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travel + culture

on the road and what's out there.


out of office.... (where have the past 3 months gone + some news!)

Caitlin Surakitbanharn

it's officially been more than 2 months since i've blogged.  i have no excuse other than i was traveling the world and having a blast...which is a valid excuse if i've ever heard one, yeah?  around the New Year, we had some friends visit us, and then shortly after their departure, Jao and i left our comfy little apartment in Hiyoshi for a 3 week "inception vacation" (we pretty much think our lives in japan are a going on vacation...within a vacation, within a vacation...three levels of vacation).

first off - we took the Shinkansen (the bullet train) to Kyoto for 2 days!  Kyoto is where geisha culture began and still exists, and this was the main goal of our stay in geisha hunt.

the shinkansen approaches...

we arrived in Kyoto and went straight for the Gion district...where geisha culture is still alive and well.  shortly after Jao took this picture of me, we saw a real geisha in a small, private kimono shop, and she was being shown silks to have a kimono made for her.  i lost my mind and i was so excited, i started to cry.  true story.  i then proceeded to make Jao walk up and down that street with me about 40 times to continue casually looking at her (moderately creepy, i know), and then just like that..she was gone.  it was the coolest experience, and i'm really glad i saw a geisha the way i did.  it was a real, true geisha, in her element, doing her thing, shopping for a kimono.  it was so cool.  

Jao, walking through Gion.

streets of Gion.

Shirakawa Canal, in Gion

ok so after i lost my shit in Kyoto after seeing a geisha kimono shopping, we were off to Osaka for Jao's cousin Bank's wedding.  Bank married Yoko, a beautiful japanese girl, and they had a traditional Japanese wedding and it was the COOLEST EXPERIENCE.  Jao and i are pretty sure it's the coolest wedding we've ever been to.

we took the train to the shrine for the ceremony - i got to wear my kimono!

Bank and Yoko.  Yoko looked SO AMAZING in her bridal kimono!

so the way it works... we all get in a big line and walk behind the bride and groom through the shrine to the temple.  like a gigantic procession, and they are underneath that large umbrella...

our view from our spot in line!
yay congrats!

great shot of them leaving the temple. 

Bank, Kunya (Jao's grandmother), and Yoko before the luncheon.

the place setting for lunch. the food was incredible.

Yoko changed into her personal kimono for lunch - us with the bride and groom!

the lovely ladies in charge of serving at the lunch.

this tree is a blessing for a long life together....

they're perfect.

we had such a great time!

i tied my obi all by myself!

love him. duh.

all right, so that was the highlight of Osaka.  we did other we went to the Osaka Aquarium, which houses an f'ing whale shark...and we ate all kinds of good food and went out and drank lots of was overall a great week traveling through Japan!

eyes closed but still cute - in Osaka.

freezing cold red nose.

after many, many shots at Bank's little "bachelor party" in the twisting streets of Osaka.

ok - i'm going to call a night there.  there's a lot more to come... the trip to Bangkok, going down south to Hat Yai for Bank and Yoko's thai wedding, going to Myanmar, and everything in between, but it's so much..i could never fit it all in one place!  so that's all to come.

oh but wait...most importantly... Jao and I are getting married!  ...ah, right?!  the wedding is on for February 22, 2014 in San Diego, and we can't wait to rage with our families and friends and celebrate!  it's going to be the party of a lifetime, we are absolutely sure of it :-)

lots of love from the other side, you guys!