We experienced no humidity while we were in Japan, and had 65-72 degrees during our entire trip. We finally touched down onto US soil, and we were hit with some major humidity- We came back to 92 degrees and a thick humidity fog. This definitely signified we were back in Ohio.
After 24+ hours of traveling, we were definitely tired, cranky, and in desperate need of a shower. We weren't sleepy yet (knock on wood), but I remember thinking- the jet lag is going to hit just like it hit us when we first arrived in Japan.
Our friend Jon picked us up from the airport and took us back home. Darin was flying (again) for TX the following morning and we needed to get up by 3:15am to get out the door by 4:15am. Thus- it was time to unpack, organize, and do some laundry. By 3pm though, we were exhausted and ended up taking a 3-hour nap (a big no-no to get over jet lag, but we just couldn't keep our eyes open anymore).
First thing we ate after we landed- PIZZA! We were both craving pizza, and quite frankly, Japanese pizza can't compare to American pizza. Since we touched down in Toronto on Saturday 6/4 (our anniversary, no less), we shared a romantic Domino's Pizza for 2 in our hotel room. It was delicious.
Best memories- For Darin, he said spending time with our family. I have to agree. Despite all the traveling we did and cities we explored, the best memories we both made were spending time with my uncle, aunts, cousins, and grandfather. We were all constantly laughing, and spent every evening talking and playing games. Not to brag, but my Japan family is awesome! My family and Darin communicating was a sight to see- lots of hand gestures. My uncle knows quite a bit of English so that helped too. Despite 14 years and an ocean apart, we are still very close.
Favorite food- Darin says his favorite food he ate was at Satou restaurant. I can't lie- that steak was to die for. Granted, we didn't get the Matsuzaka beef, but it was still melt-in-your-mouth good. No sauces, no over-the-top seasonings- just plain, simple salt and pepper. The steak was the true winner in this meal. If you get a chance to try, you must! His second favorite food was eating tsukemen in Shimokitazawa at Yasube restaurant.
Favorite foodie experience- This was a tough one as we visited several markets, but we both agreed that the dining experience at Menya Musashi (ramen shop) in Shinjuku was fun. Here is a fun video of the ramen chefs "chanting" as they swing the water out of the noodle basket before placing it into the ramen broth. Watching them cook our food in front of us was fun, and my sister lovingly calls it the ramen shop "with the hot guys".
Favorite city- Other than Tokyo and visiting family, we traveled to Kyoto, Hiroshima, Miyajima, and Gamagori. I thought our favorite would have been Kyoto- so many people raved about it. Yes, it was beautiful, and my favorite shrine was the Fushimi Inari Shrine with its thousands of torii gates. Maybe because we had such rainy weather, but we didn't get to visit all of Kyoto because of the rain. Our favorite city was Hiroshima- specifically the Peace Memorial Museum. We spent a good 3 hours in there, and there was so much information, visuals, and testimonies. It was a sombering experience, and a definite must-visit. Our 2nd close favorite was Tokyo. With its endless amount of shopping, specialty districts (Akihabara, Harajuku to name a few), and numerous restaurants, we wished we could have spent a few more days touring Tokyo.
Favorite temple/shrine- Our favorites were between 2 places- Fushimi Inari Shrine and Meiji Jingu Shrine. The Fushimi Inari Shrine had the beautiful consecutive torii gates. Meiji Jingu Shrine is located adjacent to Yoyogi Park, and despite being in the heart of Tokyo, you would never believe it as it was a beautiful, quiet, and peaceful stroll amongst lush trees and greenery. Oh, and I can't forget the floating torii at Miyajima- breathtaking.
Favorite hotel- Darin and I semi-disagreed on this one. His favorite was the Tokyo Hilton Bay for the bayside view, but mine was Hyatt Regency Kyoto. The room was beautiful and modern with a Japanese twist. We both put Park Hyatt Hotel as a really close second. You can't deny the impeccable service we received at all the hotels we stayed at, specifically the Hyatt hotels. After long days of walking, sweating, and sightseeing, nothing is better than to come back to a clean, beautiful room- the Hyatt hotels foot that bill and more.