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029: Japan Edition - Arigato Gozaimasu!

Ed Zaydel
Ed Zaydel
8 min read
029: Japan Edition - Arigato Gozaimasu!

Table of Contents

Konnichiwa my friends,

This week we've got a special edition newsletter, recapping a recent adventure to Japan - filled with incredible people, nature, design and culture. My newsletters are all about living the possibility, and although I do focus on Costa Rica as a canvas for such possibilities, I'm a huge fan of adventuring far and wide for inspiration, education, and getting out of my comfort zone and closer to my edges. Not knowing a foreign language, traveling alone to unknown lands, using trains and buses in Asia, eating foods I've never seen, going into deep the back-country woods to snowboard in challenging terrain...

Japanese Dining
Tokyo City - Metropolis 2023

I set out to explore the metropolis known as Tokyo, then found myself in the country side of Hayama visiting temples and shrines, and then ventured to the Japanese Alps to go snowboarding in Hakuba (Nagano area) and enjoy the Onsen culture (Japanese Hot Springs). Combining one of the biggest cities in the world with one of the most pristine natural habitats in the countryside, made for a trip to remember filled with magic, adventure, and lots of fun.

Shrine in the countryside of Tokyo
En Route to Hayama

A major take away for me is to never stop exploring new lands and cultures, to never be afraid to leap into the unknown, to follow my passions and desires boldly, to live all-in. What a culture steeped in history, in tradition, in lawfulness and beauty. The attention to detail, to design, to cleanliness - everything was impeccable including the food! Blown away by the people and the beauty of this country - Arigato Gozaimasu Japan, till we meet again!

Japanese Alps - Hakuba Valley
How a stoked version of me looks!

Here's What I Want to Share This Week:

1. First Stop: Tokyo City - Metropolis of the Future (LINK)

So Tokyo is no joke - what a city! Navigating this maze of streets, bullet trains, and people walking in every direction possible was incredible. I went to the heart of the city, and explored the shrines and parks in it's heart. What an organized, lawful, respectful place - people don't litter or jay-walk - they don't even cus'. Amongst the chaos and sea of humans, there was a design that worked! The food scene was amazing, from the "hole in the walls" to the fancy stuff - tea houses and shops all over, and art and culture everywhere you looked. I connected with some old friends, made new ones, and just followed the magical jazz of this city - even went to a lucky well in an obscure area of a large shrine, to touch the legendary waters.

Heart of the City
Mmmmm Sushi
Got some skewers
Got some tea...
Cherry Blossom Relative

2. The Countryside: Shrines, Temples, and more (LINK)

I set out to leave the city to visit some temples, shrines, and parks in various villages, ending up at the seaside town of Hayama to visit a farmer named Ichi. My buddy Todd Porter took me around and got to see what life is like outside the city. I got to feel the history as I touched ancient trees and monuments, entered ancient temples and shrines, and got to feel a bit of this country's heritage and beauty.

Next Level!!!
Lucky Well
Arigato Japan

3. Final Stop: Hakuba Valley - Japanese Alps (LINK)

Last but not least was the most epic snowboarding trip I've ever taken - Hakuba Valley. This 5 hour road trip from Tokyo was well worth it. The incredible snow conditions make Japan known for its Champagne Powder - the snowflakes weigh nothing, leaving this winter wonderland a paradise for ski and snowboard enthusiasts. Trails in the deep wooded backcountry, onsen's to soak in after a day in the snow, incredible food, and nature like I've never seen before. The interconnected mountain ranges blew my mind.

Timeless Beauty
Yes Sushi - always...
Alps @ Cortina Mountain
Fresh snow at night made the next day so epic

Catch past webinars and workshops on Zaydeltube.

This Week's Curiosities

First Curiosity: Temples, Arches & Design

Wow Japanese design is something else. Words won't do it too much justice so check out some more beauty!

Second Curiosity: Gardens, Paths, & Monuments

I love to see and create unique gardens, stone paths, and art in the everyday - its an art form that the Japanese have perfected...

Third Curiosity: Weekly love from a man's best friends

I love to close the newsletter with animals and nature I see on my travels and often my dog Maya, but she was at a dog hotel so...

Bowing to the divinity in all of us and this cow :)
Japanese Dog Fashion is serious
Mythical Pony anyone?

Who We Are Celebrating This Week:

This week I'd like to celebrate my two respective hosts in Japan - Todd Porter & Nawaz Lakhani. Both of these guys made this trip possible and magical and fills me with gratitude.

Todd, was my host in Tokyo who organized some of the magic for places to visit, trips to the countryside, meeting farmers like Ichi, tasting local food and culture in every format and he allowed me to feel the jazz, and figure out my own adventure as well, so that I could enjoy exploring the city my way and get out of the comfort zone a bit. Of course google maps and google translate had my back - thanks guys. I couldn't have imagined a better guide and host than Todd & local buddy Daniel-sun with whom I stayed. They opened up an epic experience to me.

A day at the farm with main man Ishi & Todd + Crew

The next adventure began with a road trip with Nawaz Lakhani to his house in Hakuba Valley. All I had was a car rental address and a time, I met him and my new buddy Feisal there and we road hard! He welcomed me into his home, he pushed me as a snowboard buddy to go out of the lines and have some real fun, and we put on our scuba gear, going deep on so many aspects of our lives. This was a trip to remember buddy, and really an optimal way to have lived that slice of life. Soaking in Hot Springs to eating sushi, we did it proper. What an adventure in good livin' with my buddy.

Memorable Quote:

The Wishing Tree

Much Love Amigos!