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Japan – The Land of Vending Machines (April 14th – May 20th )

We started our trip through Japan in Tokyo and had a two week Japan Rail pass that let us travel pretty much anywhere in the country. On those two weeks we went to Hiroshima, Osaka, Kyoto, and back to Tokyo with a few day trips mixed in there. One of the best experiences from those two weeks was going to Ōkunoshima, aka Bunny Island. Okunoshima used to be a chemical weapon testing facility where they tested on bunnies. After the war they destroyed all of the radioactive waste (including the radioactive test bunnies) and turned it into a park where they released new, completely unrelated bunnies. They sell cups of bunny food pellets on the island so I bought a head of cabbage at a market on our way there to be able to give them something special.

The island was absolutely covered in bunnies, they were everywhere. I found a group of baby bunnies to feed and we spent a couple hours feeding them and taking a bunch of pictures. Jay and I uploaded the pictures to Reddit’s /r/aww and within a few hours our album became the number one post on the front page. No story could compete with the pictures from that day, so just look at these cute baby bunnies.

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We spent about a month in Tokyo after our JR pass expired. We ate a bunch of sushi, made friends, experienced local ramen variants, and tried every ice cream bar the convenience stores sold (although I skipped most of the green tea flavors).

10322929_10154038245765136_780915960_nWhile we were in Tokyo, we went to the Robot Restaurant. The Robot Restaurant is much less of a restaurant than it is a robot cabaret.

“You’re probably conjuring images of a futuristic eatery where cyborgs serve up the food – but that’s not what Robot Restaurant is about. The eponymous ‘borgs are actually enormous battle machines, operated by bikini babes who fight it out each evening for the benefit of a paying audience.” – timeout.jp

The place seats about 100 people with about 4 rows of stadium seats on each side facing each other with about 15 feet between the two sides. The show consisted of a bunch of girls singing, playing drums, riding around on robots, play fighting, and driving motorcycles through the center. It was the most over the top, absolutely ridiculous, and confusing show I had ever seen. Some robots were 20 feet tall with one girl driving it and a couple of others sitting on the robot’s arms. These were massive things with flashing lights. To really understand how over the top it was, we were told that they put $1.1 million USD into the building and robots.

Two of our last days in Japan were spent at Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo DisneySea. Disneyland was very similar to the one in Anaheim California, with all the same sections and many of the same classically awesome rides. One of the unique things about Tokyo Disneyland were the popcorn vendors. Throughout the park they had different variants of popcorn; green tea, strawberry, curry, caramel, etc. I don’t know if any popcorn can ever compare with the bags of strawberry popcorn I had at Tokyo Disneyland.

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DisneySea was very unique from any Disney park I had been to before. The different sections and rides in the park were themed after water based Disney movies; The Little Mermaid and 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea in particular had a large presence. Instead of a castle in the middle, there was a giant volcano. There were also sections of the park designed to look like Venice Italy and the California coast. DisneySea was focused a lot more on young adults than on little children and that was very noticeable and much appreciated while we were there.

Japan has a huge variety of Kit-Kats and Jay and I did our best to try all of the flavors we could. We tried the dark chocolate, macha green tea, green tea cherry blossom, chili pepper, raspberry, strawberry cheesecake, citrus golden blend, amau strawberry, purple sweet potato, creme brûlée, and the regular ones. I could put up an entire post that is just reviewing kit kats, until then just know that the strawberry cheesecake and creme brûlée were by far my favorites. Also, the creme brûlée ones included cooking instructions to bubble and caramelize them in the oven. Only in Japan!

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