I'm still trying to process the past week's flood of impressions, and to get over jetlag. The trip was quick, dense, and incredibly interesting. First impressions of Tokyo were unexpected; there wasn't a strong sense of disorientation as I'd expected. In fact, the city seemed deeply familiar. Less surprising than Seoul. Intense, crowded, but navigating was simple. Language was never an issue since most every key bit of information is presented in either romaji or English. Tokyo subway station announcements are made in English even. The super low density of the outer reaches of Tokyo was odd. Food was amazing, as expected. And the cost of the trip was remarkably low, much less than the cost of ten days in Paris.
Four days in Tokyo allowed us to get a general sense of the city and see a decent selection of first-order sites. Two days in Kyoto also was enough to get a glimpse of the traditional architecture and, more importantly, a few of the remarkable gardens. Undoubtedly, the highlight was the trip down to see the shrines at Ise. I had been hoping to see them for many years so that day was a pilgrimmage for me.
I'll be posting images to my Flickr stream as I get time in the next few days. And I'll add a few more posts as I get my arms around the experience.