GAWA 1: My United Airlines plane to Tokyo:
GAWA 2: "Pearl's" statue at Jindaiji Botanical Park near Tokyo
GAWA 3: Dinner at Victor's, Tokyo Westin, with my bottle of Yoichi 20 year old whiskey, the scotch that was named the best in the world 2008, for the first time beating out scotch from Scotland. You'll be shocked to find out where the latest best scotch comes from, and it is not Scotland.
GAWA 4: With my Japan Rail Pass, I took a ride on the newest Shinkansen (bullet train) to Kanazawa.
GAWA 5: I love going to markets in Japan. Here, I think, are some vegetables, or, maybe fruits.
GAWA 6: Some expensive stuff from typical basement markets (this fruit package costs $58, while that Japanese wagyu beef sells for $195/pound, which is ten times more than you have ever paid for American beef).
GAWA 7: The best beef in the world comes from Miyazaki, near the extreme southernmost point of Kyushu. I spent two days here sampling their steak. Note the marbling.
GAWA 8: Then on day two I had my best under $100 meal of my life, featuring, again, Miyazaki wagyu beef (while the portion was rather small, consider that this is a beef that at a market costs nearly $200/pound).
GAWA 9: The bullet train then took me to Kyoto, where I stayed at Suiran, a ryokan operated by Starwood. This is just one of the appetizers at their restaurant:
GAWA 10: Here the entrance to Suiran, where I saw my first evidence of Fall colors, as this is only September 24.
GAWA 11: My next stop was to Matsumoto, where, too, the colors are changing. Plus, Matsumoto Castle is where Pearl's Gold Koi greeted me in a fairly torrential rainstorm.
GAWA 12: I then trained back to Tokyo, where my Ritz-Carlton room provided a great view and a chocolate roll, with raspberries.