JAPAN 2017: Overview

OHIO~! (“good morning” in Japanese is spelled “ohayo” by romanization, but it sounds the same as Ohio the state so~)

This will be the first of a series of posts covering our trip in Japan! I don’t want to do a general summary of the things we did b/c it’d be a disservice to them, so I am going to break down by days or cities.

Last Nov, we went on vacation with my parents and Peter’s parents to the Philippines and Korea. While we were there, my mom expressed how it’s been her lifelong wish to go to Japan. Peter emphatically stated that it has been his also, and that we shall all go together. [Peter’s parents were not interested in going, mainly b/c Peter’s paternal grandmother lived through the Japanese occupation in Korea after WWII so Peter’s dad is a bit, bitter, for lack of a better word.]

We didn’t know when we’d be going, but with the fast turn of events at the beginning of this year, with Peter getting into bootcamp, quitting his job, etc., and my parents being available as well, we bought tickets just 3 or 4 wks before our departure (with points! yay free flights!) and started getting super excited for Japan! I asked my older brothers if they wanted to split the airfare for our parents from Manila and they said yes~ whoo! So they paid for my parents’ flights. Peter and I took care of the housing/transportation/food. *FAMILY TEAMWORK!* 😀

We met up my parents Mar. 1 at Narita Airport in Tokyo. Always so happy whenever I get to reunite with my parents. I suppose I’ll need to do a post about them being missionaries in the Philippines sometime =p but yea, since we live in different countries, I usually only see them once, twice if lucky, a year. So anyway, the reunion was lovely~. We spent the first 2 nights in Tokyo at an airbnb in Ikebukuro, then headed to Kyoto on the shinkansen (bullet train). We slept at a hotel there for 2 nights, and on the evening of the 5th day, my parents went back to Manila.

Peter and I headed to Osaka, where we spent one night at another airbnb, then took the shinkansen back up to Tokyo. We spent 2 more nights in Tokyo and on our 8th day, after busting a mission to find Mizuki from Terrace House (lol) we were airport-bound. After a 20 hour layover in Hong Kong, we flew back to the US.

I’ll cover this trip in detail over the next series of posts, followed by a final reflection at the end. We’ll also be making a video of all the vlogging we did on our Akaso, but not sure that’ll be done any time soon. Anyway–stay tuned! 🙂


Cincy, our first trip.

So the very first trip we took together as a couple was to Cincinnati, just 2 weeks after we started officially dating in Jan of 2014 🙂 Peter was always very proactive and eager to do things together, even from when we first met and were just friends (for example, he took me to swim at Lake Michigan for my first time just 2 weeks after we met).

As soon as we were “official”, he asked if I wanted to take a road trip somewhere nearby IL, and having never been anywhere in the Midwest, I was totes downsies. For a number of reasons, we landed on Cincinnati, Ohio. I had a friend studying there in med school (shout-out to my comrade Short Rib!) who graciously allowed us to stay at her place, so all we had to do was drive down. [Oh and with me being the crazy type A trip planner back then (my philosophy’s since changed – will post about that later), I planned every minute of the trip of course. To be fair, it turned out to be good & worth it for this trip.]

The drive was quite memorable b/c not only was it my first time driving in legit snow, there was a SNOW STORM. LOL. I don’t know how we survived that. Peter drove the first half, then we switched, whereafter it just started dumping snow like there was no tomorrow. I thought I might possibly die on that highway that night. But with lots of prayers and a few hours later, at last, we made it.


When we arrived that night, we had Skyline Chili, which Cincy is famous for. The chili was delicious! Then we went to this cool bar called Famous Neon’s Unplugged (though apparently they’re now closed, but planning to relocate?). I remember Peter did a British accent pretending to be a stranger hitting on me and said, “Excuse me miss, I couldn’t help but notice you were the most beautiful person in this room,” or something along those lines. Haha! We ended the night at Japp’s, a swanky bar that’s apparently been in biz since 1879.

The next morning, we went to Crossroads (a huge mega church, it was crazy!) then Taste of Belgium for waffles with some friends. We ordered a bunch of things and tried bites of all of them. Delish.

Then, Peter and I went to Krohn Conservatory and had a lot of natural fun with nature.

There are some odd looking things in nature.


See what I did there? *chuckle*

After that, we stopped by Eden Park, a hilltop where you could see a very old clock and a nice view.


We found a frozen pond and walked on it! It was really cold, but we were warm from young love. HAHA *barf*

Dinner was at Incline Public House, a gastropub with American fare and a stunning view of Cincy. We went around dusk and saw the cityscape change as the day dwindled into night. [Look for the building that says “Cincinnati” on it! Cool!] The boon-e-gees (atmosphere, vibez) were real nice up there. Props.


When we got back to my friend’s place, she said that another really fun Cincy thing to do is gamble at the casinos. Peter had never gambled before! So of course we went. Fun night! I think we won a little bit of money, maybe $30, and were happy with it. I think my friend won $100? So the entertainment was free / a gain! Win/win!

The next day was Monday, our last day in Cincy. We started with a visit to Carew Tower, which has a 360 degree observation deck with the highest viewpoint in the city. I guess we were all about them views back then lol. We enjoyed the view and had a nice little photoshoot. *laughing emoji*

Lunch was at Ambar India Restaurant (we LOOOVEEEE Indian food). I recall it being a win.

Finally, we had to go to Graeter’s as no trip to Cincy is complete without some world class ice cream! Peter and I shared a cup and incidentally fought over who could finish the ice cream. We are piggies.


It was a really great trip, where we got to do a lot of the fun local things but also a good amount of touristy things. Hope this post is helpful if you find yourself going to Cincy! 🙂