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May 10, 2011

A local vegetable stand | 地元の野菜屋さん

Greetings from Japan!

It sure was a journey to get here, but once I arrived it’s strangely felt like I never left.



Ben Gurion Airport | ベン・グリオン空港

Now, about that journey.
Nearly a year since my last encounter with Israeli airport security couldn’t be long enough! I’m sure people who don’t particularly like or have interest in Israel are unlikely to end up in Ben Gurion Airport, but if they ever do, man is it ever a thing that can potentially turn them off from the country forever.

I got off relatively easy thanks to Yuval being on my side, but it still took me nearly an hour just to get through security. In front of us was a photo journalist probably from Europe who nearly lost his patience. After shouting to one of the officers, he was still stuck in line to have his luggage manually checked (a second check following the x-ray scan) when I was freed to go to my airline counter. We also witnessed a young East Asian looking girl being drilled with questions, then being held as her luggage and some of her clothes were taken away to be thoroughly checked. A woman traveling alone to Israel is apparently a big red flag, as I’ve learned from experience.

I can sympathize with the need for security, but the tone of the officers are so aggressive and suspecting. Naturally this inevitably provokes defensiveness from the interrogated even when they have nothing to defend, but most people around me were taking it very well. (One thing I couldn’t help notice was that all the female officers were very attractive! I wonder if that’s a requirement for the job??)

Compared to this and my layover in Uzbekistan, Narita Airport felt smooth as silk. It felt clean, friendly, efficient, organized. And after nearly a year, it felt so good to receive the benefits of a native citizen. Like going in the “Japanese Passport” line and sailing through like a breeze.





Next morning I was woken up at 6am by my niece. I’ve missed her adorable self.

I arrived smack in the middle of Golden Week, a cluster of national holidays, so my parents and my brother’s family took a trip to the zoo one day.



I’m usually not a big fan of zoos, but this one was actually very impressive. It was very spacious and the animals roamed very freely. They weren’t caged in and didn’t look depressed.


The dimness of public spaces still throws me off. Train stations, trains, shops, apartment corridors… energy saving efforts everywhere.


Many escalators have been shut down.


A random photo to close the entry for today. Don’t tell me that didn’t bring a smile to your face. I love English on Japanese packages!!


Much love,

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Sammi Moe permalink
    May 16, 2011 7:50 pm

    Hi there! Enjoy your time in Japan, and please give my regards to your family! I look forward to seeing pictures and hearing all about the time you spend there.
    Did I tell you I have a friend here named Masa, who is from Japan. His family is still there, but they were all ok from the earthquake and all. He talks with them often and gives us updates on the progress of repairs. We are not seeing as much on TV lately, so please keep us up to date. Hugs to the family and you!

    • May 21, 2011 10:07 am

      Hi Sammi,
      I got back two days ago and will start uploading stories etc soon. I’m glad Masa san’s family is okay!
      My family is all okay too, life seems relatively back to normal in Tokyo but it’s still a long journey back to restoration.
      Love to you and your family🙂

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