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Sending Stuff from Japan

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Having sent several goods from Japan to Brazil, it was interesting to be able to track my packages as they reached their destination. Compiling all the data into a spreadsheet, it is weird to see how early I had to send something for it to reach within the three month estimation of the Japanese Post Office. All packages were sent through SAL (Sea and Land) routes which are the cheapest.

pack

Impressive how sending something 12 days later meant a difference of over 100% (57 days) on the sea route. Since I doubt there is a daily availability of ships that carries stuff for the post offices around the world, my guess is that the second and third packages were probably stuck while waiting for the next ship to arrive. Packages 4, 5, and 6 had a big delay after reaching Brazil. This was due to the overwhelming amount of service the Brazilian Post Office gets during the end of the year.

Looking at the graph above, you can see that the second parcel almost took half an year to reach it’s destination. 153 days almost drove me mad. For a better picture of much I actually waited, I made rustic six month calendar which can be seen below. Colors identify each package. Squares show when they were sent and rings display when they arrived.

calendar

As shown above, there was an interval 90 days between the first and the second package. Despair is the best word to describe my feelings during the wait. Notice that the last package sent, was second to arrive. Second-to-last was the third. And the other three came in a bundle all together. My advice for anyone living in Japan who plans to send a Christmas present to Brazil and doesn’t want it to arrive too late, send it by the end of August.

Oh, and by the way, I used Open Office to create the images above. Really interesting free software. Calc was very satisfying, but Draw was a horrible experience. Being a long time user of Illustrator, it was painful to use Draw to make simple things. The lack of universal shortcuts was driving me mad.

EDIT: Reading about stories of traceable parcels on the net, I stumbled upon this funny image.

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Written by rti9

May 20, 2010 at 10:13 pm

Posted in japan

Kinkaku-ji on K-On!!

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konmiokinkakujiMio Akiyama from K-On!! visiting Kinkaku-ji with her friends while visiting Kyoto. They went to tourist attractions I didn’t go, but I could recognize the train station. Reminded me of the night bus I took to get there from Tokyo. Tip for those who plan to visit Japan: avoid taking the nocturnal routes during holidays. The strategy of gaining time by traveling while sleeping has a high probability of backfiring. Packed with people during holidays, there will be a lot of snoring and several other distractions during the whole trip. Note that according to my brother, I sleep like a log and I still had a hard time keeping myself asleep. The return trip on the same route, but on a workday was completely different. Lots of free seats and the distance between passengers significantly minimizes the noises around you. Great sleep.

Written by rti9

April 28, 2010 at 10:31 am

Posted in anime, japan

Kiyomizu-dera

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kiyomizu4Third and last stop of my guided bus tour, Kiyomizu-dera was by far the favorite among the Japanese with whom I was traveling with. It is more tourist-friendly and prettier photo-wise, but all in all I thought that both Kinkaku-ji and Ginkaku-ji offer a more unique experience. Kiyomizu-dera reminded me of Asakusa in the sense of a religious location turned into a tourist attraction. Link to a quick 8-picture slideshow.

Written by rti9

January 14, 2010 at 1:52 pm

Posted in japan

Gold and Silver

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gbirdsbirdThis post begins a series of photos taken from a short cultural trip to Kyoto and Nara that was programmed thanks to my aunt Masako who kindly hosted the worst guest ever (me) for a month.

I rented a room at a cheap but very comfortable hotel at Kyoto. To get there, I traveled by night bus which is cheap and bearable, but avoid holidays (maybe weekends too). The trip is long and if the bus is packed, you won’t be able to move much, especially if you are at the window seat.

Arriving at the station, I quickly stored my luggage at a coin locker, ate a sandwich at the nearest convenience store, and started to look for guided tours. You can’t waste time here. Analyze your options as quick as you can and make a choice. I bought a ticket for a half day tour that took me to Kinkaku-ji, Ginkaku-ji, and Kiyomizu Temple. The two photos above are of the ornaments found on top of Kinkaku-ji and Ginkaku-ji. I have an inverted version of the one on the right in case someone wanted to see a bit more detailed view.

kinkakuji

Wikipedia entries to Kinkaku-ji and Ginkaku-ji. According to the latter, this is why Ginkaku-ji isn’t covered in silver: “During the ┼înin War, construction was halted. Despite Yoshimasa’s intention to cover the structure with a distinctive silver-foil overlay, this work was delayed for so long that the plans were never realized before Yoshimasa’s death. The present appearance of the structure is understood to be the same as when Yoshimasa himself last saw it. This “unfinished” appearance illustrates one of the aspects of ‘wabi-sabi’ quality.”

You can’t enter neither of the temples. Both are historic monuments. Ginkaku-ji was under restoration process as can be seen in the photo to the left.

The surroundings of both zen buddhist temples are probably what impressed me the most. Looking at my pictures of the gardens, ponds, etc. individually does not make justice to the real deal. It must have been an amazing experience living in a place like this.

Written by rti9

January 13, 2010 at 8:21 pm

Posted in japan

Meiji Jingu Shrine

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japaneseweddingOne of the many weddings that were taking place at Meiji Jingu. From Wikipedia: “Built in commemoration of Emperor Meiji in 1920, this is Tokyo’s grandest shrine. Like all of Japan’s major shrines, it’s large in scale but simple in structure, entered via a winding path and through a giant torii gate. On summer weekends you have a very good chance of catching a Japanese wedding in progress here; the shrine is also packed on New Year’s Eve when people come here to celebrate the new year.” Packed with tourists, the people marrying here must feel like movie stars.

chrisanthemumChrysanthemums are the emblem of the Japanese royal family. You can see them at the imperial seal and at the country’s highest order.

thecrowThe shrine is very near Takeshita Dori, a crowded street filled with fashion-related stores. Right in the middle of the clash between the old and the new, a crow was calling more attention from the pedestrians than the colorful youth. I wonder if he is always there.

Written by rti9

January 12, 2010 at 7:17 pm

Posted in japan

Yoyogi Park

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autumninyoyogi2 Yoyogi Park is located at Shibuya, one of the busiest shopping districts in Japan right beside Shinjuku. Great place to relax. Strolling around I got to see many interesting things like a lonely trumpet player, an enthusiastic dance group rehearsal, and a fun drama group practicing in front of a camera.

autumninyoyogiThe park is very charming during autumn.

dogpark1One thing that called my attention was the enormous amount of dogs. Yoyogi park must be one of the favorite spots for dog owners because there is a huge area reserved for them. There, you are allowed to set them free from their leashes. A few more photos here, here, and here.

Written by rti9

January 8, 2010 at 7:30 pm

Posted in japan

Tsukiji Market

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Located at Ginza, near one of the most expensive shopping streets of the world, the Tsukiji Fish Market is probably overlooked by many tourists. If you plan on traveling to Tokyo, don’t commit that mistake. Very aware of the potential as a major visiting spot, visitors are free to roam most of the market and take pictures as long as you don’t interfere with the business being done there. Very clean and very organized, everyone at the market seems to be busy all the time.

While strolling around, I noticed a large gathering of people on a corner. Curious about the crowd, I noticed that they didn’t work at the market. They were all gathered in lines, waiting their turn to enter some of the several sushi restaurants situated inside or nearby the market. Fresh sushi straight from the ocean doesn’t come cheap, but it’s worth it (at least once in your lifetime).

Written by rti9

January 4, 2010 at 5:46 pm

Posted in japan