I'm back in SF now after an absolutely "SUGOI" trip to Japan and South Korea. The Japan Rail Pass was a brilliant idea and allowed me to go to areas of the country that otherwise would have been way too hard or expensive to get to. Fan-frickin-tastic.
A few quick highlights:
I went from big city Tokyo and eating food in a "jail cell" to Skiing in the Japanese Alps. Then made a quick appearance at Siggraph Asia 2010, bathed in sake, hot coffee, red wine, green tea and black tea, drank "wasp sake" (terrible), traveled Kyoto and photographed shrines with Tatsuya, visited the site of the Atomic Bomb drop in Hiroshima, visited a bunch of castles and shrines and the longest suspension bridge in the world, ate tons of tasty and strange food, stayed in a capsule hotel, drank both shochu and soju (and still don't know if they are the same thing), traveled to South Korea and meditated and learned from a Zen Master at an overnight Buddhist Temple Stay, made it out of Korea during the largest snowfall of the last 70 years, and had a traditional Japanese Ryokan/Onsen experience. The grand total is 3,340 photos/videos, in total: 26 Gb!
An absolutely mind-blowing experience and so many exciting and inspiring memories.
I have downloaded my absurd amount of photos and videos and I'll be retroactively blogging my travel journal and photos over the next few weeks.