Monday, July 25, 2011

323 in 1-8-18-3 F101: The Former SF Roomies Come to Japan

[The Creation of a Reunion]

“guess. what.” Lindsey types into gchat.
Having known her since age 4 we are entitled to be as obnoxious and excited as possible when we hang out. Especially on gchat, where the means to represent our intonation is limited. I'm all about the caps and drawn out words.
“Whitney bought a ticket too, that means ALL of 323 will be in Japan! AT. THE. SAME. TIME.”
She too is a fan of caps lock.

Oh my god! My mind immediately went to where they were all going to sleep in my little apartment. I hadn’t seen them since our tearful goodbye the morning I left for Japan. Since then, Lindsey, my oldest childhood friend, had moved to Boston to attend med school. Kelly and Whitney, who I met in college, were still living in our old apartment, in San Francisco, with two new roommates. We had all done a pretty good job of keeping in contact over the passed year, but hadn’t seen each other since. And now to all be in one place, at the same time, and in Japan! It was almost surreal.

Over the next few months the girls set to organizing what they wanted to see and do here in Japan. Explore Tokyo was a given, they wanted to eat good sushi, see temples, stay in ryokans (traditional Japanese style hostels), visit Kyoto and Osaka, see Fuji, and just generally be immersed by Japan. I was proud of them for wanting to make the most of their trip. I, on the other hand, still had to go to work. Given that I had taken so much time off going home after the earthquake, I was doing what I could to take off a few days tacked on to a weekend to play. And if that meant a few strategically scheduled sick days, so be it.

We set up a google document so we could get a schedule organized. Kelly and Lindsey were staying almost 3 weeks and Whitney was only staying one, as she had to go back to work. Lame. When all was said and done the girls had a jam packed trip with a few nights on their own, a few in Kamagaya, and a few nights that I would be traveling to meet them as a mini vacation for myself.


The girls were all were coming in on the same flight, which made it easy for everyone. I was leaving work 30 min early to go retrieve them. I was greeted by an exhausted, but smiling trio, all in a row, all with rolly suitcases. They would fit in well with the hustle and bustle of Tokyo.

I was there, to play greater, obviously, and to help facilitate getting their JR (Japanese Railway) Pass and get us all to Tokyo, to their hostel. Their was no question that they could do it, coming from San Francisco is a great prerequisite to visiting any other big city. Though as soon as you set foot outside Narita airport, it gets real foreign, REAL fast.

[Out and About]

The girls were masters at exploring the country. They handled the trains and culture with ease, shuttling themselves from city to city, hostel to hostel, making friends along the way.

I was able to meet them in Osaka for a weekend and again in Kamakura. A famous beach town, about two hours from Kamagaya, with the second largest dibutsu (big Buddha) in Japan. Lindsey and Kelly saw the largest as well. The smallest dibutsu happens to be in Kamagaya, which they also chose to explore. They really saw their range of big buddhas.  

All and all it was an incredible trip! The company was the best part, it was like we were never apart. Always a good sign of a solid friendship.

I don`t know what else to write without it going on for pages and pages, so instead here are a few pictures. Let`s be real, they are the best part anyway. Enjoy!


[Welcome to Kamagaya]

Total Pop. 107,961; Men 53,372 Women 54,589

[Night One]

dinner at a local izakaya

night night

[Beach Festival]
Simply put, a big fat concert at the beach.
323 girls
Kelly, Whitney, Kate & Lindsey
Linds & Keito 
Kelly & Maya

Mike & Keitoooo

[Daiso & Puricura]
The $1 store and sticker pics, a must in Japan.


Beautiful Osaka

 Sake Museum

Lunch with our new friends from the hostel.


Second largest dibutsu in Japan.

Buddah udon!

[On the move...]

Kelly and Lindsey's new best friend, the bullet train.
 [Parade Queen Event]

[Island off Kamakura]

[On the move...again]

[Lindsey Sensei and Kelly Sensei for a Day]
Took them to GoChuu for a few hours before their flight home. 
Introduction from Keima
Questions anyone?
"Do you have a boyfriend? Can you use chopsticks? You're cute!"
Pretty much how the conversation goes.

Rockstars for a Day.
Shoe Change
Bye Bye!
Sayonara Girls

To sum up, the trip was epic. Memorable and special, in so many ways.

Former 323 Resident,


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