Owari is Japanese for "the end". Yeah, I speak Japanese now. It was super easy to learn. You just have to wave your hands around and point a lot. And we're almost through with this epic trip recap!!
Fushimi Inari Shrine (I hate how Typepad washes photos out--this was actually a beautiful vibrant orange.)
After our late night of geisha-hunting, it was a struggle to drag ourselves out of bed the next day, and even more trying when we realized that it was a grey, misty morning. We'd actually been incredibly lucky with the weather. June is a time of year called, tsuyu, which means the rainy season. Typically, it's incredibly hot and rainy every day, so we were fortunate that we had quite sunny skies almost every day. Of course, the weather waited for the site-seeing adventure I was most excited about to rain on my parade.
It was a misting rain while we made our way to Inari, but by the time we got off the train, water was dumping from the heavens at an alarming capacity, and there was a rumble of thunder in the distance. I made it about 100 yards into the tunnel, just enough to get the gist of things, then wussed out and headed to the shops to buy an umbrella and souvenirs. I may or may not have had another little cry also.
And y'all, that's it. That was Japan. I've tried to be as honest as possible in describing how I felt about the country, but I hope that doesn't stop you from traveling there yourself someday. As much as I would never put it in my top five places to visit, I have absolutely no regrets about going. I saw some truly beautiful sites that simply cannot compare to anything I've ever seen before, and even more meaningful to me, I met some awesome people. Travel really isn't about what castles you tour and what temples you see, it's about the experiences you have from day to day. And I can say, with no reservations, that Japan held some of the most fascinating and exotic experiences of my life and for that I say, arigatou gozaimasu.