So, my trip is over and it is time to evaluate what I thought of it all. But, first, I would like to present my photo albums from this trip. I formed these albums from the pictures as I took them -- the most editting any of them has is a 90 degree rotation. They are raw, not all are pretty, but they are pretty solid representations of how I view these places. I hope you will enjoy them! Also, I added comments to lots of them, so if you read the blog posts from each place, or read them while scrolling that day's pictures, you will get a lot more out of them than taking either on their own. (Basically these gallerys are my "gift" for my 50th post! Although I would have put them up, anyway...)
Osaka - http://picasaweb.google.com/DanielisCertus/Osaka
Kyoto - http://picasaweb.google.com/DanielisCertus/Kyoto
Hiroshima - http://picasaweb.google.com/DanielisCertus/Hiroshima
Kobe - http://picasaweb.google.com/DanielisCertus/Kobe
Nagoya - http://picasaweb.google.com/DanielisCertus/Nagoya
As for the trip itself, I rather enjoyed myself. There was not a city I did not enjoy immensely, nor a place I regret visiting. There are things I would like to have done or seen in these cities, but I feel if I had tried to shove them in I would have pushed it too far and messed up that part of that trip. More importantly, however, I have come to appreciate Tokyo a bit more. All of these cities are gorgeous and different, but Tokyo clearly is as well. Now that I have seen some of the other big cities of Japan, I can see where it is that Tokyo stands - it is the largest, most varied and diverse of them all. Each of these cities feels like it has one or two really neat things about them, that make them unique and special, whereas Tokyo has everything, does everything, and is typically pretty good at it all. Osaka is kind of a quiet, yet large port city, Kyoto is all ritzy shopping and temples, Hiroshima is a small, stunningly beautiful city, Kobe is just kind of large and exciting for that reason, and Nagoya...it's pretty, and has some variation to it, but mainly I feel like it wants to be a modern city, like Tokyo, but is a tad too small, and does not pack any sort of punch -- basically it is a nice, non-intimidating place. Tokyo has areas that incorporate each of these aspects, even if they are contradictory, because it is composed of a bunch of small cities and towns. It is basically like a patchwork quilt of things, the patches don't look like they belong together, but eventually you get used to looking at it and can appreciate it for what it is.
Anyway, although I did enjoy each of these cities, the first three are without a doubt the most worth visiting. In fact, if I had known how much I would enjoyed Osaka, I think I would have convinced Ben to stick with the original plan - going from Hiroshima to Kyushu and looping back up, we only didn't do this because it would have meant another day in Osaka, which is typically considered dull and boring. I can see why it is, as it is very much like a tamer Tokyo, it isn't very exciting or active. However, it still has stuff going on and the tame aspect is its real appeal.
This whole trip was still missing something, besides the southern island paradises, and that is Japan's quiet towns and villages. I hope to correct this by visitng some of the villages later on this year, though I can't guarantee I'll have the opportunity. I thought I had more to say, but I really covered everything pretty well in my individual posts. Later this week I'll put up my post on first semester, there's a few things that may or may not happen before class. Basically, I should be returning to my standard, somewhat infrequent, post schedule soon. So, that's all for now!