Hello From Japan!

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Hello from Osaka! Woohoo, we made it to Japan! It’s so busy here. There are people everywhere. We aren’t used to this level of pedestrian traffic, but it feels electrifying. Our flight was uneventful and we got through immigration in about an hour. After that, we caught the train to Osaka and checked in to our hotel near Dotonbori. There are so many places to eat here, it’s amazing. We went for a walk and had takoyaki and ramen. They were delicious. Ramen in the US costs twice as much and doesn’t taste half as good. Oh man, I love Japan. We saw so many different dishes we wanted to try. Our stomachs will get a strenuous workout over the next 9 days. Heh heh… Osaka is the street food capital of Japan.

Snack with us

Alright, did I make you hungry yet? That was my intention because you can try Japanese snacks at home too. Before we left, I got a Sakuraco box to hype us up for this trip. Each SakuraCo box comes with 20 authentic Japanese snacks, tea, a Japanese home goods item, and a little guide on where each item came from. It’s quite impressive.

This month, the Sakuraco box was focused on the Tohoku region, north of Tokyo. We’ll travel through this region on the 2nd half of our trip so it was perfect. The snacks in this box were delicious. They were so much more complex than the usual popular American snacks. American snacks are full of sugar and artificial flavoring. They’re good, but not very satisfying.

The snacks in the Sakuraco were so much more complex. The candied sweet potato cubes were sugared, but the sweet potato came through. The ginger cracker was crispy and not too overpowering. My favorite was the mini shrimp tempura. They were made from real shrimp! Mmmm, crunchy tails. Mrs. RB40 and our son didn’t like this one, but they loved everything else. Their favorite was the peach konjac jelly. Yumm… It’s made from real peaches, not just artificial flavors.

Each box comes with one home good. In this month’s box was the Neko Tenegui. It’s a light cotton hand towel. It’s perfect as a reusable gift wrapper. Check it out. I’ll pick up 20 of these wraps on this trip. It’ll be the ideal accompaniment for the ceramic bowls I made. This Christmas, our friends and families will get a nice bowl and a reuseable wrapper.

Ok, you can subscribe to the Sakuraco box here. The price isn’t cheap, but I haven’t seen these snacks in our Asian grocery store. Authentic Japanese snacks are pretty expensive in the U.S. I think the price is comparable so you are getting a pretty good deal. Lastly, the Tenugui at our local gift shop cost $12-$20. I think the subscription box is worth the price if you enjoy Japanese culture.

Our Japan trip

You can see our schedule below. Now that I’m a bit older, I’m trying to slow down a bit and enjoy the journey more. I’m very flexible on this trip. I have just two activities listed for each day. We’ll wander around and explore more. If we’re tired, we’ll take a break.

In the past, I tended to over-schedule our time so this is my attempt to relax more. The 2nd half of the trip will be on pretty busy, though. We’ll fly up to Sapporo and take a meandering train journey around the Tohoku region. I enjoy traveling by rail so I think it’ll be a lot of fun. In particular, I reserved 3 seats for us on the Resort Shirikami. This is a 6-hour scenic ride from Aomori to Akita with many stops and activities along the way. I’m looking forward to it.  

This might be the last time we travel like this. I’m starting to feel my age and I want to spend more time in one location. The next time we come to Japan, I plan to stay in one city for 3 months. I’m thinking about coming here to study pottery.

  2 activities
Day 1 – Osaka Check in & walk around Dotonbori
Day 2 – Osaka Den-Den town & Shinsekai
Day 3 – Kyoto Tenjin-san flea market & GEAR (show)
Day 4 – Osaka Osaka castle & Umeda area
Day 5 – Osaka Tenjinbashi & explore Kita ward
Day 6 – Nara Day trip to Uji & Nara
Day 7 – Kyoto Kiyomizu-dera & Robert Yellin Gallery
Day 8 – Osaka Osaka Aizen festival & Tennoji Park
Day 9 – Osaka Pottery class & Osaka aquarium
Day 10 – Noboribetsu Fly to Hokkaido and go to Noboribetsu onsen town
Day 11 – Sapporo Morning in Noboribetsu. Travel to Sapporo.
Day 12 – Sapporo Odori park & Mt. Moiwa
Day 13 – Hakodate Goryokaku & Mt. Hakodate
Day 14 – Aomori Nebuta museum & A Factory
Day 15 – Akita Joyful train ride – Resort Shirikami
Day 16 – Sendai Day trip to Matsushima Bay
Day 17 – Nikko Sightseeing in Nikko
Day 18 – Tokyo Nikko morning then head to Tokyo in the afternoon.
Day 19 – Tokyo Free day around Ueno
Day 20 – Thailand Fly to Thailand

That’s it for today. I’m on the road for six weeks. I might miss publishing a post or two. have a great summer!

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Joe started Retire by 40 in 2010 to figure out how to retire early. After 16 years of investing and saving, he achieved financial independence and retired at 38.

Passive income is the key to early retirement. This year, Joe is investing in commercial real estate with CrowdStreet. They have many projects across the USA so check them out!

Joe also highly recommends Personal Capital for DIY investors. They have many useful tools that will help you reach financial independence.

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