Honeymoon: Japan


After a super long flight from LAX to tokyo, we landed at about 8pm tokyo time, and were absolutely dead tired.  We were staying in akasaka area of tokyo, which was a few train rides from narita airport, which we sleepily navigated with some help from a few friendly train station employees.  Once we got to the hotel, we quickly checked in, then promptly fell asleep – with both of us waking at around 3am, ready to start the day.  We were able to go back to sleep, and finally got to enjoy tokyo.

This is the imperial palace grounds in tokyo – an awesome place to around and see historical buildings.  They had some amazing gardens on site, and it was free as well.  This is one of the first things we did in Tokyo.  This involved a lot of walking, and afterward we went to the museum of contemporary art (or something), that had a lot of really sweet scrolls and stuff as well.

The tokyo metro government building.  I couldnt believe that just the city government was this big, but it was. I later found out that tokyo is the equivalent of a city/state, so this doesnt seem too over the top.  This building had an awesome view – even though it was slightly cloudy outside (which was not unwelcome, as it was hot).

A view from the tokyo metropolitan government tower.

This is from the tokyo zoo, which we happily went and explored.  Unfortunately, we got there a bit late, and had to rush through the zoo (in the rain) but we were still able to see everything.  All this guy did was sit around exactly like that and chow down.  Not a bad life, except for the whole cage thing.

One of our favorite meals in japan (though just about everywhere we ate was awesome.  This is what H got – singapore black pepper fried rice, a soup and some tiger beer.  The fried rice was so good, I immediately regretted not getting it.
Overall, we had an awesome time in japan, and the food was great and everyone was so helpful.  I really liked how easy it was to get around on the train (neither of us speak the language) and H liked the fact that it was very orderly and clean.

Wedding!

Here are a few shots from H and I’s wedding.  It was a lot of fun, and like my friends told me it sure did go by quick.  We got married in the afternoon in northern wyoming, about 30 min from yellowstone national park.  It was a beautiful day and an amazing setting.  When we decided on an outdoor wedding way long ago, I told H it wasnt going to rain, and kept saying it.  Unfortunately, I was wrong, but thankfully the rain stopped before the ceremony started (by about 1 hour).  I was happy about that, but I had told my friends that I was ready to keep saying it wasnt going to rain no matter what – I had already been saying it for too long to back off now.

Here are some of my favorite pictures from the day.

me and H right before the wedding.  We chose to see each other beforehand, and i’m glad we did.  She looked so pretty, and it was nice to have a few calm moments with her before the ceremony.

H before she met up with me before the ceremony.

 

 

 

 

 

 

A picture of our rings – great shot I think.

This is me and all the groomsmen – for fun I thought it would be awesome if we all had similar socks.  Not sure how they felt about it, but I dont think they minded too much.

 

 

This is where our dinner was held.  Such a nice spot.  I love the view

The ever popular ranch dog.  The owner told us he and some of his puppy friends chased off a bear the night of our wedding.

We Are Married!

While i’m honeymooning with H on the other side of the world, I’ve got a few posts lined up.  Some serious, and some not.  I hope you enjoy, and I’ll respond to comments, etc when I get back!

This weekend was the wedding, and it was such a great time.  I’ll post some pictures after we get back from the honeymoon, but this is about what it looked like:

Source: https://files.myopera.com/in-foro/albums/803793/just_married.jpg

If you’re curious, im the one on the right.

Have a great day!  H and I will be spending this finalizing stuff for our trip and packing!

Wedding Expenses Part 2: Fun Stuff

Bachelor Party – I’ve been to a lot of these recently and they have been of all stripes – a trip to Vegas, a camping/rafting trip and one where we went sledding and out to dinner and a few bars.  Personally, I had a great time at every single one of these, and from the people that I talked to who were there said the exact same thing.  No matter what you do or where you go, I feel like you’re going to have a good time because you’re hanging out with your friends.  I havent decided what to do quite yet, but it’s probably going to be something along the lines of a camping/hiking/fishing trip or something.  It will probably be pretty close to where we all live (except for 1 person) so that everyone can go, which is what I’m concerned about most.  My estimated cost is going to be heavily dependent on gas prices.  I know it will take me at least 1 tank of gas to get down there, and my most recent fill up was 60+
Estimated Cost: $150

Gifts for my Groomsmen – I havent decided what I’m going to get those jackals quite yet, but I’d like it to be something that each of them enjoys and gets a chance to use frequently.  I’d also like something lasting, so beer or something similar is out (at least as the main portion – I may try and brew a special batch for them).  Obviously I’ve seen a ton of stuff but dont want to go the typical route of a flask or a cigar cutter – my friends dont drink much hard booze, and only smoke cigars once in a blue moon (though prob will at my bachelor party).
Estimated Cost: Undisclosed, since I know some of them read this.  It’ll be sweet though guys, I promise.

Bride’s gift – I’m going to be 100% honest here and fully admit that I had absolutely no idea what H was talking about when this came up for the first time.  She started going on about her sisters wedding gift from her husband and I stopped her and said: “Wait, I tricked you into marrying me, and now I have to get you a gift to make sure nothing goes sideways? That’s BS”  After that I got a long spiel about how it’s tradition and bla bla (a friend of mine put a spending cap on wedding gifts for him and his fiancee, equal to the exact amount of the firearm he wanted).  I know that a lot of ladies read my blog and probably wont be happy with this, but I still question wether or not this is needed.  I have found something that I hope that she will like and that wont break the bank, but I still feel like the resources could be better used elsewhere.  I’m happy to give her something in all honesty, I just cant convince her not to get me anything (yet).
Estimated Cost: We are going to set a cost limit on this, but havent decided yet.

Well, that’s about all for the more fun stuff.  How much did you spend on gifts, etc for your wedding?

 

More About Me

A while back, my buddy Ninja put a post on his site about how he wanted to be more transparent with his readers and open about his non-blogging life.  I thought that it was a great post, because I had been feeling the same recently – much like ninja, I’m not quite ready to completely come out and reveal my full identity on my blog (and i’m not sure that I ever will).  Of course, I feel like you all will be able to better understand where I’m coming from the more you know about me, so here’s a bit more information.

I was born in Colorado, and lived in a house with my parents, sister and some dogs until college.  Growing up, we were always taught not to waste things (I think it’s the german in the family).  We always recycled what we could, occasionally getting some money for the aluminum (back when they did that – it’s not so common anymore).  We would also try and grow a garden, despite the fact that we had dogs that loved to try and run over our fledgling plants or dig them up.  We were also scolded when lights or water was overused.  Mostly though, I grew up in a house just like everyone else – just about everywhere that I needed/wanted to go involved a car trip of some kind, most things that were needed would be bought at the store.

When I went off to college (I went to the University of Colorado), quite a few things changed.  The first was that I was given new transportation options: a bike or walking – I was informed that I would not be taking my car with me (it would be sold for tuition money 2 years later) and naturally, (at age 18) I had a conniption.  How was I supposed to get around, how would I get home, how would I get dinner with friends, how would I do this and how would I do that.  My dad told me that all of my friends would be on campus, probably wouldnt have a car, and I’d be able to do all that I wanted to do with the resources I had available to me (mainly, a bus pass).  Because of where I grew up, I simply informed him that was not possible and he told me that he didnt care and I was going to have to deal with it, so deal with it I did.  At first it was pretty rough, but as I started to meet more people and get to know the city more, I became fine with it, and even met a lot of people who either didnt have cars or had them but drove about 2 times per week – all other commuting was done by bus, bike or foot.  After this initial heartache, I quickly learned to deal with  my carlessness and enjoy the freedom from gas, insurance and car payments.  When I moved, I took into account where I worked and how easy it would be for me to get to campus – anything that was a pain in the butt was tossed off the list. Other than those adjustments, I never found anything else to be that bad (aside from grocery store runs) so I went from hating it to liking it.  For those of you that arent familiar with CU, it’s a typical college town in a very liberal city, so there was a lot of environmental initiatives going on and I learned a lot about sustainability, both what I think are good ways to go about it and bad.  From what I learned at CU, I really got more into the ‘macro’ side of sustainability that is typically gotten through public policy, but I did get quite a lot of classes about energy and did a lot of personal/at home calculations.

As for my finances those years, they were fairly ok until the last 2 years, when I started spending more than I earn, for reasons that I cant even explain right now – as I’m still not sure of them.  My earnings went up every year, and so did my expenses, and eventually my expenses outpaced my earnings.  To me at the time though, this was all fine because it was 2007 and the economy was roaring (I even qualified for a 250k loan for a house on my 18 hour a week job hourly wages [this bank, obviously, went under]) so I figured me with a ‘big kid’ job would step in, pay off the debt I had accumulated with 2 or so paychecks, then pay off my student loan (of around 10k) and then start saving about a year after graduation.  During the middle of my senior year, I applied for jobs, but what I really wanted to do was go to grad school to get into a field that I was partially qualified for, but not exactly – I hoped that my masters would take care of this for me.

After graduation from CU, I moved to Wyoming and went to UW.  At first I thought it would be a huge culture shock, and it really wasn’t.  College towns are college towns, they were both different but I was still happy for the change of pace.  I didnt have an assistantship when I got to school, so I took out loans for the first semester, (which are what remains of my student loans).  Mid first semester, I got an assistantship, got a regular income and they were paying all of my tuition!  It was awesome, and sometime around here was when my financial turnaround started to take shape.  I found get rich slowly and the simple dollar, and started to really think about my finances and what a disaster they were.  I could still make my minimum payments and all of that, but the prognosis was not good, and I knew it.  Thankfully, having no friends (new city/state) and a constant cash inflow made saving money pretty easy, so I was able to get on top of my situation and stay on top of it.  After some fun times, and 2 years worth of financial blog reading under my belt (as well as most of a degree) I found a job, moved and waited to start.

Unfortunately, that start date never came, and I was left with student debt payments coming in and no job.  I went back to my old job (no benefits) full time, but that meant a long commute every day in a really old car.  I found another job in a different city from that (AND the one I lived in) and took that as well.  I was hardcore into paying off debt more at this point, so I figured that 2 jobs wouldnt hurt at all.  It didnt, and I made great progress, but I was driving a lot (got a new car eventually) and was tired of it and wanted to get back to the car free lifestyle that I had lived in undergrad.  After looking for about a year, I found a job in my city, and left both other jobs.  I was grateful for the opportunity, but thankful that I could now walk to work.  As you know, the turning of the financial ship continues, but it’s gotten much easier than it used to be.

That about brings us up to today.

Readers: Anything else you want to know?  I’d be happy to answer questions in the comments.

Alaska Pictures Part 3

I’ve got some more pictures from alaska to share.  The first two groups (which you can find here and here) is from my week in Anchorage, and the ones where I’m on a boat are taken from a harbor wildlife cruse I took that was based out of Seward, AK on the Kenai Peninsula.  For all of these pictures, I was hiking Mount Marathon in Seward, AK.

This was a really fun hike that I did in Seward.  When looking at the route before I left, I noticed there was 2 trails (which I found more about later) and took the easier (and longer) hikers trail.  It was something like 3 miles from the edge of town where the trail started to the top.  The trail started out in a pretty dense forest for about a mile before breaking.  Here’s what the trail looked like as we got through the trees.

This didnt go straight up, it hooked around the back before I regained the ridge.  It was cold on the back side.  There was no sun, a large creek and the wind had kicked up.  I was fully prepared though, so I just pulled out my gloves and hat and kept on going.

This is a picture of the town of seward from near the top of the mountain.  Yes, that’s the whole town – it’s around 5,000 people.  It was a nice little place, and I probably walked from one end of town to the other about 4 times per day – or more.  I had no other way to get around, but I dont mind, it was good exercise.

I took this picture from the near the top and was thinking to myself, that would suck if you fell off of this part.  It was pretty steep, and the soil was pretty loose so there wasnt much to stop you.

This is a shot of ressurection bay from mt marathon.  It is pretty impressive.  During the good friday earthquake of 1964, (the highest ever recored on the richter scale) a tsunami was headed for the town, but the deepness of the bay blunted the strike and there wasnt as much damage in seward as there was when the tsunami made land in california.

So after reaching the high point and turning back, I found the trail that I had missed earlier and started following it down.  I didnt follow it up – so I didnt know where I’d end up reaching the hiking trail (the one I took up) again.  Not too long after, I realized that this moment was never.

That picture that I took earlier saying that I didn’t want to fall down I started going down.  As you can see, it’s quite steep.  The dirt was really loose, so I was able to pretty much take a few steps then slide down, stopping on one foot for a second and then continuing down the trail.  After a while, I realized that I was on what they call the “runners trail”.

Another part of the runner’s trail.  Yes, it goes through that runoff creek.  After thinking about the runners, I was wondering how the hell they did this in a race.

This is the trail that I took down from the top – you can make out the lighter part in the grey rock.  That was me kicking up the trail and turning the darker rocks over.  You can see the trail go off the left hand side of the mountain and duck into the green – that’s where the trail starts going through the river.  It took me about an hour and fifteen minutes to descend the trail.  I thought that was pretty good, but when I went to dinner later that night, my world was rocked.

I was talking to the bartender when I was eating dinner that night, and he was telling me about the Mt Marathon Race.  The race is held every July 4 and was started after a bet in a bar around the turn of the century (the best kind of race, right).  The bartender told me that the racers run from around the building we were in (about a mile from the trailhead), to the top of the mountain, and back.  The crazy thing was that the record for this run was 45 minutes and some change.  When I heard this, I was clearly stunned.  I knew that I took the longer route, but didnt think that my 5 hour hike could be distilled into less than an hour race.  The even more shocking thing was that the decent (that took me over an hour) took the race winner less than 11 minutes!!!

I couldnt believe it – I want to try the race, but unfortunately it’s so cool that there’s a really long waiting list and they have a lottery.  The town grows to 35,000+ people during the race weekend!

That’s the last of the pictures from this hike – next week will be the last installment of my alaska pictures.  I hope that you’ve enjoyed them.

 

Alaska Pictures Part 2

I’ve got some more pictures from alaska to share.  The first group (which you can find here) is from my week in Anchorage, and the ones where I’m on a boat are taken from a harbor wildlife cruse I took that was based out of Seward, AK on the Kenai Peninsula.  For all of these pictures, I was halibut fishing near Seward, AK.  I also have gotten my first taste of the fish (I grilled a fillet last week) and it was soooo gooood.

This first group is from the halibut fishing trip.  You may have seen my posts about halibut fishing on twitter and what a hassle it was to get my halibut home from Alaska, but the trip was awesome.  Here’s a view from the boat as we are steaming out of resurrection bay around sunrise (8am-ish)

Even though I am a terrible photographer and have a terrible camera,  I still think this one turned out really good.  It’s the same 3 glacier area that I posted some pictures of from the other boat.

This next shot is a view from the boat after we have exited the bay and were out in the open ocean.  The water was quite choppy, so much so that the whole group almost didnt go out because of it.  I was still ok during this part – I didn’t start to feel like donating last nights dinner and that mornings breakfast to the fish until much later in the ride.

Those snow covered peaks in the very back of the shot are from Kenai Fjords National Park. I wanted to spend some time in the park, but it’s not really accessible by car.

When I was on the halibut boat I was wearing my wyoming hat, and a guy walked on the boat with a wyoming hat.  He quickly sat down next to me and we started chatting.  Turns out, the guy lives where I used to live in wyoming and knows both of H’s parents!  I absolutely couldnt believe it.  It’s such a small world sometimes.

These are all the fish caught by everyone on the boat.  Alaska has a daily bag limit of 2, so that’s the maximum that you can catch.  Everyone on the boat caught that many, and after that we were steaming back to the harbor.

I didnt sit down in the cabin of the boat at all, and rarely went in there because it made me feel sea sick. (note to guys: if it’s a choppy sea and you need to go to the bathroom, dont waste your time peeing in the bathroom.  I got thrown around so many times and hit my head on the wall and had water splashing me in the face from the porthole window that I had regretted my decision even before I was finished – Just go off the side of the boat.) So as I was sitting outside watching the deck hand toss all the fish out of the box and onto the deck, I waited for mine (marked with orange zip ties around the tail) to come out.  The first one I saw flew out of the box, and on to the deck, where it washed right out the deck drain!  I told the deck hand and he chuckled (because it was sorta funny) and he said they had another one for me.  I probably got the better end of that – the one they gave me was probably bigger.  S

That’s the deck hand cutting up one of the fish I caught.

Some of you have probably seen this, others probably have no idea what it is.  It’s a coal tipple, and one reason that I took a picture of it was because I thought it looked really awesome in front of the mountain.  The tipple is there because this is the only port in alaska that doesnt freeze over for the whole year, so most of the coal mined in central Alaska is taken by train to a facility near this tipple, processed, and then sent to this tipple for loading on a boat.