Last month I made a last-minute trip to Vancouver to meet up with my dear friend from Japan (and the friends he also brought with him, Kana-san and Y-san)! I rarely travel so last minute (I booked the trip about 2 weeks before I left) since usually I have to book my vacation months in advance, but luckily fate was on my side - the dates that my friend (we'll call him K-san, since Yumeko kindly thought of a name for me) was going to be in Canada I had somehow already requested vacation for!
I don't actually have a lot of photos from this trip (other than my pictures with my friends) because I go to Vancouver so often... everything looks the same. However the cool thing THIS time was that the Paralympic games were still continuing in the city so many of the outdoor Olympic events were still open. Except those pictures aren't on my camera. XD;
The first day I was on my own I browsed the 'Asian' part of Vancouver which is Richmond, where I spent most of my time at the only DAISO in Canada (and bought a lot of little tiny cosmetic jars to decant stuff into). Vancouver is normally pretty rainy but by afternoon the sky had cleared up so I decided to make my way to the bay.... I want to find the Olympic torch! This is one side of Canada place. North Vancouver is across the bay, and public transit actually includes a sea-shuttle that goes across the bay so you don't have to take the bus or train all the way around :)
Success! Luckily for me (and for K-san, Y-san, and Kana-san the next day) the torch was still lit for the Paralympic games. And I was especially patriotic since my Canada hoodie was the only one I'd brought with me! The platform designed for a better view of the torch was actually very well done - and the lines by the time I'd made it there were short and generally fast moving. I got to meet Paralympic Team Russia and Team USA while I made my trip the torch but I forgot to ask for pictures!
Day 2 with K-san and company we went to UBC which is probably the most gorgeous campus I've ever seen. This was in Nitobe Memorial Garden which is a beautiful Japanese garden... surrrounded by pine trees! If it weren't for the giant pine trees in the skyline I'd mistake it for a garden in Japan, which is probably the point. It was cherry blossom season in Vancouver while we were there, but because winter had JUST ended nothing else was green. Still pretty though :). We ran through this garden in 3 minutes as it was closing just as we walked up but the gatekeeper was kind enough to let us through. Don't let the serenity of this picture fool you ;)
This was taken on the Sea Bus which is probably the best value for 2.50$ transportation wise I have ever found in Canada. K-san and Kana-san were really excited to get to take a ferry across the bay... and pay 2.50$. The last day of my trip in Vancouver was INCREDIBLY busy as we had to cram in everything 'Canadian' we could before they left for Calgary (to visit me at home!). I don't think I have ever walked so much before - including my trip to Tokyo!
The last part of K-san's trip we actually spent in my hometown (Calgary) since apparently I talk about it so much he really wanted to see it! K-san and Kana-san asked me to take them out for 'something Canadian' and since Canada is such a jumble of different cultures this was actually quite difficult for me... until I remembered steak. Alberta is famous for its beef, after all :). This is my dish which was a flat-iron medium rare steak with bacon and mushroom gravy (yummy).
Afterwards we went for bubble tea since neither of them had had it (is it not popular in Japan? They had no idea what it was).
Love Forever, a Papaya and Mango bubble tea with jelly on the side, which is my new favourite drink. Haha.
Their last day in Calgary was a mad rush to fit in as many landmarks as we could AND find Ice Wine for them to bring home but we did make it to the Calgary Tower to look at Calgary's skyline... and to stand on the glass floor. I HATE heights. And apparently so does K-san as it took the other 3 in our group to push us onto the glass floor to take this picture. You can't tell but both of us are diaphoretic from nerves XD;
And that was my trip :) (For those who are wondering, K-san is a nurse, and he's back in Japan)