him to get to his gate with over an hour to spare. With ample time, Markus got breakfast, and was able to savor the mostly bland fare. The boarding process was quick and efficient, and the other passengers were mostly quiet and tired. This allowed them to be able to leave a full fifteen minutes early, and Markus was soon on his way to Kyoto.
He found himself the only resident of first class, oddly enough. He and the flight attendant spoke cordially a few times, and he busied himself on his phone for most of the trip, napping occasionally for the nearly fourteen hour flight.
He was gently awoken by his flight attendant. “Markus? We will be landing soon. I need you to sit up and get your seatbelt on, okay?” she said softly.
“Hrmm? Oh. Okay, Sophia. I’m up. Thank you,” he replied with a smile. Sophia nodded and went to buckle herself in as well.
Safely buckled, Markus awaited the plane’s touchdown.
The plane landed, and all passengers disembarked just as orderly and quietly as they boarded. Once his bag had been claimed, Markus left the airport, and took his first breath of the air in Kyoto.
The air was cold, clean and crisp, with a promise of snow in the future. Markus had been busy during his flight, checking on the best ways to get to his destination. He settled on taking a bus, and then a train, as that was an experience he’d never had. Markus oriented himself, and found the correct stop, and sat down on a nearby bench to wait.
His adventure in Japan had just begun.
submitted by IvorFreyrsson to Words_From_Ivor [link] [comments]


2023.06.02 20:33 yupanda 24 days in Japan. Osaka - Onomichi - Shimanami Kaido/Matsuyama- Hiroshima/Miyajima - Kyoto - Takayama/ Kamikochi/Matsumoto - Tokyo

Hi lovely people,
We just came back from our first trip to Japan and it was truly a memorable trip. We spent over 3 weeks in Japan from 07th May until 30th May. WE LOVE JAPAN! Can't wait to come back.
A little bit about us: We are both ~30y olds and enjoy a mix of urban, outdoor and culture during our holidays. We are foodies, but not hard-core as in we don't specifically organize our trips around restaurants. There are so many restaurants in Japan, it is hard to get a bad meal. We enjoy just wandering around neighbourhoods. Mostly low/mid-budget stuff with a splurge once in a while.
Our travel itinerary can be found here
General comments
Japanguide has a nice overview of all the passes : https://www.japan-guide.com/e/e2357.html

Trip report

PS. I am not mentioning everything we did in this post. I will just mention highlights. It is still a long read though ;).
D1 - D2 Osaka
We landed at Kansai airport. Before our trip, we also bought train vouchers for Osaka online (https://www.howto-osaka.com/en/ticket/). Best decision ever, because the journey was rough and we were exhausted by the time we landed. We only had to exchange our vouchers at the station and off we went.
Osaka was nice city to start with as it is a more manageable "smaller" city whilst recovering from our jetlag. Despite being smaller, I do think it is worth a visit. Osaka is so iconic at night. We stayed at a spacious Airbnb near Kuromon Ichiban market.
Skip Shinsekai: We visited during the day and it felt very empty to me. More like a tourist-trap, the eateries didn't look appealing to me. Maybe during the evening this area is more fun.
D3 Nara
We did Nara as a day-trip from Osaka.
D4 Onomichi
After staying in Osaka for 3 days, we headed west for the Shimanami Kaido. We decided to stay in Onomichi (Hotel Beacon Onomichi) for the night before we started our two day bike trip. For this part of our trip, we picked up our 7-day Setouchi area pass at Shin-Osaka JR station. I just want to mention that I really love the hospitality of the staff in Japan. The JR office people were so nice and helpful. We reserved our seats for the shinkansen and off we went to Onomichi. Onomichi is a lovely little seaside town to just stroll around and take in the views. I really recommend spending at least half a day here. Don't skip it!
D5 & D6 Shimanami Kaido -> Matsuyama
The next day, we picked up our reserved cross bikes from the general bike rental and off we went. Honestly, biking the shimanami kaido was the highlight of our trip. We took two days to bike the whole way, one day would definitely be too rushed for us. We stopped at Ikuchi island (Shimanaido NEST) for our halfway stay.
The sights along the way were great! It was so much fun to go down-hill, the uphills were do-able. We had great weather also, not too hot and no rain. Everything was clearly indicated, we just followed the blue lines. I felt very safe biking in Japan. PS. My butt did hurt from the saddle, so be warned! Bring some cushioned pants if you want to be safe side.
https://shimanami-cycle.or.jp/ for more info and bike rental
We decided to bike one-way from Onomichi to Imabari and we have no regrets. I liked that we ended the bike trip with the longest bridge (4km!!). Imabari is very industrial, but after the fun long way down from the last bridge and being exhausted from biking you just want to get to the station and stuff yourself with pastries from the bakery at the station and go on to your next destination. Thus, we immediately took the train to Matsuyama. Originally, the plan was to enjoy the famous onsen in Matsuyama, but we didn't have enough time and we were also pretty tired. After checking-in at the hotel, it was already 4, we made our way to Matsuyama castle but unfortunately, we were too late to go in. It was still nice to view it from the outside and walk around the park. We planned to do sightseeing in Hiroshima the next day, so there was no more time to explore Matsuyama further.
D7 Hiroshima -> Miyajima
After Shiminami Kaido, we headed towards Hiroshima/Miyajima. We took an early ferry from Matsuyama. The ferry was included in the setouchi JR pass, so we gladly took advantage of that. It's a nice way to get to Hiroshima, just one last view of the Seto inland sea. One remark: if it is not JR serviced transportation, you do have to obtain separate tickets. Normally, just showing your setouchi JR pass is enough to get onboard the train, but for the ferry you do have to go to the ticket desk and show your JR pass to obtain the ferry tickets.
Surprisingly, it was very hard to find affordable good accommodation in Hiroshima. It was the weekend and two weeks before G7, so maybe that was the reason why it was harder to find accommodation. In the end, I found a nice simple hotel on Miyajima island and it was a good decision after all! After a long day in Hiroshima, we made our way to Miyajima to stay two nights. Staying on Miyajima island is lovely especially when all the day-trip tourist leave.
D8 Miyajima
Honestly, Miyajima is truly magical. Another highlight of our trip! We started the day early to get ahead of the crowd and that made it all so much more enjoyable. Seeing shrines and temples without a crowd is truly 1000x better! If you can stay at Miyajima island, do it! You don't have to splurge on expensive ryokan (although it would have been nice). We stayed at Sakuraya, which was very budget-friendly.
One remark, our hotel didn't include dinner and all the restaurants on the island close quite early. Luckily, with our setouchi JR pass, we could take the ferry for free, so went to the mainland for dinner. Just keep this in mind, when booking your stay.
D9 - D13 Kyoto
We took the early train to Kyoto and checked in at Tokyu stay Sanjo-karasuma. We had 5 days to explore Kyoto and by this time we had lost our FOMO a little bit and also decided to take it a bit more slow. We still ended up walking a lot anyways but at least we were sleeping in.
The day we arrived,15MAY, was supposed to be Aoi matsuri so we headed to Kamo river to see the festival. Unfortunately, the festival was postponed due to the slight rainfall and we had no clue! but we were next to Kyoto botanical garden and we decided to visit that instead!
I didn't mention everything we did in Kyoto here. We also had so much more planned for Kyoto, but didn't get around to it, which was totally fine! We were also a bit temple-fatigued by that time and needed a slower pace. Hopefully next time, we can visit some of things we skipped. Furthermore, some days were incredibly hot (30 C degrees and humid) or we had whole days of rain. On those days, we decided to go shopping instead.
D14 - D15 Takayama
After spending 5 days in Kyoto, it was time to leave the city and head for the Japanese alps. We took the shinkansen to Nagoya, where we changed to a limited express to Takayama. It took around 3 hours to get to Takayama, but we didn't mind. Train travel = resting time for our legs! Also, the views from the train were great!! I really enjoyed this train trip to Takayama. We arrived around noon and immediately checked in at our hotel (Hotel Kuretakeso Takayama). We had two nights in Takayama to explore the town.
D16 Kamikochi -> Matsumoto
After checking out of our hotel in Takayama, we took the 7am bus to Kamikochi. We were only going to spend a day here, and then continue our way to Matsumoto to stay overnight.After ~1 hour of bus, we finally made it to Kamikochi. The Japanese alps are amazing. I wished we stayed longer in this area, but just the bus ride alone to Kamikochi was already a great with the views. We decided to hop off at Taisho pond bus stop and walk along all the major sights in the park. We had no specific plan. Just hike around as far as time allowed. For lunch, we stopped at this cute teishoku restaurant, where we ate katsu curry, a big lunch to fuel our walking. We also saw wild japanese macaques and lots of wildflowers where blooming during our time there.At the local shops, we bought some yummy pastries to snack on. I had the tastiest baumkuchen with cheesecake center and my partner had a chocolate ganache cookie. I really regret not buying more kamikochi pastries to take home while we were there.After spending the day walking around, we hopped on the 4pm bus towards Matsumoto. Checked in at Tabino hotel lit Matsumoto, where I relaxed in the onsen.
Tips:
D17 Matsumoto Tokyo
After sleeping in, we did some sightseeing in Matsumoto before we moved on to Tokyo. We really liked wandering around in Matsumoto. Lots of cool shops with local crafts. We didn't know but the biggest national crafts fair is held in Matsumoto. Unfortunately, we were only able to stay for one day, but next time we would love to visit this crafts fair!
Matsumoto Castle - I really like the interior of the castle. It has been renovated, but still contains that castle feel. It is 5 story castle and you are allowed to climb all of it. It also included a pretty extensive gun/weaponry exhibition. Do arrive early because you do have to line-up within the castle to get from one floor to the other. This is due to the steep stairways, on which they allow only one-way traffic at a time.
Matsumoto city art museum - There was a nice exhibition from Yayoi Kusama. We didn't know but Yayoi Kusama was born in Matsumoto. It is a good replacement exhibition if you aren't able to snatch up tickets for Yayoi Kusama museum in Tokyo.
Nakamachi street and Frog street - street with persevered houses with craft shops, cafes, brewerys. What more do you want.
After spending the day in Matsumoto, we took the train to Tokyo, our last destination of our stay. We decided to stay in Ueno (Hotel resol ueno). This hotel was located close to Ueno JR.
D18 - D24 Tokyo
Last 7 days in Tokyo. By this time, we were just enjoying everything at a much slower pace. Tokyo is huge! Staying near the JR line is indeed a must like everyone said. I could go on hours about Tokyo, I am just going to mention some highlights here.
That's it!
For 24 days, we spend around ~2500 euro p.p. (excl. 1000,- flights). This amount includes food, transportation, entrancefees and shopping/gifts. so average is ~100 euro/day. We didn't track every cost. Hotel costs were 900,- pp, which ranged from 50,- to 120,- per night accommodations. The conversion yen/euro is also great at the moment, so it might have contributed!
I hope you enjoyed my trip report. Let me know if there are any questions.
submitted by yupanda to JapanTravel [link] [comments]


2023.06.02 15:49 Doexitre Some *subtle* things I think Turkey is great/bad at

Great:
  1. Taking care of disabled people. From my experience, there seemed to be a pretty fair amount of employment opportunities (at least in the public sector) for disabled people, as well as infrastructure for disabled people to use to get around (as careless as general urban planning is here).
  2. Taking care of animals. Some of the biggest stray dogs and fattest pigeons I've ever seen. And of course, cats. People make sure to leave out water and food for them no matter how hard the times are.
  3. Making friendly and interesting small talk with others, even with a language barrier. Sidenote: I noticed Turks never slowed down talking to me no matter how many times I asked them to. It's like they assume everyone in Turkey knows (or could know) fluent Turkish and never sounded patronizing, which was actually endearing.
  4. Affordable transportation of all kinds that stretch across the country. Free or near-free food delivery too. If only the road planning was good.
  5. Water faucets being everywhere. Sometimes, I just wanna wash my hands while walking.
  6. Being genuinely curious about foreigners and being eager to interact with them in a (mostly) respectful way. Almost everyday in Turkey I had random strangers make friendly conversation with me, some just stopped their car to randomly wave at me.
  7. I've heard other people shit on taxi drivers, but every one of mine was very no-nonsense about getting somewhere as fast as possible.
  8. Really well-preserved, well-maintained, well documented historical sites.
  9. Turkish girls are incredibly affectionate, Turkish guys will become your bro in five minutes.
  10. Very high quality affordable fruits and vegetables.
  11. I absolutely loved looking at the modern mosques of Turkey (just purely from an architectural perspective, not saying it's right or wrong for the government to spend taxes on these things). Buildings like Taksim Camii are timeless spectacles that really beautify a city.
Bad:
  1. Home to some of the noisiest cities on the planet. Legitimately hard to find a quiet place, peaceful place without car noise sometimes. I think I'd slowly go crazy living in a major Turkish city long term just because of inescapable background noise.
  2. Possibly the most car-centric, anti-pedestrian cities in the world. Literally no crosswalks sometimes. Easily would go toe to toe with America.
  3. People shamelessly throw their trash anywhere despite trash cans being readily available. Turkey isn't a dirty country but it could be a lot cleaner for sure.
  4. Beef is so stupidly, unreasonably expensive. Anyone know why? Taxes?
  5. Even historical sites have cars parked everywhere.
  6. Most malls sucked big time. Nothing really unique, fancy, or interesting about Turkish malls especially in the eatery department, just cheap American fast food most of the time. Yet, they were always packed.
  7. Internet kinda sucked too, both in speed and coverage.
  8. Main source of energy for people seemed to be low quality carbohydrates.
  9. Restaurants and stores cheaping out on things like filling up drinks.
So yeah, the subtle things.
submitted by Doexitre to Turkey [link] [comments]


2023.06.02 15:19 zviznemte Campaign Origins Missions

CAMPAIGN ORIGINS
Become the next big superhero by closing rifts to keep monsters out of our world, taking on supervillains, working with signature Marvel Heroes and new Nexus Heroes like yourself, all while exploring the mysterious origin of your powers to help to stabilize the collapsing multiverse before it's too late.

CHAPTER 1 - Beginnings
Learn the ropes from Spider-Man and Ms. Marvel.
1. Power Clashing Stop a Crime
2. Dream Team Complete an Ally Mission
3. Hit the Streets Stop an Abduction Crime
4. Elektrafied Defeat Elektra
5. Devil You Know Complete a Daredevil Ally Mission
6. If You Can’t Stand the Heat... Stop a Pyro Destruction Crime
7. Gearing Up Craft a piece of Gear
8. Striking Down the Kingpin Stop a Kingpin Assault Crime
9. Studies in Scarlet Complete a Scarlet Witch Ally Mission
10. Finding America Complete an America Chavez Ally Mission

CHAPTER 2 - Strange New Worlds
Venture into another dimension to find a way to resist the Cabal's Hydra presence in your reality.
1. Convergence Travel to the Convergent Reality
2. A Whole New World Take on an Ally Mission
3. Spy Tech Craft a piece of Common Tech Gear
4. Widow Maker Complete a Black Widow Ally Mission in the Convergent Reality
5. Rift You Were Here Travel to the Origins Reality
6. Crossing the Bones Stop a Crossbones Assault Crime
7. Alias Update your Outfit
8. Signal Loss Sabotage a Cabal Base
9. O’ Captain My Captain Complete a Captain America (Steve Rogers) Ally Mission
10. Baron the Hatchet Stop a Baron Zemo Takeover Crime

CHAPTER 3 - Mutated Alliances
Answer the call as Mutants in the Convergent World seek your aid.
1. Convergence Call Travel to the Convergent Reality
2. Storm on the Horizon Stop an A.I.M. Scientist Heist Crime in the Convergent Reality
3. The Lady Doth Strike Too Much Stop a Lady Deathstrike Abduction Crime
4. I of the Storm Complete a Storm Ally Mission
5. Allegiances Stop a Sabretooth Heist Crime
6. Off the Streets Complete a Misty Knight Ally Mission in the Origins Reality
7. Bullseye Stop a Lady Bullseye Heist Crime
8. Dark Magic Brewing Collect a Spell Component
9. Hands Down Sabotage a Cabal Base
10. The Vessel Stop a Steel Serpent Takeover Crime

CHAPTER 4 - Extraction
Help Shuri and the Wakandan Resistance fight back against Killmonger.
1. Occupied Wakanda Occupied Wakanda
2. Resistance Complete a Shuri Ally Mission in the Origins Reality
3. On the Prowl Stop a Prowler Assault Crime in the Origins Reality
4. Beacons, Assemble Collect a Micro Processor
5. Return of the Panther Activate a Black Panther Beacon
6. Back in Black Complete a Black Panther Ally Mission in the Origins Reality
7. Kill Killmonger Stop a Killmonger Assault Crime in the Origins Reality
8. Venomous Intent Collect an Imbued Fabric
9. Analysis Paralysis Get Supplies at a Web-Warriors Base in the Convergent Reality
10. Quality Bonding Time Stop a Venom Takeover Crime in the Origins Reality

CHAPTER 5 - Symbiotic Relationships
Find a proper host for the Venom Symbiote before it takes complete control of you.
1. Symbiotico Collect 30 Web-Warriors Credits
2. Retaliation Stop a Mysterio Assault Crime in the Origins Reality
3. Host with the Most Deliver 3 Large Health Packs
4. Symbiote Syndrome Complete a Venom Ally Mission in the Convergent Reality
5. Illegally Parked Stop a Crime near a Restaurant in the Origins Reality
6. Close Encounters Stop a Yondu Heist Crime in the Origins Reality
7. Rocket Science Collect 3 Tech Cases
8. Nano Nano Possess a Nano Processor
9. Chosen Family Complete a Rocket Ally Mission in the Origins Reality
10. Rocket Tear Stop a Korath Abduction Crime in the Origins Reality

CHAPTER 6 - Enemies United
Deal with the fallout following the incident after receiving the Supreme Intelligence component from Rocket.
MORE COMING SOON / WORK IN PROGRESS

submitted by zviznemte to MarvelWorldOfHeroes [link] [comments]


2023.06.02 14:24 Virtual_Tadpole9821 A BL fan's guide to visiting Thailand

There's been much talk about BL's potential as a driver of tourism. And it's evident, as some of you have shared your stories here in this sub, while others have asked for help planning upcoming trips. But there still appears to be a lack of easily accessible information for people visiting Thailand for the BL. Here's an attempt to remedy that, with this guide to visiting Thailand for BL fans. I've taken the liberty to incorporate suggestions from several previous threads here, as well as various other sources, so thank you to everyone who's contributed to the discussion.

First things first

This will only touch on things specifically of interest to BL fans. For the other aspects of your trip, including most basic planning stuff, please consult the usual travel resources.
That said, firstly you'll want to consider the purpose of your trip, and how much of it you want to dedicate to BL stuff. Do you just want a regular vacation, with a side stop for some merch, or are you here to relive the all the scenes from your favourite BLs? It's very possible to come up with a weeks-long itinerary of nothing but BL locations, and you could spend as much time mall-hopping to catch artist appearances, but Thailand also has a lot of other things to experience, whether you want to stick to the major attractions or go off the beaten track. It's all up to you.
Also, this probably goes without saying, but if you want to attend a specific event, be sure to plan around it and make travel arrangements accordingly. Concerts and fan meetings usually have tickets go on sale a couple of months in advance at most, so you'll want to have flexible options if you book your travel and accommodation before then.

Destinations

Most of the BL-related things you can do will be concentrated in Bangkok, so it's where this guide will be mainly focused, but there are also several provincial locations that have featured in BL, especially Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai in the north and Phuket in the south, all of which are major tourist destinations in their own right. Series have also spent time at plenty of beaches and resorts (particularly around Hua Hin and several towns in Chonburi province) as well as other popular excursions, most of which are short trips from Bangkok. Further out are the island resorts of Koh Samet, Koh Tao and Koh Lanta. The north-east Isan locations are rather off the tourist trail, but could well be worth the experience if that's your style of travel.

Getting immersed

Arriving in Bangkok, one of the first things you'll notice as a fan of Thai BL (or Thai dramas in general) is that you're surrounded by familiar faces everywhere, on banners and billboards and the back of tuk-tuks. Although BL actors aren't that well known among the general public (a surprise to some), the better known ones have a ton of brand endorsements and appear in ads for all sorts of products. Even if you're not planning your trip around BL, spotting actors you know in ads and fan projects can be an entertaining pastime.
Head into a 7-Eleven and you're pretty much guaranteed to see faces you recognize, perhaps on products you're already familiar with from all those series sponsorships and product placements. If the advertising worked and you're dying to know what that bottled green tea or that seaweed snack tastes like, this is your chance to give them a try.
Speaking of tasting, you'll probably be sampling plenty of Thai food while here, so why not include some of the food and drink items from the series you remember, be it som tam from What Zabb Man, the traditional desserts from UWMA, or the famous pink milk, known here as nom yen?
Meanwhile, if taking public transport, spend some time watching the people and see how BL imitates real life. Do you recognize the colours of the school uniforms? Or the university students in their white shirts and black slacks? You might even come across some engineering students in their workshop overshirts.
If you miss hearing the Raikantopeni disclaimer at the beginning of shows, be sure to turn on the TV to catch it as they air live. Be aware though that following shows in Thailand will be more difficult than at home, as they won't have subtitles on TV or on most local streaming services, so you'll likely need a VPN.

Merch stores & fan hangouts

This might be a bit of a letdown, but apart from GMMTV's, there aren't really any physical stores for official merchandise. But since you'll be in the country, you could check with your accommodation to see if they can arrange to accept local package deliveries for you, so you can place some online orders and avoid the international shipping fees. Be sure to check the processing and delivery times - this might be tricky (and won't work with pre-orders, only in-stock items).
GMMTV's shop is not a traditional giftshop as one might assume, but more like a kiosk at their office on the 30th floor of the GMM Grammy Place building - there's just a small product display and a cashier window. Apart from buying products, there's a good chance of running into some actors when visiting, though you're not allowed to linger and there's nowhere to hang out apart from some cafés on the ground floor. You will likely spot some fan-project displays (as mentioned above) outside and in the building, and the cafés will often have cup-sleeve giveaways by fans. Here's a very helpful guide by u/snuffles005: How to visit the GMMTV building and shop
Elsewhere, there's Wab Cafe' and Friends, by the Studio Wabi Sabi people. It's a café, so you'll be buying drinks there rather than merch, but it's very much a space created for fans, and there will often be something going on like fan projects and giveaways, or maybe mini-events with actors making an appearance. It's in RCA, Bangkok's main clubbing neighbourhood (and home to studios where many productions hold their workshops), which takes a bit of an effort to get to, but it's also probably the most dedicated hangout space for BL fans there is.
From Star Hunter, there's Hunter Village, a studio space (mostly used for dance classes) in MBK Center, one of Bangkok's most popular malls. It's a mostly open space, so you'll be able to see if there's someone coming in or something going on, but I'm not sure if it's really somewhere you can hang out at.
Other than that, quite a few actors have their own cafés or some other business, which you might want to visit to support them directly. Clothing and fashion items (perhaps from brands with your faves as presenters) may also be something you'd want to go shopping for.
For manga and anime (including BL/yaoi) there's an Animate store (the specialty chain from Japan), also at MBK Center. In addition to imported works, they also have an extensive Thai section, with both translated and original works.
If you want to observe the Thai novel scene, just walk into any major Thai book store, where you'll likely find rows, maybe entire shelves, of BL novels, prominently displayed - BL has very much gone mainstream in the Thai publishing industry. You'll also find glossy magazines featuring actor photoshoots here. You'll have less luck finding English translations, though, as most translated works are e-book only. For English-language (and Japanese) books in general, your best bet is Books Kinokuniya. They do have Japanese and Chinese translations of some Thai BL novels, as well as the English manga versions of SOTUS and Manner of Death, at international prices.

Catching events

Seeing actors up close (or at a distance) in real life will probably be the BL highlight of your trip for many of you. And unless you're ultra specific as to whom you want to see, there are ample opportunities to catch these actor appearances.
The biggest experiences will of course be the major events - concerts, fan meetings, and the like - that you'll have to buy tickets for. As mentioned above, you'll have to plan around them if you want to attend (which also limits how long you can plan in advance), and make sure to actually get those tickets. They're usually announced very publicly, so it's hard to miss them if you follow the usual news update channels. If you're around when one takes place but can't attend, it can still be worth dropping by if you want to get hold of the merch or just check out the crowds.
For more casual fans, you'll still have plenty of chance to see actors at smaller events, as there's pretty much always something happening somewhere, though there might not be much choice on who you get to see. These events vary a lot in scale, and can be anything from product launches to movie premieres. Most artist's agencies will announce them on their social media channels, usually on a weekly basis, and fan accounts may help share and/or translate them. You'll have to follow them to keep updated.
Most of these events will be held in Bangkok's plethora of malls. The biggest ones are mostly lined along the BTS Skytrain's Sukhumvit Line, so if you plan to do a lot of mall-hopping, whether for events or just shopping, consider getting accommodation with easy access to the BTS for convenience. Here's a great post by u/BumblingWombat that describes the experience in detail: What it's like to go to BL events in Thailand (Oh yeah, there are also top-spender events, which I won't go into, as I don't know anything about them. Those who're aiming for them probably won't need this guide anyway.)
Aside from these specific events, there are also annual book fairs that are partially or directly BL-related, where actors from various agencies may make appearances. The mainstream National Book Fair and Book Expo are usually held at the beginning of April and some time in October. Since last year, BL novels and publishers have had a large presence there, and GMMTV actors made daily appearances with fan gatherings in the car park. There are also smaller book fairs directly focusing on BL: Y Book Fair in July, and International Novel Festival at the end of November. They also feature actor appearances, but can also be worth seeing just for the atmosphere if you're interested in experiencing the literary BL scene here.
On the other hand, to experience more of the community side of the fandom, you might want to check out some fan-held events, such as the birthday projects that fan clubs often do, which may be in the form of café galleries or mini-gatherings. Info will mostly be on Twitter, though it may not be readily translated.

Visiting filming locations

If BL inspired you to make the trip to Thailand, no doubt you'd be interested in visiting some of the filming locations yourself. But while some of them are traditional tourist attractions in their own right, most aren't normally on the radar for general visitors, so it'll take a bit of investment (in time and travel) to include them in your trip.
If there's a single most iconic location to recommend, it must be the Rama VIII Bridge over the Chao Phraya River, which shows up in more BLs than anywhere else. So far, it's been seen in SOTUS, SOTUS S, Gen Y, Tonhon Chonlatee, I Promised You the Moon, My Ride, Enchanté, Cutie Pie, KinnPorsche, Even Sun, 2 Moons: The Ambassador, and Boyband. It's not really a tourist attraction, but it's a major landmark of modern Bangkok that everyone knows, and isn't too hard to get to. It's a bit of a walk (some 15 minutes, or just take a tuk-tuk) from either the Phra Athit or Thewet Pier if you're coming from the main riverside attractions and use the Chao Phraya Express (or Tourist) Boat. If you're into financial history, the Bank of Thailand Learning Center and museum is right next to the bridge. Otherwise, Suan Luang Rama VIII Park by its base is also nice, and also a filming location. The bridge itself is most photogenic at night, but make sure you have transport back if you stay late. Consider one of those dinner cruises if you want to experience it from the same angles as KinnPorsche and Cutie Pie.
For other locations, you'll need to do some research. If there's a specific series you want to follow, try searching to see if someone has already compiled a list of locations, which is likely the case for the more popular series. Most info will be on Tumblr or Twitter.
Filming locations may be public places, shops and businesses, private establishments, or purpose-built or converted studios, so remember to think of their ability to welcome visitors. Dress appropriately for the venue, take care to respect their regular functions, and be considerate to other people. Some of the most familiar locations are university campuses, and the grounds will generally be open to the public, but they're not usually equipped to deal with large numbers of visitors. So if you do visit, have fun reliving those memorable scenes but make sure not to disturb the real students who are there for class. Meanwhile, cafés, bars and restaurants would surely welcome your patronage, but please do not snoop around private offices or people's homes. It all boils down to following common sense, really.
A lot of the locations will be quite spread out and some distance away from downtown, so you'll have to plan carefully if you want to hit more than a few. You might want to hire transport for the day, but also take the traffic into consideration.
If you've always wanted to sleep in the same room that your favourite characters lived in (or at least an identical one), you might be in luck. Some of the apartment locations may have rooms available for daily renting, so check with them. As above, though, their location can be rather inconvenient transport-wise. On the other hand, you might want to opt for the hotels and resorts that featured as locations, which will be better equipped with tourist facilities.
For houses specifically, I have a post on The houses of Thai BL. Most of them are private property rented out as studios, but some will be happy to accept visitors (for a fee) on their off days. Contact their management to see if a something can be arranged. Or if you're serious about it and ready to pay, just rent the place at full price for your own personal photoshoot. If you try it either way, do let us know how it turns out. On the other hand, Wawa House (To Sir, With Love) has a café for visitors, Slōlē (Golden Blood, Bite Me, Enchanté, The Tuxedo, The Eclipse) is a real-life café when not filming, and Red Brick Kitchen (Not Me, KinnPorsche, War of Y) features a chef's table dining experience (reservations only, 4 persons minimum).
If you're just looking for some usual attractions that happen to have BL appearances as a bonus, here are a few (very non-exhaustive) suggestions for Greater Bangkok:
While Bangkok's malls are very much major attractions by themselves, I didn't include them as their appearances are quite too numerous to list.
Outside of Bangkok, each series will mostly feature locations relatively near each other (except Cupid's Last Wish, which went all over the country), so I'll just list the series by destination without going into each location's detail.

Further resources & suggestions

The Let's Talk BL podcast hosts talked about their experience in Thailand last year, covering a lot of the above points over several episodes at the beginning of season 3. Be sure to check them out if you want all the details, especially S3 EP3: Tips & Tricks for the perfect BL experience in Bangkok. Some of their main tips that I didn't mention above are not to overstretch yourself trying to go to everything, and to use a map to plan your days.
Colourme-feral on Tumblr has an incredible Google Map that plots locations from several series, and more in their blog, which a lot of the above is sourced from. For Bad Buddy specifically, Telomeke-bbs on Tumblr has a series of posts that analyse the locations at an insane level of detail.
I'm sure I haven't covered nearly everything in this post, so please feel free to add your suggestions in the comments. (I'll try to expand the locations list as I get around to digging for more series.) If you have questions or need help identifying a specific location, feel free to ask! (Though no guarantees there.)
For full disclosure, I'm receiving no compensation whatsoever for writing this. Any biases or omissions are purely unintentional.
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2023.06.02 10:31 lazycat1989 Trip Review - South Africa, May 2023

Just got back from a solo trip through South Africa, and despite all the cautions and reservations I heard on- and off-line, I loved every bit of it! Sharing some quick notes here for reference, and happy to answer any queries from people thinking of travelling there.
Profile
34 yo Indian man. Not the primest of targets for crime, admittedly, but I didn't really look like a poor write-off as well.
Dates
21 May 2023 - 31 May 2023
Itinerary
2N in Johannesburg with visits to Apartheid Museum, Soweto, and Rosebank Mall. Stayed at Clico Boutique Hotel in Rosebank. Found the city to be pleasant and well worth the stopover, also perfectly safe if navigated using Uber or through join-in tours.
3N in Greater Kruger, specifically at Nyati Safari Lodge in the Balule Reserve, with 2x game drives daily (morning and evening). Saw 3 of the big 5 (missed out on Rhinos and Leopards but have seen them earlier in India, so no heartache) as well as animals unique to Africa - hippos (right outside my room!), zebra, giraffes, and more antelopes than I can remember the names of. Also did a bushwalk, and loved all the bush sundowners and breakfasts. It was absolutely safe inside the lodge, the bigger threats mere mischeivous monkeys raiding the mini-bar. This was my first African Safari experience, and I loved every bit of it - can definitely see myself become a safari hoe in the years to come.
2N in Franschhoek, with a day-long self-cycle through the region (the road from Berg River Dam to Huguenot Memorial is beautiful), and more wine tastings (highly recommend Eikehof and Glenwood) than I'd had in the entirety of my life till the day. The place was my favourite in SA - beautiful, delicious, creative, and a bubble of safety. Stayed at the lovely Chanteclair guesthouse (the host Allan is a gem).
3N in Cape Town, with visits to Table Mountain, the waterfront, a peninsula tour (Camp's Bay, Hout Bay, Chapman's Peak, Cape of Good Hope, Boulders Penguin Colony, and Muizenberg), Kirstenbosch, Company's Garden, Zeitz MCAA (fantastic if you're into art) and Bo Kaap (with the lovely and free Cape Town Walking Tours). The city is easily one of the most, if not the most, beautiful in the world - the setting is spectacular, even in the cold, windy, rainy weather I was there in. It was also markedly safer than Joburg, and there were several parts of town where walking around didn't make me feel as on-edge. Stayed at Taj Cape Town (stellar downtown hotel which allows easier access to the actual city than the tourist enclave hotels of the lively but sterile Waterfront area).
Safety
Almost everyone I spoke to before visiting South Africa painted it as a free-for-all crime zone. I'd be mugged, raped, killed, or whatnot here, they said. Don't go alone. Don't go at all. All of it, ofcourse, turned out to be overblown, panic-stricken hogwash. I navigated the country without incident. BUT I didn't just stroll into town with an open wallet either - I made sure to stay at good hotels (within my budget), keep my valuables hidden away like in a secure backpack or an inside pocket, check locally for safety advice, and use Ubers or tours wherever recommended. These weren't special safety procedures designed for South Africa, mind you, they were just common precautions I'd use in any country I was visiting. It helped my travel remain incident free, and the only time I was approached by someone mildly unsavoury was when a drunk man stumbled past saying 'Good day brother' in Bo Kaap. The biggest threat to my safety in SA turned out to be marauding monkeys at my lodge near Kruger who raided the neighbouring room's minibar and made away with milk and coffee sachets. Also, contrary to some advice, things left lying around in my hotel room as well as check-in baggage at the airports remained absolutely safe and untampered.
Power (Cuts)
Load shedding is rife, and Joburg was seeing 10-12 hours of load shedding while I was there. However, all my hotels had power backup, and all the spots I visited had power backup (wherever needed), so I effectively only ever noticed loadshedding during the switch-overs between supply and gensets in my smaller Joburg and Franschhoek hotels. I even disabled the push notifications for the power supply app (ESP) because it was of no real use to me any more. Moral of the story - make sure your hotel has power backup, and carry a power bank in the unlikely event you find yourself at a cafe without electricity. Also, check up on the power points - I didn't do my research properly and had to buy two overpriced plugs in Joburg.
Weather
Joburg had crisp weather with lots of sun, but cool temperatures. Kruger had warm days and cool nights - layers were essential! Franschhoek was kinda like Joburg weather, while Cape Town was windy and rainy. The only place I could contemplate swimming was in Kruger and in the heated pool of my Cape Town hotel.
Food
EXCELLENT everywhere, even in remote Kruger. Franschhoek, however, was a highlight - if there's one place you'd want to splurge for good food, it's here. Also helps that the wine is cheap and plentiful and sublime. For vegetarians and vegans, most restaurants had symbols identifying suitable menu items, and everyone speaks English so its easy to clarify. Would recommend making online reservations at the more popular fine dining spots.
Costs
On the whole, South Africa is very affordable for someone used to American or European or Japanese or Singaporean prices, especially with the unabated fall of the ZAR. Coming from India, however, it was a bit of a mixed bag - dining out was very cheap, and hotels were great value, but domestic flights and longer taxi transfers (like Cape Town - Franschhoek or the day tours) felt expensive. Uber rides and high street shopping were just a tad pricier than I'm used to in India while the coffee and alcohol prices were an absolute delight. Entrance tickets to most sights, however, are fairly steep and much closer to the European norm than the African or Asian. That said, major sights are professionally managed, clean, safe, and have power backup.
Tipping is expected, I'd round things upward of 10% of the bill amount, except at a fine dining experience in Franschhoek where a service charge was explicitly included and informed about. Tips can be added to the card machine and need not necessarily be paid in cash.
Paying by card is practically universal in tourist-friendly spots (including entry tickets and even for smaller payments), and I didn't need to exchange any extra cash or use an ATM. Visa and Mastercard work everywhere ofcourse, and Amex has appreciable reach as well. Diner's Club and others, however, won't help.
It's good to exchange a small amount like 100 USD to help with petty payments like parking tickets or small tips or quick bites from convenience stores.
Communication
I purchased a Vodacom sim on arrival at Johannesburg, and it worked well everywhere, even giving 5G in most of Joburg, Cape Town, and Franschhoek centre. Data and talktime prices were a tad expensive (I'm spoilt because it's dirt cheap in India), but it was easy to top things up online or at stores on-the-go.
Free WiFi was widely available at airports, tourist sights, restaurants, malls etc, and worked quite decentl
Getting around
Uber works well in Joburg and Cape Town, with many local recommending Uber X. Bolt, however, was universally NOT recommended because it wasn't very reliable. I didn't try public transport, but heard that the Gautrain in Joburg and the Myciti BRT in Cape Town were safe and good quality.
I also flew from Johannesburg to Hoedspruit and Hoedspruit to Cape Town with Airlink, which was a great little regional airline with good service, punctual arrivals/departures, and a very tourist-friendly schedule and network. The tickets were quite overpriced though, and Amex refused to work on their own website, but I did get to check-in on to business class seats on economy tickets so I guess it was good overall.
I didn't self-drive. However, I met several travellers who did it (including a German lady who was campervanning solo across the entirety of southern Africa), and they reported it being easy and safe. The only precautions were to make sure you were hiring from a reputable company, not driving too much at night (out of fear of being stranded more than anything else), and purchasing the insurance plan with the agent. I did use plenty of roads, and generally observed that most highways were in decent shape and allowed for 100+ kmph speeds. Petrol stations were plentiful, and many came attached with convenience stores and mini-malls, usually with power backup. For parking, you'd usually have a local tout popping up helping you manouevre the car and watch over it for a small 5-10 ZAR tip (don't skimp on this, as petty thieves have been known to break into unattended cars to pilfer whatever they can, though I never ever saw this in action - practically every street in every town had a parking attendant on hand).
I did cycle around Franschhoek by myself and it was fantastic, much better than the kitschy Wine Tram experience. It was also very safe, and I even biked through town for dinner and some moonlight photos. The only bugbears were car traffic on the main roads, and a caution by the bike rental shop against leaving the night lamp on the bike unattended (had to unlatch it and keep it on me instead - but still, safer than biking in Amsterdam lol).
Getting there
Joburg is the biggest international airport with the better flight deals and has direct flights to all inhabited continents. It's a fairly modern and easy-to-use terminal, and I didn't observe any of the usual scams. Cape Town is the better looking airport, but has fewer connections, although it's still easy to get here with a simple transit at a major hub like London or Dubai. Durban also has a middle-sized airport with a handful of long haul links.
Most other airports are small - Hoedspruit was basically a collection of open-to-air pavillions - and have only domestic flights to the likes of JNB or CPT. Nelspruit, in southern Kruger has a few Airlink connections with Victoria Falls and the Mozambique coast, aimed at holidayers.
As an Indian, I was eligible for an evisa but the system never worked, taking my documents but never letting me pay the application fee. I instead applied manually at Delhi's VFS centre, and got my visa in 2 days (the VFS staff also told me that the evisa portal was hopeless and I shouldn't even have bothered). The evisa system finally budged while I was en-route to JNB, telling me that my application was rejected because I never submitted a bank statement (which I did) and completely ignored the fact that I never paid for my application (thanks to the inactive payment link). The rejection clearly didn't get slotted in anywhere because Immigrations was absolutely fine with my stamped-visa and didn't bother asking me anything other than why I was visiting and when I'd leave.
I flew in on Etihad via Abu Dhabi (decent airline but the airport needs a lot of work to compete with its neighbours) and back on Emirates via Dubai (excellent airline with very generous meals and a great IFE, as well as a huge and modern megahub airport experience albeit with overpriced food and shopping). Flight timings were fairly convenient both ways, with day-time arrivals and check-ins.
People
Some of the friendliest I've ever met! Everybody is happy to have a zany chat, and conversations can quickly become pal-ly and banter-ful if you're open enough. On the whole South Africans felt fairly extroverted and loosened up - very informal and sleeves-rolled-up. You'll have to excuse yourself out of a conversation, else you'll be left talking to them the whole day and not have any time left to sightsee.
Race
Speaking as an outsider who only observed things for 10 odd days, I felt that there's still a decent amount of racial segregation at play in SA.
While many lower-paying jobs are almost exclusively held by blacks and the colours thanks to the country's history of institutionalised racism, Blacks and Coloured peoples can now also be commonly seen in upscale areas as guests and visitors. However, the majority of patrons in these locations appeared to be white and Afrikaans speaking. I also only ever saw one mixed group - a white lady entertaining a black man and his daughter at a Cape Town waterfront restaurant where I was having dinner.
I did share a few drinks with Joburg-based white couples at my safari lodge, and on the whole, they didn't feel inherently racist. They in fact remembered the Mandela and Mbeki days with pride, and felt that most of the crime in South Africa was thanks to the corruption in the African National Congress (they were all praises for the opposition who holds sway in the Cape) and immigrants from neighbouring countries - they rather trusted Black South Africans for everyday affairs. At my Cape Town hotel, meanwhile, I met a few black businessmen and politicians at the pool and gym, and they told me similar things - that the ANC was corrupt, immigrants are to blame for crime etc, and didn't really have any strong opinions about whites. These experiences contrasted greatly with my conversation with a white Afrikaner pensioner in my Zanzibar hotel ten years ago, who was spewing hate against black crime after two whiskeys.
Since I'm Indian, I was often mistaken for a local - everybody (regardless of their race) would be taken aback when they heard my accent and learnt I was actually not South African (which has a large South Asian origin community) or even African (many South Asian origin peoples in eastern Africa and Mauritius especially). This spoke volumes to me - in the UK, where I studied and which now has an Indian-origin PM and a hugely visible South Asian diaspora, people would still ask me 'what country are you from?' on appearance alone. It really did emphasize how SA was more of a rainbow nation than just a slogan.
What did I like?
Practically everything, even Joburg. The safari experience was better than I expected, Cape Town was breathtaking, and Franschhoek became my favourite little town in the world. Also loved the food and the wine, and loved meeting and chatting with the locals. Of all the countries I've visited, SA is the one I'm surest about wanting to return to - and I'm not trying to be diplomatic - I honestly felt like I need more time here.
What didn't I like?
I disliked how such a great country with excellent basic infrastructure is being mismanaged. EVERYONE I spoke to was complaining about how corruption killed the country's power supply system and railways and is now threatening other aspects of life. None of these directly or visibly impacted my travels, but I would've liked being able to take a train instead of flights or not spend a premium to stay at places that had generators.
Anything I'd change?
While Joburg turned out to be a pleasant place, had I the option, I'd have skipped it to spend more time in Cape Town. I'd also spend a few more days in Franschhoek and around - the area turned out to be my favourite. Now that I've also had a lay of the land, I'm more confident about self-driving next time I visit. Also, I only realised how convenient it is to travel from SA to neighbouring countries, and would like to latch on visits to the Namibian desert, Botswana's game parks, the Victoria Falls on the Zambia-Zimbabwe border, and the beaches of Mozambique alongside a return to SA.
I realise I could have managed some things better on this trip, but bottom line is that I enjoyed it, and that this is not a 'who had the best trip' competition. I'm just sharing my positive experience of South Africa in the hope that it encourages others to properly and safely plan a trip to the place instead of avoiding it out of second-hand-scares.
Happy to take any follow ups in the comments :)
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2023.06.02 02:24 pantaloonsss Half a day in Cozumel - most highly recommended things to do?

Hey all,
I know half a day is not nearly enough time and that a lot of that time will be spent on the ferry. However, we'd like to at least check out the island for a few hours and see what it's all about. I was just wondering what you can highly recommend?
I know scuba diving and snorkeling are pretty much the #1 thing to do, but I'm afraid we won't have ample time for this.
So far, we're considering visiting San Miguel and possibly Punta Sur Ecological Park. We'd also like to see the sunset somewhere - what places on the island are most scenic for this? Is there anything else that we must do?
How would you recommend we try to get around the island if we only have half a day? I don't think renting a car is feasible for just half a day.
What restaurants can you recommend?
We're planning to visit in the latter half of the day. We'd like to check out Rio Secreto during the first half of the day. I know.. it's going to be a very busy day, but we're somewhat accustomed to activity-filled vacations!
TIA for any suggestions!!
submitted by pantaloonsss to tulum [link] [comments]


2023.06.02 02:24 pantaloonsss Half a day in Cozumel - most highly recommended things to do?

Hey all,
I know half a day is not nearly enough time and that a lot of that time will be spent on the ferry. However, we'd like to at least check out the island for a few hours and see what it's all about. I was just wondering what you can highly recommend?
I know scuba diving and snorkeling are pretty much the #1 thing to do, but I'm afraid we won't have ample time for this.
So far, we're considering visiting San Miguel and possibly Punta Sur Ecological Park. We'd also like to see the sunset somewhere - what places on the island are most scenic for this? Is there anything else that we must do?
How would you recommend we try to get around the island if we only have half a day? I don't think renting a car is feasible for just half a day.
What restaurants can you recommend?
We're planning to visit in the latter half of the day. We'd like to check out Rio Secreto during the first half of the day. I know.. it's going to be a very busy day, but we're somewhat accustomed to activity-filled vacations!
TIA for any suggestions!!
submitted by pantaloonsss to cancun [link] [comments]


2023.06.01 20:58 Notsurewhatididwrong Want to shout out a hidden gem of a North Jersey organic food joint: Fudgarten

I spend a lot of time in Fort Lee and a few months ago I kept seeing this little “fast casual organic eatery” place near Cafe Bene where I’d usually go for coffee. The outside of the eatery was really unassuming so I had passed it up until one day I was hankering to try something new and I remembered the place.
Boy, was I glad I went there! I had a burger with potato wedges and IDK what it is about how they cook it but it tasted so fresh almost like I was biting into steak instead of burger. There was a nice slight charred flavor, with guacamole and jalapeños and a few other toppings that did not “scream” in my face with crazy overpowering flavor but rather was quite light and pleasant on the palate. As weird as it is to use a term like “refreshing” to describe savory food, that’s the best way I can describe it. The burger was so fresh that I felt really good and light after eating it (as opposed to some places where I eat and feel bloated/sweaty).
Not sure if it’s their ingredients or what but Fudgarten has sandwiches and bowls and shakes and a whole host of other things I have yet to try. I usually hit them up like twice a month and it’s been very consistent. It describes itself as “fast casual” and I’d say it’s close to that — it’s a bit slower than say a Chipotle but it’s definitely not long like ordering at a sit-down restaurant. For the quality of the food, I found it to be really worth it.
It should go without saying, this post is not sponsored or anything. In this world where it seems like every big successful restaurant is somehow associated with some kind of corporate chain, I like bringing attention to small unassuming places like this that are true and honest to what they purport on their cover and don’t really try to be more than they are. I have no idea if this place has been known/talked about for a while and I’m just only now discovering it, or if people just don’t know about Fudgarten, but if you live in Bergen County I’d recommend the trip over to Fort Lee to try it. Plus, they have their own parking (thank God!).
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2023.06.01 19:46 DenjaX First time travelling to Japan fumbles/bloopers trip report

I wish I found this subreddit sooner so I could expand my research prior visiting Japan. I only found this subreddit after I returned from the trip so after reflecting upon the trip I will write my mistakes that I made and things that I have learned so I can perhaps help other first time travellers going to Japan. It will be also useful for me in the future. PS: forgive my grammar, English is not my first language. Also a late report + numerous trip fumbles ahead so please be kind xDD
Me (30M) and my gf (25F) went on a trip to Japan April 24 - May 11, 2023. This was our first time travelling to Japan and our first time travelling in a different country by ourselves in general. We both had no experience travelling without family/experienced travellers with us so it was a bit stressful but we still had fun in general.
What we learned:
What saved us the trip:
Brief trip report:
EDIT: post formatting
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2023.06.01 19:35 AWierzOne Weekly Development round up - 6/1/23

Dick's House of Sport proposed for Amherst Commerce Park (buffalonews.com)
Under a proposal by Benderson Development Co., Dick's House of Sport would open a 120,000-square-foot store alongside an 18,516-square-foot fenced playing field with a track, bleachers and a scoreboard. Other House of Sport locations feature indoor climbing walls, putting greens, virtual golf bays, food and nutrition markets, batting cages and a "House of Cleats" specialty footwear center.
Construction Watch: 368 Sycamore Street - Buffalo Rising
Work is underway to convert a former warehouse building into the local offices of Bitwise Industries. Douglas Development is undertaking the project. The three-story, 32,698 sq.ft. building was constructed in 1949 and was most recently occupied by Concept Logistics... Bitwise’s facility will include classrooms, space for its own business, a daycare center, café, and additional space for other companies to co-locate there.
Buffalo's restaurant news for May: 5 closings, 14 openings, 14 projects underway - Buffalo Business First (bizjournals.com)
(This isn't really development news but I'm happy a Fatty's is coming Amherst).
Jemal prepares to close on Mohawk Ramp, begin redevelopment (buffalonews.com)
Douglas Development Corp. is hoping to complete its purchase of the Mohawk Ramp from the city within the next two months and then embark on a multi-year redevelopment of the parking garage and several nearby buildings that used to belong to Simon Electric Co.
Jemal won the right to redevelop the ramp following a request-for-proposals issued by the city, which is seeking to make better use of its assets. He plans to restore and upgrade the ramp before adding two more levels of parking, with 300 additional spaces, followed by four floors of apartments on top. That $45 million project will result in a mixed-use building with 927 total parking spaces underneath 200 residential units.
At the same time, Jemal intends to redevelop the seven former Simon properties located nearby on Ellicott, Huron and Oak streets. He purchased those properties – with 8,0500 square feet of existing building space on 1.8 acres – in October 2021 from Bert Simon for $5 million, before he won the Mohawk bid. Now he wants to spend another $110 million to put in 350 to 400 apartments there as well, along with 15,000 square feet of retail space.
ECIDA approves tax breaks for TM Montante project at Gates Circle medical office (buffalonews.com)
The Erie County Industrial Development Agency has approved $108,500 in tax breaks for a $3.5 million project by TM Montante Development to turn a mostly vacant former Gates Circle medical office building into 12 residential apartments and office space for a group of therapists that are currently the only tenants.
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2023.06.01 18:02 katefeetie Trip Report: 2 Weeks in Tokyo, Hakone, Kyoto, Nara, Osaka, Koyasan and Kanazawa

Since this sub was so helpful in planning, I wanted to share my itinerary and trip report! We had an incredible first time in Japan and I can't wait to go back.
Couldn't fit our (very detailed) itinerary in this post, but if you'd like to download it's here.
Medium article version with photos + itinerary is here.
And our shareable Google map is here.
About us:
Some overall learnings:
Hotel Reviews:
Tokyu Stay Shinjuku Eastside (Tokyo): This was a great basic hotel, close to plenty of transportation and right on the edge of Kabukicho. The buffet breakfast was the highlight - a great mix of Western and Japanese breakfast options, including a great miso soup.Hakone Airu (Hakone): Mixed review here. On the one hand, the in-room onsen and public onsen were both wonderful, and the service was extraordinary. On the other hand, the mix of Balinese and Japanese didn’t quite work, and dinner and breakfast were more confusing than enjoyable.Hotel Alza (Kyoto): By far our favorite stay. I can’t recommend this place enough, and it was definitely worth paying a little extra. They brought us an amazing bento breakfast in our rooms every morning, they had every amenity we could need (they even re-upped the free sheet masks every day), and the micro-bubble bath at the end of a long day of walking was amazing.Koyasan Syukubo Ekoin Temple (Mt Koya): This was a great temple experience. Koyasan in general is obviously pretty tourist-y, but Eko-in still made it feel authentic, and dinner and breakfast were both amazing. Your stay includes a meditation class, morning prayers and a morning fire ritual, and you can pay to attend a cemetery tour, all of which were great.Utaimachi (Kanazawa): We were only here for two nights, but this place was pretty good. Very close to the Higashi Chaya area, where we didn’t actually end up spending much time. Always love tatami mat flooring, and the washedryer was a nice bonus, but we were also right next to the lobby and right under another room so there was some noise.The Gate Asakusa (Tokyo): A great and very Westernized hotel with amazing views of Shinso-ji and the surrounding area. It’s on the top floors of a building right in the middle of all things Asakusa, but is still pretty quiet. And has a wonderful, deep soaking tub with free bath salts.

Tuesday: Arrival, Shinjuku

1 PM: Arrival at Haneda
We got customs and immigration forms to fill out on the plane and everything went fairly quickly. Picked up some cash and Suica cards, went to see about taking the Airport Limousine bus ($10/each) but we should have booked in advance because there wasn’t one for another hour. We ended up taking a taxi (about $50) to our hotel in Shinjuku.
4 PM: Arrival at hotel - Tokyu Stay Shinjuku East Side
We dropped our luggage and went to a nearby eel restaurant, Shinjuku Unatetsu. The eel was incredible and not too filling. Wandered Kabuki-cho for a bit, I dragged my bf through all 4 floors of Don Quijote (I had a list of beauty items to pick up), then rested at the hotel.
7 PM: Dinner in Shinjuku (Tsunahachi)
We went to Tsunahachi for dinner and got some amazing tempura (I wish we had sat at the bar to watch it being made!) and then crashed by 9 pm, because we are young and cool.

Wednesday: Harajuku, Meiji, and Shibuya

7 AM: Hotel breakfast
Up early for hotel breakfast, which has convinced bf to start making miso soup every morning.
9 AM: Shinjuku Station - Pick up JR Passes
We went to Shinjuku station to pick up our JR passes, then spent 30 minutes finding the place where we could get them before 10 AM. There was a long line (staff shortage) so we waited about an hour but we got them and headed to Harajuku.
11 AM: Meiji Shrine & Yoyogi Park
We walked to Meiji Shrine, stopping at the gardens along the way (well worth the 500y entrance fee, especially on a beautiful day). We were lucky to come across a wedding at the shrine. Then we walked around Yoyogi Park a bit.
1 PM: Lunch (Gyoza Lou)
Walked into Gyoza Lou and were seated right away. Incredible gyoza as well as beer and bean sprouts with meat sauce - maybe 10 bucks total for 2 people.
1:30 PM: Shopping/museums in Harajuku
We split up so I could do some shopping in vintage stores - Flamingo, TAGTAG and Kinji (my favorite), and bf could go to the Ota Memorial Museum for their Cats in Ukiyo-e exhibit (which he loved). I walked down Takeshita street to meet him and managed to get a green tea, strawberry and red bean paste crepe from Marion Crepes.
3 PM: Shibuya Scramble & Hachinko Statue
We grabbed the train to Shibuya, saw the scramble and the Hachinko statue, then entered the maze that is Tokyu Hands. I got some onsen powders for gifts and some more cosmetics. My boyfriend checked out the Bic camera store and I went to Gu, which is like the love child of Uniqlo and Primark. I immediately undid all the “light packing” I did with new clothes.
7 PM: Dinner Reservation - Shinjuku Kappu Nakajima
I got us a reservation a few months ago at Shinjuku Kappu Nakajima. It was probably one of the best meals of my life. The omakase came out to less than $100usd each, which felt like a steal.
9 PM: Golden Gai bar (Bar Araku)
We wandered Golden Gai and went into a bar where the entrance fee was waived for foreigners called Bar Araku. It was very small but had great vibes, highly recommend. I drank too much sake, which will be a theme.

Thursday: Shinjuku

4 AM: Earthquake
The phone alerts are insanely loud! We rushed down to the hotel lobby and the only other people there were fellow foreigners - apparently Japanese people at the hotel knew a 5.1 is okay to sleep through.
9 AM: Shinjuku Gyoen
We strolled around in the sun taking photos for about 3 hours. Today is a lot less planned than yesterday - I kind of wish I’d switched the itineraries after how long getting the JR Pass took. We did go to the fancy Starbucks, of course.
12 PM: Lunch (Kaiten Sushi Numazuto)
We tried to go to a nearby sushi place but it was full, so we walked up to Kaiten Sushi Numazuto. We were a little disappointed it wasn’t actually conveyor belt sushi (the conveyor belt was for show and you ordered from the staff). Stopped in Bic camera afterwards for a bit.
2 PM: Ninja Trick House
We tried to go to the Samurai museum but learned it closed a few weeks ago. A good excuse to go to the Ninja Trick House instead. You’re thinking: “Isn’t that place for children?” Yes. Yes it is. And we loved every minute. I now have a camera roll full of myself being terrible at throwing stars. The dream.
3 PM: Don Quijote
More Don Quijote, mostly to get out of the rain. Got my last few beauty products I really wanted and a few souvenirs. An overstimulating heaven.
6 PM: 3-hour Shinjuku Foodie Tour
We signed up for a 3-hour “foodie tour” of Shinjuku that stopped at a sushi place, a Japanese bbq spot with insane wagyu beef, and a sake tasting spot. It was great, and we loved our guide, but wished it had stopped at a few more spots to try more things.
9 PM: Walk around Shinjuku
We attempted to play pachinko, got very confused and lost $7. Tourism!

Friday: Hakone

7 AM: Set up luggage forwarding to Kyoto with hotel
Luggage forwarding is brilliant. We did it twice and it went so smoothly, for about $10 USD per bag. Highly recommend.
9 AM: Transit to Hakone
We got to experience Japanese transit at rush hour. I can’t believe I have to go back to the MTA after this. We took the subway to Tokyo station and then the Shinkansen to Odawara, then a train to Hakone-Yumoto. The hotel was only a 20-minute walk away, so we decided to take a more scenic route - which turned out to be a forest hike straight up switchbacks most of the way.
11 AM: Lunch in Hakone (Hatsuhana)
We stopped in a soba place called Hatsuhana with a system of writing your name down and waiting outside to be called in. They skipped our names because they weren’t in Japanese, but let us in when they realized their mistake. The soba was made and served by old aunties so of course it was insanely good and well worth it.
1 PM: Hakone Open Air Museum
We took the train down to the Hakone Open Air Museum, which lived up to the hype. I’m not normally into sculpture, but seeing it in nature, and the way the museum is laid out, made it incredible. And obviously the Picasso exhibit was amazing.
3 PM: Owakudani, Pirate Ship, Hakone Checkpoint
We took the train to the cable car to Owakudani, then the ropeway to Togendai, then the pirate ship ferry to Motohakone. We were running behind so unfortunately had to rush through the Hakone Checkpoint, which was empty but very cool.
6 PM: Dinner at hotel
Back to our hotel for our kaiseki meal. The staff spoke very little English and Google struggled with the menu, so we had no idea what we were eating half the time, but overall it was pretty good.
9 PM: Onsen time
Experienced my first public onsen, followed by the private onsen in our room. The tatami sleep did wonders for my back.

Saturday: Travel to Kyoto, Philosopher’s Path, Gion

8 AM: Breakfast, travel to Kyoto
Took the train to Odawara and then the Shinkansen to Kyoto station. We booked all of our Shinkansen seats about a week in advance but you can also book them on the day, I believe.
1 PM: Lunch in Gion
Our Kyoto hotel let us check in early, and then we went looking for lunch. Quickly learned that most every place in the Gion area has a line outside and closes at 2! We eventually found a tiny spot with insanely good ramen. It also had chicken sashimi on the menu but we weren’t brave enough.
2 PM: Philosopher’s Path, Ginkaku-ji
We took a bus over to the Philosopher’s Path, which was not busy at all because of the rain. It was pretty, and I could see how great it would look in cherry blossom season. We had to kind of rush to Ginkaku-ji, which was gorgeous nonetheless.
4 PM: Honen-in, Nanzen-ji
Stopped by Honen-in (which we had completely to ourselves, thanks rain!) and then Nanzen-ji. My bf is a big history guy and he went feral for the Hojo rock garden. It was very pretty and I’d love to see it in better weather.
6 PM: Food Tour of Gion & Pontocho
This food tour stopped at two places (an izakaya and a standing bar) with a walking tour of Gion and Pontocho in between. We also stopped at Yasaka shrine and caught a rehearsal of a traditional Japanese performance.
10 PM: Pain
My feet hurt so bad. Bring waterproof shoes, but make sure they don’t have 5 year old insoles. I tried some stick-on cooling acupuncture foot pads I picked up at Donki and they were bliss.

Sunday: Arashiyama, The Golden Pavilion and Tea Ceremony

8 AM: Arashiyama Bamboo Forest
The forecast was for heavy rain all day, but we lucked out and only got a few drizzles here and there. We headed to Arashiyama Bamboo Forest in the morning and it wasn’t too crowded. We did have an amazing bamboo dish at dinner last night so now bamboo makes me hungry.
10 AM: Tenryu-ji, Iwatayama Monkey Park
Headed over to Tenryu-ji, which was very nice but very crowded, and then to one of the things I looked forward to most on the trip, the Iwatayama Monkey Park. It’s a 20 minute hike up there but it is worth it. Oh my god. Getting to feed a baby monkey made my whole week.
12 PM: Lunch near Arashiyama (Udon Arashiyama-tei)
Headed back down to the main road and got duck udon at a little place called Udon Arashiyama-tei. I know I keep calling everything incredible but… yes.
1 PM: Ginkaku-ji
Ran into some bus issues (the first time we experienced anything public transit-wise not running as expected!) but eventually got over to Ginkaku-ji. It was also very crowded (seems like Japanese schools are big on field trips, which I’m jealous of) and not my favorite temple, but beautiful nonetheless.
3 PM: Daitoku-ji
We were ahead of schedule so we got to spend some time at our meeting place for the tea ceremony, Daitoku-ji. It ended up being our favorite temple, especially Daisen-in, a small and very quiet spot with a great self-guided tour. The monks showed us a section normally closed to non-Japanese tourists with beautiful calligraphy.
4 PM: Tea Ceremony (90 mins)
The tea ceremony we booked said it was in groups of up to ten, but it ended up being just us. It was very nice and relaxing, plus we got a little meal.
6 PM: Dinner (Gion Kappa), Pontocho Alley
We both nearly fell asleep on the bus back so we took it easy for the night. Went to an izakaya called Gion Kappa which had the best tuna belly we’d ever eaten, then did a quick walk around Pontocho Alley, got treats at 7-11 and went to bed early.

Monday: Fushimi Inari, Nishiki Market, Kyoto Imperial Palace (kinda)

9 AM: Fushimi Inari
Our plans to get up super early to beat the crowds to Fushimi Imari were hampered by the fact that we are no longer in our 20s. It was packed by the time we got there, and the amount of littering and defacing done by tourists was a bummer.
11 AM: Tofuku-ji
We had planned to go to the Imperial Palace at 10:30 for the Aoi Parade, but decided instead to get away from crowds by hiking from Fushimi Inari to Tofuku-ji, which was beautiful (I’d love to see it in the fall).
12 PM: Nishiki Market, lunch (Gyukatsu)
Grabbed lunch first at Gyukatsu (wagyu katsu - delicious) then wandered Nishiki a bit. It’s touristy, but fun.
2 PM: Kyoto Gyoen, Kyoto Handicraft Center
It was supposed to rain all day but ended up sunny, so we went back to the hotel to drop off our rain jackets and umbrellas. Stepped back outside and within ten minutes it was raining. We went to Kyoto Gyoen and saw the outside of the imperial palace; it was closed because of the parade earlier and half the garden was blocked off because the former emperor was visiting. Without the palace, Kyoto Gyoen is kind of meh. We walked over to Kyoto Handicraft Center which was also meh, but we picked up some nice lacquerware.
7:30 PM: Dinner at Roan Kiku Noi
We had a reservation at Roan Kiku Noi where we had maybe the best meal of our lives. Amazing that it only has two Michelin stars, honestly. Had fun trying to decipher the pain meds aisle at a Japanese pharmacy afterwards and then called it a night.

Tuesday: Day Trip to Nara

8 AM: Travel to Nara
We took the subway to the JR and were there in about an hour.
9 AM: Nara Deer Park
Two things about the Nara deer. One: if you bow to them, they bow back, and it’s very cute. And two, if you buy the 200y rice crackers to feed to them, do it somewhere where there aren’t very many of them. I got mobbed by like 15 deer and bitten 3 times. My fault for having skin approximately the shade of a rice cracker.
10 AM: Kofuku-ji, Nara National Museum
We saw Kofuku-ji and then the Nara National Museum, then stopped at a random little cafe for rice bowls with some kind of regional sauce (I can’t find it now!).
12 PM: Isetan Garden
We spent a long time finding the entrance to the Isetan garden only for it to be closed on Tuesdays.
2 PM: Giant Buddha
Saw Nandaimon Gate and the Daibutsu (giant Buddha), which are both every bit as enormous and glorious as advertised, as well as very crowded.
3 PM: Kasuga-taisha Shrine
Wandered over to Kasuga-taisha shrine, which is famous for its hundreds of lanterns and thousand-year-old trees. There’s a special inner area (paid) where you can see the lanterns lit up in the dark.
4 PM: Wait for the emperor
We got held up by a procession for, guess who, the former emperor again. Stalker.
5 PM: Nara shopping and snacks
Walked around Higashimuki Shopping Street and Mochiidono Shopping Arcade, bought a nice sake set and an amazing little hand-painted cat, ate some red bean paste pancakes and headed back to Kyoto.
7 PM: Dinner in Kyoto
Walked around Pontocho searching for dinner and landed on Yoshina, where we got even more kaiseki. Finished the night at Hello Dolly, a gorgeous jazz bar overlooking the river.

Wednesday: Day Trip to Osaka

7 AM: Depart hotel
Started by taking the subway to the JR. Took us about an hour altogether, though it would have been faster if we’d caught the express.
9 AM: Osaka Castle
We got to Osaka Castle in time for it to hit 85 degrees out. The outside of the castle is gorgeous, but the line to get in was long and I don’t know if the museum parts were worth the wait, especially with the crowds. The view from the top is nice, though.
12 PM: Okonomiyaki lunch (Abeton)
We went to an okonomiyaki spot in Avetica station called Abeton that was full of locals and absolutely bomb as hell.
1 PM: Shitteno-ji, Keitakuen Gardens
We headed to Shitteno-ji (our oldest temple yet) which was nice, though the climb to the top of then 5 story pagoda wasn’t worth the sweat. Then we walked over to Keitakuen Gardens, a small but gorgeous garden in Tennoji Park. Had a nice sit in the shade to digest and plan our next moves.
3 PM: Ebisuhigasbi, Mega Don Quijote
I am a crazy person, so I had to go to the Mega Don Quijote. We walked around Ebisuhigasbi for a while first, and while I was buying gifts in Donki, my boyfriend entered a sushi challenge for westerners (which turned out to just be “can a white boy handle wasabi”) and won a bunch of random crap! Now we own Japanese furniture wipes.
5 PM: Dotonbori & America-mura
We took the Osaka Loop to the Dotonbori area, which was super crowded as expected. We walked around America-mura and enjoyed seeing what they think of us. There are great designer vintage clothing shops here if that’s your thing.
6 PM: Dinner (Jiyuken)
We tried to get into Koni Doraku, a crab restaurant, but they were booked up, so we went to a tiny spot called Jiyuken for curry instead. I would do things for this curry. It was the platonic ideal of curry. It was served by old Japanese aunties from a very old recipe, so we knew it was going to be good, but it exceeded our wildest expectations… for <1000y each.
7 PM: Return to Kyoto
My feet were feeling real bad (the Nikes may look cool but they cannot support 25k steps a day) so we headed back to Kyoto and packed for our early morning tomorrow.

Thursday: Travel to Koyasan, Temple Stay

8 AM: Bus from Kyoto to Koyasan
The transit from Kyoto to Mt Koya is complicated, so we ended up just booking a bus directly from Kyoto Station to Koyasan (which barely cost more than public transit!). We got there bright and early for the 3 hour trip - if you take a bus out of Kyoto Station I definitely recommend giving yourself extra time to navigate to the right bus.
11 AM: Arrive at Eko-in, lunch
We arrived in Mt Koya and checked in to our temple, Eko-in. The quiet and the beauty hit me hard and I fell asleep for a few hours. We got a nice lunch at Hanabishi in town.
4 PM: Meditation class, dinner
The temple offered a meditation class, which was lovely, followed by a vegan dinner in our rooms. I can’t explain how peaceful this place was.
7 PM: Okuno-in Cemetery
We signed up for a monk-led tour of Okuno-in, which was definitely worth it. Came back for some public baths and fell asleep to the sound of rainfall.

Friday: Travel to Kanazawa, Higashi Chaya District

7 AM: Service & ritual at Eko-in
The day started with a religious service and a fire ritual at the temple. Both were stunning. I did wish that my fellow tourists had been a bit more respectful by showing up on time and following directions, but luckily, no one has more patience than a Buddhist monk.
9 AM: Travel to Kanazawa
We took a taxi through some sketchy mountain roads to Gokurakubashi Station, took two trains to Osaka Station, and then the JR Thunderbird to Kanazawa.
1 PM: Arrive at Kanazawa, Lunch (Maimon)
We got into Kanazawa station and went straight for a sushi spot called Maimon, which was delicious. Struggled a bit with the bus system and eventually got to our hotel, Utaimachi.
4 PM: Higashi Chaya District
Wandered the Higashi Chaya district a bit. It seemed kind of dead, but maybe we are just used to the hustle and bustle of Tokyo/Kyoto.
7 PM: Korinbo, dinner (Uguisu)
Walked down to the Korinbo area southwest of the park and found a tiny ramen spot called Uguisu. Incredible. Some of the best broth I’ve ever tasted plus amazing sous vide meats.
9 PM: Bar in Korinbo (Kohaku)
Went to a little upstairs whiskey bar called Kohaku. Boyfriend got Japanese whiskey and they made me a custom cocktail with sake, pineapple and passion fruit that was just insane. They were very nice and talked baseball with us for a while.

Saturday: Omicho Market, Kanazawa Castle, 21st Century Museum

9 AM: Kenroku-en Garden
We walked over to Kenroku-en Gardens, which were as beautiful as advertised. I was hurting pretty bad (crampy ladies, just know Japanese OTC painkillers are much weaker than ours, BYO Advil) so we’re moving slowly today.
12 PM: Omicho Market, lunch (Iki-Iki Sushi)
Walked to Omicho Market and ate little bits from different stalls, then waited about an hour to get into Iki-Iki Sushi. It was worth it. Some of the best, freshest sushi of my life.
2 PM: Kanazawa Castle, 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art
We walked around Kanazawa Castle a bit, then walked over to the 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art. It was packed and the line to get tickets to the special exhibits was crazy, so we looked at the free ones and then headed back. Along the way we stopped in a few little stores and bought some handcrafted lacquerware from a local artist.
6 PM: Onnagawa Festival, dinner (Huni)
As we walked towards the restaurant, we came upon the Onnagawa Festival on the Plum Bridge, which included a beautiful dancing ceremony and lantern lighting. We went to Huni for dinner, our first “westernized Japanese” restaurant, and it was fantastic. 9 dishes served slowly over 3 hours at a table overlooking the river. Highly recommend if you’re in Kanazawa.
10 PM: Why does the bathtub have a phone
We went back to our hotel, struggled with the automated bathtub, and enjoyed our last night on tatami floors.

Sunday: Travel to Tokyo, Tokyo Giants Game, Ueno Park

7 AM: Travel to Tokyo
Grabbed a taxi we arranged the night before to Kanazawa Station - it would have been an easy bus journey but our number of bags has increased - and boarded the Shinkansen for Tokyo.
12 PM: Travel to Tokyo Dome and Tokyo Dome Park
Dropped our bags at our hotel in Asakusa, then headed for Tokyo Dome. We got there a little early to look around - there’s basically a full mall and food court and amusement park there. We grabbed some beers and some chicken katsu curry that was delicious.
2 PM: Tokyo Giants vs Chunichi Dragons
Japanese baseball games are so. much. fun. This was a random mid season game, and the stadium was full and people were amped. I’ve been to many American baseball games and never seen fans this excited. We also scored some fried cheese-wrapped hot dogs on a stick and a few more beers and had the time of our lives cheering for the Giants.
5 PM: Ueno Park
After trying and failing to find the jersey we were looking for, we walked to Ueno Park and looked around a bit. It was lovely, but we were exhausted and full of too many beers, so we headed back to Asakusa.
7 PM: Dinner in Asakusa
There was a festival all day around Shinso-ji and there were a ton of street vendors and day-drunk people when we arrived in the afternoon (as a native Louisianan, I approve) and it seemed like the partiers were going on into the night. We ducked into a restaurant for some buckwheat soba (never got the name, but it was only okay) and tucked in early.

Monday: Tsukiji Food Tour, Kapabashi Dougu, Akihabara

8 AM: 3-hour Tsukiji Food Tour + lunch
We started the day with a Tsukiji food tour, which ended up being my favorite food tour of the 3 by far. The guide was great, and we stopped by a dozen food stalls and sampled everything from mochi to fresh tuna to octopus cakes. We finished with lunch at Sushi Katsura, where our chef prepared everything in front of us.
12 PM: Imperial Palace, Don Quijote
We were planning to spend the afternoon exploring the Imperial Palace and Edo Castle Ruins, but it was hot and the palace was closed, so we walked to Taira no Masakado's Grave, then headed back to Asakusa for, you guessed it, Don Quijote. I did not intend for this trip to be “guess how many Don Quijotes I can visit” but here we are. We bought another suitcase and I filled it with food and gifts to bring home.
3 PM: Kappabashi Dougu
We walked Kappabashi Dougu and browsed kitchenwares while wishing we had a bigger kitchen, an unlimited budget and a way to get a hundred pounds of porcelain home in one piece.
6 PM: Akihabara dinner + games + drinks
We took the train to Akihabara, got dinner at Tsukada Nojo, then played games in a few arcades and ended the night at Game Bar A-button, which lets you play vintage handheld games while you drink.

Tuesday: Senso-ji, Flight

9 AM: Breakfast, Senso-ji
We got breakfast pancakes at Kohikan, then walked around Senso-ji and the surrounding shopping streets for a while.
12 PM: McDonald’s
Look, I couldn’t leave Japan without doing it, okay? I got the Teriyaki Chicken Burger (too sloppy and sweet) and bf got the Ebi Filet-O (he said it tasted exactly like a Filet-O-Fish). It was not great but I deserve that!
3 PM: Cab to the airport
I caught the flu on the flight home and have now been in bed for a week! Welcome back to America, baby.
submitted by katefeetie to JapanTravel [link] [comments]


2023.06.01 17:41 gemino1990 Just got back home- here’s my review

My family of four stayed at the Conrad which is really close to Akumal for 6 days and then one night in Cancun before we left.
We rented a car from easyway which was no problem at all except I am still waiting to get the deposit back. I was really paranoid about being pulled over after reading some posts on here but we never had an issue. Renting a car was nice, but driving into Tulum was kind of a nightmare with the car. Parking was extremely hard to find and the cops at the beginning of town really made me nervous. The other drivers in Mexico are really aggressive so you have to pay close attention to avoid accidents.
The resort we stayed at was beautiful and the seaweed really wasn’t an issue until a storm came in on one of our last nights and then we could really see what everyone was talking about. There was tons of seaweed floating and the water looked brown instead of the pretty blue that we saw all the days before. We did have an issue at checkin where our room wasn’t ready at 6pm which was extremely frustrating considering we had been traveling since 3am that morning and we were wearing sweatpants and tennis shoes. We also brought a 12 pack of beer to the resort and the staff misplaced it. I had to ask about it and then they figured out where it was and brought it to our room. Our problems were resolved with a $100 credit to our bill. The restaurants and alcohol on our resort were extremely expensive. Luckily the 2 adults got free breakfast every day and we mostly went off the resort to stock up on booze and snacks and sometimes ate a late lunch in town.
We visited Akumal and I loved it much more than Tulum. It was much less stressful to park and we took the snorkel tour with the turtles and the beach was nice there.
We also went to casa tortugas cenotes which was a really great experience just make sure you bring a waterproof cellphone case and cash rather than card.
On our way back to Cancun we stopped at playa del Carmen which was really beautiful and had tons of shopping. Lots of people thought we were Canadian and we constantly trying to pull us into their shops placing necklaces on my daughters and pressuring us to buy shit we didn’t want. We ended up avoiding 5th avenue on the walk back to our car so we wouldn’t get hassled.
Cancun was actually really awesome because everything was so convenient. ATMs were easy to find and the hotel we stayed at was walking distance from all the cool stuff.
The cons:
Not following advice on how to convert money was super annoying. We found ourselves searching for a working atm multiple times and we were paranoid about using the random ones in Tulum. Our hotel had two machines but the pesos machine was out of order and the usd machine charged us nearly $30 to take out $200. I got ripped off $20 at a money exchange in playa del Carmen where the lady said I gave her $20 less than I did and then when I called her out she said “no ingles” I realized I shouldn’t have tried to convert as much money as I did and that would have helped in that scenario.
Also got ripped off at the gas station. I gave the guy a $20 and turned around and he had $1 in his hand instead. At the time I didn’t realize what had happened so I didn’t know until we got back to the hotel and I read the post on here and realized that’s a common scam.
In Cancun we were set on eating tacos and we found this little taco shop that we had to go get money out for. We came back and sat down and started to order and the lady told us all the prices on the menu were actually 20 pesos more than what was listed. It was a slap in the face but we paid it anyway.
And the last downside is that because we did eat off the resort a few times, my husband and I are suffering from diarrhea still.
Overall we had a great time but it does feel shitty being taken advantage of because I’m a white tourist. I want to support these Mexican vendors but found myself sticking to shops where prices are listed to avoid being haggled and ripped off. Oh an we never had any moment where we didn’t feel safe.
submitted by gemino1990 to tulum [link] [comments]


2023.06.01 16:46 IdRatherBeLurking Watch Part Megathread Find a party near you!

It's gameday! There's watch parties going down across the globe, so share any you know of here and I'll link them in the thread.
Denver
Boulder
Fort Collins
Longmont
Westminster
Portland
NYC
Detroit
Chicago
San Francisco
Boston
Pittsburgh
Utah
South Carolina
Florida
Serbia
Canada
submitted by IdRatherBeLurking to denvernuggets [link] [comments]


2023.06.01 14:12 sonofabutch No game today, so let's remember a forgotten Yankee: Jackie Jensen, "The Golden Boy"

Jackie Jensen, "The Golden Boy", was a superstar athlete in the 1940s who seemed destined for greatness as the heir to Joe DiMaggio... only to be supplanted by a different golden boy, the great Mickey Mantle.
Jensen would eventually live up to the hype, but with the Red Sox -- but his career ended prematurely because, as baseball expanded to the west coast, his fear of flying made road games unbearable!
The Yankees between 1947 and 1964 were utterly dominant, winning 15 pennants and 10 World Series. And it wasn't just the major league team that was successful. The Yankees of this era were loaded up and down the system, from Rookie ball to their two Triple-A teams!
With such a loaded major league roster, the Yankees had many talented players stuck either on the end of the bench or in the minors who would eventually find an opportunity with other teams, including Bob Cerv, Vic Power, Gus Triandos, Lew Burdette, Jerry Lumpe, Bob Porterfield, and Bob Keegan, all named All-Stars with other teams after leaving the Yankees. Clint Courtney would be the 1952 A.L. Rookie of the Year runner-up after the Yankees traded him to the Browns, and Bill Virdon was the 1955 N.L. Rookie of the Year with the Cardinals (and then Yankee manager from 1974 to 1975!).
But the most talented player who just couldn't find the playing time in New York was Jack Eugene Jensen, born March 9, 1927, in San Francisco. His parents divorced when he was 5, and he grew up poor, his mother working six days a week, 12 hours a day. Jensen said the family moved 16 times between kindergarten and eighth grade -- "every time the rent came due."
After serving in the U.S. Navy during World War II, Jensen went to the University of California in 1946 on the G.I. Bill. There he became one of the most famous college players in the country, leading Cal to the Rose Bowl. In 1947, he was the starting fullback as well as the team's top defensive back, and in 1948, he rushed for 1,000 yards and was an All-American.
He also was a tremendous two-way baseball player, pitching and hitting for the Golden Bears in 1947 as the won the very first College World Series, beating a Yale team that had George H.W. Bush playing first base. In 1949, he was an All-American in baseball, too.
His blond hair, good looks, and athletic accomplishments earned him the nickname "The Golden Boy."
Halfway through his junior year, Jensen left Berkeley to turn pro. Jensen would later say he couldn't risk playing a career-ending injury playing for free while teams -- baseball and football -- were trying to sign him to big-money contracts.
"There was a money tree growing in my backyard. Why shouldn't I pluck off the dollars when I wanted to?"
Jensen considered a number of offers, including from the Yankees, before signing a three-year, $75,000 contract with the Oakland Oaks of the Pacific Coast League. Jensen said he thought he'd face better competition in the Pacific Coast League, the top minor league of the era, than he would at the bottom of the Yankee farm system. He was right about it being more of a challenge -- he hit an unimpressive .261/.317/.394 in 510 plate appearances with the Oaks.
At the end of the year, the Oaks sold his contract (and that of Billy Martin, another Northern California kid) to the Yankees.
That same year, Jensen married his high school sweetheart, Zoe Ann Olsen, an Olympic diver. (By age 18, she had won 14 national diving championships and a silver medal in the 1948 Olympics.) "Together they looked like a Nordic god and goddess," Sports Illustrated reported. Nicknamed "the sweethearts of sports," they were the Dansby Swanson and Mallory Pugh of their era. More than 1,000 people attended their wedding.
Jensen would start the 1950 season not in the minors but in the Bronx. He joined the Yankees in a time of flux. They though they'd won the 1949 World Series, the Yankees knew they had to make some changes, with 35-year-old Joe DiMaggio nearing the end of his career. And their heir apparent was not Mickey Mantle -- at the time an 18-year-old shortstop playing in the Class C league, the equivalent of A-ball today -- but the 23-year-old Jensen.
But Jensen disappointed, hitting just .171/.247/.300 in 70 at-bats, and only starting in 13 games. Watching from the bench most of the season, Jensen would later lament the lost year of development, saying he'd have been better off playing every day in the Pacific Coast League.
The Yankees won the pennant for a second straight year, and in the World Series he once again was left on the bench. His only action was as a pinch runner in Game 3 as the Yankees swept the Phillies. That "Moonlight Graham" appearance would be his only taste of the post-season in an 11-year career.
The following year would be DiMaggio's last, and Mantle's first. Jensen began the year as the Yankees' starting left fielder and proved he belonged, hitting .296/.371/.509 through the end of July... and then, shockingly, was demoted to Triple-A and replaced with previously forgotten Yankee Bob Cerv.
I can see why they called up Cerv -- the University of Nebraska stand-out was tearing up Triple-A, leading the American Association in batting average (.349), home runs (26), triples (21), RBIs (101), and total bases (261) -- but why demote Jensen, who had a 140 OPS+ in the majors? Maybe the Yankees felt the brash 23-year-old needed to be taken down a peg. In any event, Cerv hit just .214/.333/.250 in August and was sent back to Triple-A, but Jensen also was left down there. He hit .263/.344/.469 and was recalled after the Triple-A season ended, only getting into three games (he went 3-for-9).
Mantle, too, had started the season with the Yankees, and after hitting .260/.341/.423 through the middle of July, was sent down to Triple-A. But he hit .361/.445/.651 in 166 at-bats, and unlike Jensen was back in the bigs by August 24. He would play pretty much every game the rest of the season, hitting .284/.370/.495 in 95 at-bats.
The torch had clearly been passed -- Jensen was no longer the heir apparent to DiMaggio. In the World Series that year, Mantle was the starting right fielder, and Jensen wasn't even on the post-season roster.
Jensen was so disappointed with how the Yankees had treated him in 1951 that he talked to the San Francisco 49ers about switching to pro football, but ultimately decided to stick with baseball.
Never shy about what he said to reporters, Jensen told The Sporting News on October 24, 1951:
"I felt so badly about the treatment that I received from the Yankees that, although I was in New York at the end of the season, I didn't feel like sticking around to even watch the club play in any of the World's Series games."
"I do not feel the Yankees were justified in sending me to the minor leagues. When I was shipped to Kansas City, I was doing as good a job as any Yankee outfielder and better than some of them. I was hitting .296, which was ten points better than Hank Bauer and 30 points better than Joe DiMaggio, Gene Woodling and Mickey Mantle. Yet Casey Stengel didn't give me the chance I felt I deserved."
Despite blasting his manager in the press, Jensen was still the property of the Yankees. That off-season, teams were circling, hoping to pry away the talented but disgruntled outfielder. There were newspaper reports of offers from the St. Louis Browns, the Detroit Tigers, the Philadelphia Athletics, the Washington Senators, the Cleveland Indians, and the Boston Red Sox -- with one rumor being Ted Williams to the Bronx in exchange for Jensen and several other players. (A Red Sox scout called the rumored deal "a lot of hogwash.")
Sportswriters spent the off-season speculating whether DiMaggio would retire, and if he did, whether Jensen or Mantle would take over as the center fielder, as there were still concerns that Mantle, who had hurt his knee in the 1951 World Series, wouldn't be fully recovered by the start of the season.
On Opening Day, April 16, 1952, it was Jackie Jensen in center and Mickey Mantle in right. Jensen went 0-for-5 with a GIDP; Mantle, 3-for-4 with a double, a walk, and a stolen base! Seven games into the season, Jensen was 2-for-17 (.118) and found himself on the bench. He'd never play for the Yankees again. On May 3, the Golden Boy was traded to the Washington Senators along with Spec Shea, Jerry Snyder, and Archie Wilson in exchange for Irv Noren and Tom Upton.
In two years with the Senators, Jensen hit an impressive .276/.359/.407 (112 OPS+), but the team was terrible, and Jensen wasn't happy. Still just 26 years old, he later said he had almost quit after the 1953 season... particularly after a harrowing flight to Japan for a series of exhibition games with a squad of All-Stars that included Yankees Yogi Berra, Eddie Lopat, and Billy Martin. That experience gave Jensen a lifelong fear of flying, a phobia that became so intense eventually he could only fly with the help of sleeping pills... and a hypnotist!
He might have quit if not for the trade on December 9, 1953, that sent him to the Boston Red Sox for pitcher Mickey McDermott and outfielder Tom Umphlett. He was homesick, he hated flying, and he now had two little kids at home. Red Sox general manager Joe Cronin convinced Jensen to come to the Red Sox, telling him that Fenway Park was tailor made for his swing. Cronin was right: Jensen was a career .279/.369/.460 hitter, but .298/.400/.514 at Fenway.
It was in Boston that Jensen finally lived up to the hype, becoming a two-time All-Star and winning the A.L. MVP Award in 1958 and a Gold Glove in 1959. During his seven seasons in Boston, he hit .282/.374/.478 in 4,519 plate appearances. In his MVP season, Jensen hit .286/.396/.535 (148 OPS+) with 31 doubles, 35 home runs, and a league-leading 122 RBIs. During his peak with the Red Sox, 1954 to 1959, Jensen's average season was .285/.378/.490 (127 OPS+) with 28 doubles, 26 home runs, 111 RBIs, 14 stolen bases, and 3.6 bWAR. During those six seasons, no one in the American League -- not Mickey Mantle, not Ted Williams, not Al Kaline -- had more runs batted in than Jackie Jensen.
Of course, Mantle was the far better player -- even in Jensen's MVP season, Mantle had more runs, hits, home runs, walks, and a 188 OPS+ -- but Jensen's 127 OPS+ between 1954 and 1959 would have been an upgrade over the aging Hank Bauer's 110 OPS+ in right or the left field merry-go-round of Norm Siebern (113 OPS+), Irv Noren (107 OPS+), Enos Slaughter (103 OPS+), and previously forgotten Yankee Hector Lopez (101 OPS+). Casey Stengel would later say the Jensen trade was the worst one the Yankees had made while he was manager.
Despite his success, Jensen was sometimes booed by the Boston fans, just as they sometimes booed Ted Williams. There even was an article in Sport magazine, "What Do They Want From Jackie Jensen?", taking Red Sox fans to task for their unreasonably high demands from the Golden Boy. In 1956, in a game at Fenway Park against the Yankees, the hometown fans were razzing Jensen so much that teammates had to restrain him from going into the stands after a fan. Later that same game, Williams misplayed a wind-blown fly ball from Mantle, and the fans booed lustily. The very next play, Williams made a leaping catch at the scoreboard to rob Yogi Berra of a double. But Williams, still furious, spit into the crowd. He was later fined $5,000.
And Jackie was unhappy to be away from home. He and Zoe Ann had bought a house near Lake Tahoe, where they could both ski and golf year-round, as well as hit the casinos. They also had a home in Oakland, and a restaurant there, and each year Jensen hosted a pro-am golf tournament. But the marriage was struggling. Zoe Ann, once nationally known for her Olympic exploits, was frustrated to be a stay-at-home mom in the shadow of her famous husband, and Jackie became angry if she engaged in her favorite outdoor hobbies, suspecting there were men around.
Jensen's fear of flying also had become even more intense. Sometimes he was so drugged up that he had to be carried on and off the plane, fueling rumors that he was a drunk. Other times he took trains or even drove while his teammates flew.
Once again Jensen was talking about retirement, and in Spring Training 1957, the Red Sox allowed him to train with the San Francisco Seals, Boston's Triple-A team, rather than having to go to Florida. But he was still miserable. That year, he told Sports Illustrated:
“In baseball you get to the point where you don’t think you have a family. It just looks like I’m not built for this life like some ballplayers. You are always away from home and you’re lonesome, and as soon as I can, I intend to get out.”
The 32-year-old Jensen announced his retirement after the 1959 season, and he spent 1960 home with Zoe Ann and their children and running his restaurant. But he returned in 1961. After hitting just .130 in April, Jensen took a train from Detroit home to Reno, determined to quit once again. After a week away, he rejoined the team and had six hits in his next 10 at-bats. By the end of the season he was at .263/.350/.392, and he quit again. This time for good.
After leaving baseball, Jensen invested in real estate and a golf course, but lost most of his money. He then got a job working for a Lake Tahoe casino, was a national spokesman for Camel cigarettes, Wonder Bread, and Gillette, and even tried selling cars. Ironically, Jackie found himself on the road almost as much as he had been as a ballplayer. In 1963, he and Zoe Ann divorced, remarried, and then divorced again.
In 1967, Jensen became a TV sportscaster, married his producer Katharine Cortesi, and eventually teamed up with Keith Jackson calling college football games for ABC, and was a college baseball coach, first at the University of Nevada-Reno and then at the University of California. He managed the Red Sox team in the New York Penn League in 1970. In 1977, Jackie and Katharine moved to Virginia and started a Christmas tree farm while he coached baseball at a military academy. About five years later, on July 14, 1982, he died of a heart attack at age 55.
You Don't Know Jack(ie):
In 1958, Jensen told Sports Illustrated that the biggest thrill of his career wasn't being an All-American or an All-Star, it wasn't winning an MVP or a World Series. "The biggest is having played in the same outfield with both DiMaggio and Williams."
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2023.06.01 14:11 lakshay0106 Looking For Some Pet friendly hotels in Helen GA ?

Here are Some Pet friendly hotels in Helen GA :-
  1. Helendorf River Inn & Conference Center: A pet-friendly hotel situated on the banks of the Chattahoochee River, offering comfortable accommodations and a pet-friendly policy.
  2. Unicoi State Park & Lodge: Located in a picturesque state park, this lodge welcomes pets in select cabins, allowing you to enjoy nature with your furry friend.
  3. Riverbend Motel & Cabins: Pet-friendly accommodations with cozy cabins and a peaceful riverside location, perfect for a relaxing getaway with your pet.
  4. Heidi Motel: A family-owned motel that welcomes pets, providing affordable accommodations and easy access to Helen's attractions and activities.
  5. Country Inn & Suites by Radisson, Helen, GA: This hotel offers pet-friendly rooms, complimentary breakfast, and a convenient location near downtown Helen's shops and restaurants.
Visit us For More Information :- Pet Friendly Hotels In Helen GA
submitted by lakshay0106 to u/lakshay0106 [link] [comments]


2023.06.01 14:00 Nominar A love story about a childhood friend reconnected - is there any hope?

I (34m) recently reconnected with a childhood friend (34f) of mine from elementary school through tinder. She was my favorite friend from those early years, we lived across the street from each other. Even my very first memory from my very first year of school is of her. She moved away sometime after fourth grade.
She wasn't just some random girl I fell for, she was one of my best childhood friends. A part of who I am today.
We connected quickly, sparks flying in text, and decided to move it to instagram. She was very enthusiastic in meeting me and we set up a date. I picked her up from her home and we went for a walk in a park with my dog. It was unbelievable how much we had in common, from interests to values. It was too good to be true. After the walk I casually mentioned I had placed a reservation at a restaurant near her. She was happy to extend the date so we drove to her place and walked to the restaurant. Ended up being a 4hr date, felt fucking magical. At the end of the date we hugged and she suggested we meet again next week.
The next few days I text her once a day, but I get this dreadful feeling I've felt before. She was pulling back, not being as responsive as before.
Finally she texts me this: "I've been thinking and need to say it out loud. Two things that I feel are semi red flags. First you said on your tinder profile you're not sure if you want kids. I had to end my last relationship because of this and I don't want to go through it again. Second, we are at nowhere at the same place in life. I'm completely done with my backpacking trips and ready for the next chapter of my life."
Now, I want to travel more but I exaggerated my desire a bit to, not really impress her, but express my adventurousness. But I'm never going on a long backpacking trip at this point tbh. And regarding kids, I was not being honest/accurate on tinder. I want a family more than anything in this life. (I've learned my lesson, I thought for some reason it would push girls away, and boy was I fucking stupid, ofc it pushes girls away but those are not the right girls for me) I explained both to her in text.
And just to be clear, I really want a committed relationship and a family more than anything.
I double texted a few hours later, thanking her for the date and telling her I hope we could still be friends. I thought this text might give her a way out, if she really wanted out.
Then my dumb ass triple texted her at 2am because I was having an anxiety attack like I've never had before. It felt like I was drugged up, I have never experienced something like this. My text was: "I can't sleep because of how dumb I was to not be honest. I want a family with the right girl, and I believed it might be you. It would take priority over all dumb travel plans. Sorry for opening up like that, I feel like a total idiot."
She did not log into ig for about 2 days after she sent me her message and so didn't read any of my messages until then.
She finally replied "Sorry, I had a bit of a breakdown. I think I'm not ready yet, I think I need a bit more time before I can continue. Thanks for the evening though, it was very nice. Can I maybe contact you later when I'm feeling better."
I would have taken it as a rejection if she hadn't added that last line "can I maybe contact you later when I'm feeling better". I don't understand why she added that line if she was rejecting me.
I replied of course, and that she should take her time.
Two weeks pass, and my anxiety and depression is killing me. I decide to send her a message saying "Hey, how are you feeling? I know it's not been long, but I just wanted to check up on you. I want you to know I fully understand if you are healing and need more time. Emotionally I am ready to try to build up a relationship and would be more than happy to meet you again if you feel the same."
She read the message. 3 weeks have passed since then.
My mental health has plummeted. I continued talking to and dating other girls, because I know I can't just stop and wait for her, because I don't even know if she'll reach out to me again. But all I can think about is her. And that is not fair to other girls I'm dating. If she reached out I would drop all other girls.
Am I out of line here thinking there is still a chance? Wtf do I do? I am trying to move on but I just can't because there is still this tiny hope. I've kinda just accepted I have to live with this crazy anxiety for the foreseeable future because wtf am I supposed to do? I can't force myself to forget her, I've often thought of her before we reconnected. And I can't just go to her house and demand an answer, that's fucking stalker territory and I would just selfishly be making this about me when she clearly expressed she was still processing her previous breakup.
Back in my mind I fear she was rejecting me and is seeing other guys. But I can't reach that conclusion because of our history and the last thing she said to me.
Ultimately I will need an answer though. This is not your typical ghost story so don't tell me I have my answer if she never contacts me again. We were friends. I wanted to regain my childhood friend even if a relationship would not work out. I feel as if I lost my friend all over again, and that is the worst part.
submitted by Nominar to dating_advice [link] [comments]


2023.06.01 12:23 bloggenics Casagrand Bangalore: A Haven for Luxurious Living in Bangalore

Casagrand Bangalore: A Haven for Luxurious Living in Bangalore
About Casagrand Bangalore:
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Casagrand - Good Amenities and Securities
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2023.06.01 10:25 vythathin Trip report: 12 days in Japan as vegans (Tokyo, Yudanaka, Hida Furukawa, Kyoto, Hakone, Tokyo)

I found lurking on this forum really useful for planning our trip, so thought I'd return the favour by posting about our trip here - with some extra tips for travelling as vegan or vegetarian! We just got back a few days ago and I'm already itching to go again. I think our interests generally align with what many people want when they go to Japan - nerdy stuff, food, temples and pretty locations. I hope the below is useful to someone, and happy to answer any questions (whether on food or just something we visited!).
**General tips:*\*
1) Learn some basic Japanese: I've seen this one come up quite a few times and can only echo it - while there certainly are Japanese people with excellent English skills, it will smooth the way so much more if you learn to speak some Japanese. Any attempts at Japanese were always met with a much friendlier response than tourists we saw speaking English, and it was especially helpful in the two ryokans we stayed at, where we had much more conversation with our hosts and they seemed much more comfortable communicating in Japanese (also we got some free apple jam!). Personally I taught myself from the basics because I had time/that's how my brain works (hiragana, katakana, then learning vocab + grammar) - but learning some modular phrases will help, e.g. '____ doko desu ka?' (where is ____?), '____ arimasu ka?' (is there ____?), and 'kore wa hitotsu/futatsu/mittsu o kudasai' (one/two/three of this please).
2) For dietary requirements, do your research and book in advance: There are quite a few helpful guides online for vegan diets, including the IG account 'tokyoveganguide', the website 'isitveganjapan' (https://isitveganjapan.com/food-on-the-go/507-2/), Vegewel (https://vegewel.com/en/area/) and some articles on matcha-jp (https://matcha-jp.com/en/7716). We ate really well while out and about and could pick up certain street snacks - but again, being able to communicate in Japanese helped a lot here (see tip 1). As you probably know, vegan diets aren't well understood in Japan, and they're often shocked to find out you won't eat fish OR fish-based dashi. I've mentioned some of the standout places we ate at below. At conbini/kiosks, plain rice and salted onigiri, as well as the salted ume (plum) onigiri are typically vegan. Mochi are also often a good bet, as are jelly sweets (tend to use agar rather than gelatin). It can be helpful to know the kanji for fish (魚), meat (肉) and eggs (卵). Milk products are often listed in katakana as cream (クリーム) or similar, but could be listed as cow's milk (牛乳). Translate apps can be helpful but it's about 50/50 helpful versus 'hilarious result'.
3) As a vegan, don't expect your western-style hotel to provide breakfast (but a ryokan will!): We generally found that big western style hotels just.. did not provide anything viable for breakfast. You might have been able to negotiate a bowl of plain rice and a piece of fruit, but ultimately we ended up eating breakfast elsewhere (but see tip 4!) and in the future I wouldn't bother opting in for breakfast unless I could verify with the hotel in advance that they had options. However, ryokans were very accommodating so long as you communicated with them in advance, and the two we stayed at provided a list of dietary requirements at the start of our stay that we could tick to indicate what we could eat.
4) Most coffee shops/food places won't open until 10am: It was a bit of a struggle to find places open early enough for us to have breakfast before heading out. We did bring a few cereal bars for this eventuality! But if you research you can find a few places that open at 7am (in Tokyo we went to Komeda Is in Ginza, in Kyoto, the IMU hotel).
5) Always have some cash: We didn't need a phenomenal amount of cash on our trip, although we were also not skimping on spending (we took out 70,000 yen, or about £400, and that was about right) - many taxis, shops and restaurants took cards if needed. However, cash-only purchases did pop up unexpectedly - for example, in one of our very nice upmarket hotels that 100% had a card reader, sending our luggage by takkyubin for some reason was a cash-only purchase. A lot of smaller shops and little cafes will take cash only. If you want to use a card, you can check at the till with the phrase "caa-do wa ii desu ka?" (is card ok?).
6) Be prepared to walk: I know this one is said a lot - it depends what you're used to. We did in the range of 15-30,000 steps a day, and I was fine with a pair of foldable ballet flats and a pair of Vans. However we did bring blister plasters and a blister stick just in case! We also found lots of fun little shops/places by simply walking instead of taking transport, so if you have time it's highly recommended. As you will see below, we broke up the two major destinations (Tokyo/Kyoto) with smaller, slower-paced places. That helped a lot!
7) Build in extra time for navigating public transport: Yea, you probably think you're used to big transit systems - we certainly did. However it's just not always clear which exit you want to get to or how to get there, especially if you're not familiar with the station and surrounding area. Whenever we were pressed for time (for example, when transferring to shinkansen or needing to grab snacks before getting a train) we looked up a map of the station first to plan our route. You probably already know this, but I promise you are NOT ready for Shinjuku station.
8) If you're worried about temple fatigue, collect goshuin: This has been written about extensively elsewhere although I'm happy to share my experiences. Goshuin are a stamp/calligraphy combination you can get at many temples and shrines. They're a very beautiful memento. You need a special accordion-style book (goshuincho) for them that you can buy in advance (I did) or at your first temple (usually 1200-2000 yen). Collecting a goshuin usually costs 300-500 yen and a couple of minutes of your time. You should only collect a goshuin after paying your respects at the temple. Generally the process is just to approach the desk (it's generally quite obvious, and there may be pictures of goshuin on the window of the booth - in some places you choose which one you want), and present your book with both hands, open to the relevant page, asking 'goshuin o onegaishimasu'. They might take your book and give you a number (in which case, you need to wait), or they might do the goshuin then and there - it depends on how busy the temple is.
9) You probably won't be able to check-n early: Of all the places we stayed, only one allowed us to check in before 3pm. However, you should be able to leave any bags with them - just be prepared! If you want to drop off your bags, you can say the following: "Nimotsu o azukatte mo ii desu ka?" (more or less: May we leave our luggage here?).

**Brief trip report:*\*
Day 0: We got our flight to Tokyo (14h). We flew Japan Airlines - the vegan meals were.. ok? But the snack was the infamous (iykyk) banana. Everyone else got an interesting snack, so it was sad to just have a banana. I would pack my own snacks next time!
Day 1: Land in Tokyo. Staying in the Ginza area. We got in to the airport relatively late (6pm) so we grabbed a snack locally once we got to our hotel (2foods Ginza) and went to sleep!
Day 2 Tokyo (~26,000 steps). Breakfast at Komeda Is, Ginza. Kokyo Gaien National Gardens (near to our hotel), then walk around the Yanaka Old District, bought some tea/crackers (often vegan but check), train to Asauksa to see Senso-Ji (there happened to be a festival on while we were there so it was packed, but I got a special goshuin!), then across to Akihabara. It started raining but was mostly ok as we were running from indoor shop to indoor shop. We had lunch at a shojin-ryori place in Akihabara station. In the evening we went on a vegan ramen tasting tour (highly recommended!) in Shibuya/Shinjuku.
Day 3 Tokyo (~25,000 steps). Breakfast at Komeda Is, Ginza. Then to Team Labs Planets (we had tickets for the earliest entry). Despite some of what I've read on here, we really enjoyed the experience (happy to say more if asked!). Then we headed across to Shibuya, wandered around, went to the Pokemon Centre and Nintendo store in Shibuya Parco, had lunch at Izakaya Masaka in the basement of Shibuya Parco (highly recommended) and headed over to Yoyogi Park, Meiji Jingu and walked up through Harajuku. We continued walking up through to Shinjuku and walked around there for a while, including going up the Tokyo Government Metropolitan building (free) for a view over Tokyo. We had dinner at Wired Bonbon.
Day 4 Yudanaka (~12,000 steps). We sent our bags via takkyubin to Kyoto, and then got the train over to Yudanaka (we had breakfast at Komeda Is again - honestly, great menu! and picked up onigiri in the train station for the train ride). At Yudanaka, we travelled over to the Snow Monkey Park, and then back to our ryokan to chill in the bookable private onsen. Our feet needed the rest! We stayed at Seifuso in Yudanaka, which was lovely and inexpensive - our host drove us over to the park (we got a bus back). The food was excellent.
Day 5 Nagano and Hida Furukawa (~11,000 steps). We travelled from Yudanaka through to Hida Furukawa, stopping off at Nagano on the way to visit the Zenko-Ji temple. For lunch we picked up oyaki from Irohado in Nagano, which were delicious (there are 3 shops - one in the station, one in a mall outside the station, and one by the temple)! By the time we got to Hida Furukawa it was relatively late, so we just had dinner. We stayed at one of the Iori Stay apartments, which provide dinnebreakfast (vegan if specified in advance).
Day 6 Hida Furukawa and Takayama (~15,000 steps). We went to Takayama in the morning to visit the markets and see a few temples, as well as pick up some traditional sashiko for my mother-in-law. Then in the afternoon we chilled and walked around Hida Furukawa (shrines, shops and so on) - we had lunch at Sobasho Nakaya in Hida Furukawa, which has clearly marked vegan options. A number of other traditional soba shops have vegan options. There was a little sweet shop near the main street with the koi carp that sold yam-based mochi-type sweets and had a full list of ingredients you could look at.
Day 7 Kyoto (~20,000 steps). We arrived in Kyoto at about 1pm (picked up onigiri and snacks on the journey), and walked from our hotel (located on Shijo Dori) to Nijo Castle and then to the Imperial Palace gardens. We had dinner in AWOMB Nishikiyamachi, which was excellent (sushi).
Day 8 Kyoto (~30,000 steps). For breakfast today we found out our hotel couldn't accommodate our diet (whoops) and we ate cereal bars and mochi from the nearby Life supermarket. We mostly stayed around the Gion area this day and visited a lot of the temples and shrines there - Yasaka Jinja, Kyomizyu-dera, Kodai-Ji (picked up some dango here), Kennin-Ji and others. There is a little bamboo forest at Kennin-Ji which is much quieter than Arashiyama and in my opinion, nicer. We ate lunch at Uno Yukiko (vegan and gluten-free ramen). We also went to the Pokemon Centre in Kyoto! In the evening we ate dinner at the IMU Hotel (you had to book via instagram), and then headed over to Fushimi Inari at night. It was very quiet and highly recommended. We walked up to the first viewing point where you can see across Kyoto (my phone registered this as about 40 floors).
Day 9 Kyoto (~25,000 steps). For breakfast we headed over to the IMU hotel who alternate Japanese/Western breakfast by day. It was only 1000 yen, and really good. In the morning we headed to Arashiyama, and did the usual - the bridge, the bamboo forest (it was fine, very busy even early on) - and had matcha shaved ice with mochi for lunch nearby. Very healthy..! In the early afternoon we had a calligraphy class. After that, we went to Kinkakuji, then slowly walked across to the Kyoto Imperial gardens, stopping off at shops and for coffee on the way. We had dinner at Kanga-An - our most expensive meal, but delicious. You have to book in advance.
Day 10 Hakone (~12,000 steps). We sent our bags by takkyubin to Tokyo. We had breakfast at the IMU hotel and then travelled over to Hakone. It was not a clear day but we saw about 2/3 of Mt Fuji out of the window (you need to be in seats D/E on the shinkansen). Based on conditions we decided not to go down to Lake Ashi. We went to the Open-Air museum which was honestly a lot of fun, then hung out in our amazing ryokan (Fukuzumiro). We had our own private onsen and I wish we had spent another night here! It was not a cheap stay but it was wonderful.
Day 11 Tokyo (~23,000 steps). We arrived in Tokyo at about 11am, and went to our hotel to drop off our backpacks - and were able to check in early! To note, this is the only time we could ever check in before 3pm, although we could always drop off our bags. We were in Ginza again, and had lunch at Ain Soph Ginza (expensive compared to everywhere else, but tasty - you must book, it's very small). We visited a little shrine and then walked to Hamarikyu gardens were we had matcha and wagashi in the tea house. Then we walked down to the Tokyo ToweZojo-Ji to have a look around. Finally we headed back to Shibuya to wrap up any shopping and sightseeing, have dinner at Izakaya Masaka (so good we went twice!) and then did a little karaoke at Joysound by the station - a great end to our trip. On our way back we stopped off at Don Quijote Ginza for any final bits.
Day 12 Fly home. Because of changes to flight paths, our flight home ended up being much earlier than it was when we originally booked (moved to 9am). So we couldn't do anything that day but go to the airport. We flew with Japan Airlines [edit - from Tokyo Haneda airport] and everyone can go into the Sakura Lounge who flies with them as long as you don't have a discounted fare - nice and quiet, with a few limited vegan options for food (pasta). The vegan meals on the flight back were much better than the flight there - our snack on the way back was a sandwich, much better than a banana!
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