Thursday, 15 March 2012

Nicole meet Instagram, Instagram meet Nicole

Ebisubashi Bridge in Osaka. Best food in Osaka in the area

Late bloomage is kind of like my modus operandi. I didn't have my first boyfriend until I was 19, I didn't start traveling seriously until my late 20's, and I didn't install the mother of all photo app's until about three weeks ago while in Japan. Better late than never, I reckon.

Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Exploring Kyoto: Impressions of Japan's Former Capital City

Tourist dressed as Geisha as part of the Geisha experience
I made my way to Kyoto late last week after a few days in Osaka. Kyoto is such an enchanting city. I didn't have enough time to explore it all but spent hours admiring the district of Gion, sampling Japanese treats in the Nishiki Market and trekking through the maze of torri at the Fushimi Inari Shrine. Here are just a few pictures from my short trip. I hope you all enjoy.

Thursday, 23 February 2012

Couch Surfing Success in Osaka, Japan

My entry into my couch surfing host's guestbook

Stop the presses! I am a couch surfing convert. I know, I know, I can be snobbish and a bit of a wimp when it comes to "roughing it". I turn my nose up at hostels and "budget accommodations" but for this trip to Japan I figured to either go big or go home. Couch surfing isn't revolutionary but it's not anything I envisioned was for me, for one, I typically travel solo and as woman I have personal safety concerns and  two, I don't like everybody. LOL This may not come as a surprise to many of you, but random people usually annoy me.

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

My First Few Days In Japan

Across the platform at Narita Airport Train Station
I made it to Japan!! I hope to keep you all updated at least with pictures. I am tweeting constantly and posting to my facebook wall, thanks to the folks at econnect Japan and my pocket WiFi. It has been a total game changer and I have been able to keep in contact with family, friends and fans. I am currently in Osaka, I took the bullet train, Shinkansen, from Tokyo yesterday afternoon! Here is a visual round up of my first few days in Japan.

Saturday, 18 February 2012

Navigating Tokyo with LUXE and LUXE Giveaway

Follow me on twitter as I navigate Tokyo with my LUXE Tokyo Guide #LUXETokyo
LUXE City Guides take travel to a whole new level, combining useful information, design, and snark in one compact package. In other words, this ain't your mother's guide book. The LUXE City Guides are for the chic at heart, who are obsessed with travel and appreciate a bit of GLAM. The fold out guides are small enough to fit in your pocket or small clutch but jam packed with information on accommodations, good eats, activities, shopping itineraries and useful tidbits.

Friday, 17 February 2012

Japan Centennial Celebration Getaway

Skiing in Niseko Japan, WOW!

 Since I have started talking about my trip to Japan I have gotten emails and comments about the unaffordable Japan is. You guys are right, Japan can be hella expensive but what if you could go to Japan for free? Interested?

For a chance to win a free trip to Japan, enter the Japan Centennial Celebration Getaway Sweepstakes. Now before anyone gets too excited, the contest is only eligible for legal residents of the United States, whomp whomp. So for those still with me you have until Feb 29, 2012 to enter. All you have to do is go to the Official Japan Tourism site and review the six (6) Dream Holiday and pick which one is your favorite.

The holiday each have their own appeal. For example, if you are into seeing temples, shrines and visiting World Heritage sites, you would go for the Heritage Itinerary. If you were a thrill seeker hoping to have an experience that would rival any of the ski holidays you have had in the past, you would choose the Adventure Itinerary . Be sure to check out all six and choose wisely.

After you pick which holiday fits your fancy you fill out an entry form with your details, putting you in the running to win the dream trip. Each itinerary is seven days long and valued at around 5,000 USD. You really have nothing to lose aside from five minutes to fill out the form.

Good luck everyone! If I could enter I would enter the Indulgence Itinerary! Which one are you going to choose?

Thursday, 16 February 2012

How I Planned My Trip to Japan

Voucher for my Japan Rail Pass

I'm a planner, much to the annoyance of some of my friends and family, the "go with the flow" mantra never sat well with me. Call it long term trauma from being the only and eldest girl, but I have always been the overly responsible one, highly skeptical, asking tons of questions until I felt satisfied. Right or wrong, I also apply this level of due diligence to travel. Before I land in a new country I need to know the national emergency number (because 911 is not universal), what the tipping policy is in that region of the world and whether or not they are "tolerant" of Black folks (yes, people still have to think about this in 2012).