Tyler's first post!
Tawnee is doing such a great job of cataloging the individual events of this great adventure so I think I'll just be posting random thoughts, video edits including drone footage! We're starting our third week away, and I thought by now I would have been giving more thought to work, but NOPE!
This life of no schedule and free reign to move about is like a lucid dream that's become reality.
Hawaii is definitely one of my favorite places in the world. I love the laid back culture, well except for the ridiculously slow driving. The locals' love and appreciation for nature is refreshing, and their complaints of the urbanization of the islands makes me think a bit differently about globalization and free trade. The freshness of the air and the constant crashing of waves removes any sense of urgency or worry I had been carrying. Staying with Jules was wonderful. She was kind and a great host. Having a week to decompress after the pure chaos of the prior six weeks was invaluable. Also... SHARKS!
I also got some great drone footage, the parts with Banzai Pipeline is probably my favorite. Most parts of Hawaii are off limits to flying unless you inform the Helipads or airports of your intention. There's also quite a few areas with windmills that the DJI software lets you know are 'special restricted' zones.
Tawnee asked what country we had both spent in longest after USA, and it turns out mine is Japan! After this trip I will have spent six weeks in this incredible country.
Japan and the USA are both major players in Western civilization and yet they're so different. Japan invests heavily in transportation. The trains and subway systems are top notch, and make 99% of anything we have in America look like something from the medieval times, filthy and inefficient. The Japanese have immense respect for each other and their surroundings. They are never loud and obnoxious on public transit. Even in major cities it's incredible how quiet the streets are. The one caveat is at night once the Sapporo starts flowing :)
One thing that is surprisingly hard to get used to is finding a place for your trash. There are very very few public trash cans, so you end up carrying your empty juice bottle or snack wrappers all day until you get home to throw things away. I believe this practice has tremendous impact on the cleanliness and lack of litter in the streets although that might also be from respect the Japanese have for their environment.
Ahhh I just remembered one thing that does drive me insane in what otherwise is one of my happy places. Plastic bags. Holy fucking shit. Everything, and I do mean everything gets put into a plastic bag. For example, purchasing three things at a 7-11 or Family Mart will more then likely result in each item being placed into IT'S OWN PLASTIC BAG, and then the three plastic bags put into another plastic bag with a little piece of plastic tape to seal tight the plastic bag. Coming from San Francisco, and the state of California where plastic bags have been outlawed and even paper bags cost money this practice eats at me every time it happens. Tawnee and I learned a while ago to cross your arms as an X and say state, 'Baggu wa irimasen'.
Snacks. The snacks here are such a mystery and it's always exciting trying something 100% foreign. Going into a supermarket or corner store is dangerous business these days. The best example I can make is going into an IKEA, no matter what you are coming out with a shit ton of stuff you didn't go in there for. Except this time you get to eat it and not build it! I also think there's something up with the food quality standards being different between the two countries. For instance, we bought a box of Ritz cheese crackers and I'm telling you these things were delightful. The crackers were like flakey croissants.
Shooting Japan's more rural areas from the air was equally if not more stunning then Hawaii. The colors from the flowering cherry blossom trees contrasted with, as Tawnee puts it 'The Japan Green' of other trees is really something to behold.
I nearly lost the drone after foolishly thinking being ~250ft above the gorge floor was high enough for there to be any cables crossing the expanse. I noticed at the last minute and was barely able to reverse thrust and bring the drone up before crushing into the cables. That would have been an expensive mistake... Live and Learn.
We've been here for a week, and travelled all over the island of Kyushu, planes, trains, boats, and buses you name it and we've been on it. We're headed back to Tokyo to wait for the arrival of Colin! It'll be his first time to Japan so I'm excited to show him all of this country's brilliance. I'll post some fun Japan videos once we're in Hong Kong in a week or so.