I'm going to take a little break from the trip report today and talk about some things that are either only tangentially related or--gasp!--unrelated at all to Japan!
First up, I have a couple of shoe recommendations for you. Recommendations as in, if you are going on a vacation that involves great amounts of walking and still desire to wear somewhat attractive shoes, listen up, ya hear! I've worn and reviewed some moderately comfortable, yet definitely cute, shoes in the past, but I think I have finally hit the jackpot on vacation shoes.
I have never worn such a comfortable ballet flat. I don't know why these are so ridiculously comfortable--is it the soft leather, the cushy insole (yes, I added a Dr. Scholl's insole for extra shock absorption), the rubbery traction on the sole that prevented me from slipping and sliding all over Japan? I don't know, but I walked miles in these shoes and suffered no more than the expected slight discomfort that comes from pounding the pavement for hours in any pair of shoes. Incredible.
Skechers Active Bikers Straightaway
If you're in the market for something a little more sporty, yet sleeker than the typical tennis shoe, you can't go wrong with this offering from Skechers. I don't love the look of traditional tennis shoes with shorts because I'm already a little sensitive about the size of my feet. I felt like these actually made my feet look smaller, and they were like walking on a cloud. I do recommend breaking them in for a couple of days as I got a small blister on the inside of my arches just from wearing them without socks, but it was nothing a band-aid couldn't handle. I was so happy with my shoe choices, and between the ballet flat and the sportier Skechers, I felt like I had a shoe to wear with pretty much anything.
In other news, I've been having a tough time adjusting back to life on Eastern Standard Time. I've never really experienced more than the most minor of jet lag on the first day arriving in a new country, and part of that has always just been travel exhaustion. But I'm going on day four of being back home, and I'm still not on a normal schedule. On Tuesday, I passed out doing homework at 3 pm and woke up from a dead sleep at 9 pm. Yesterday, I fell asleep watching tv around 7:30 pm, woke up at 10:00 to feed the dogs, and then couldn't sleep past 6:00 this morning. My big exciting goal for today is to stay awake until at least 10 pm and hopefully sleep through the night.
Of course, it might be helpful if I could actually sleep upstairs in my bed, but our upstairs air conditioning decided to die on us the night before I left for Japan and it hasn't been repaired yet. With our weather lately, this means that upstairs is generally around 85-90 degrees even in the middle of the night. So, I've been sleeping downstairs on the sofa where the air conditioning is in perfect working order and the sun is streaming viciously through the window by about 6:30 in the morning.
Finally, I am two weeks into my LAST MASTERS CLASS!!! This means that unless I have some other surprise awaiting me from Grand Canyon University, I should be masters complete in exactly 6 weeks. I cannot tell you what an amazing feeling that is, compounded by the fact that this class seems like it'll be a breeze. Senioritis has set in in a major way.
Thanks so much to everyone who's been kind enough to welcome me back, and I hope you've been enjoying my Japan recollections. I know reading epic trip journals isn't everyone's cup of tea, so please don't give up on me, just a few more to go and it'll be back to my usual blathering!