This story has two main characters, Omar and Meru, with special guest appearances by friend and interesting characters (including intense sales women, soldiers, etc.)
Omar is your not so typical Puerto Rican boy who has developed a (healthy?) love/hate relationship with Japan and Asia in general. Mostly love, but sometimes it's still difficult for him to understand why all this food goodness has to be so far from the US.
Meru is Omar's Filipino-American big sister. Crazy, energetic, and wicked smart, Meru's charm has been known to captivate everyone around her and puzzle them. "Why is this Filipino girl speaking in five different languages, suddenly jumping around, then randomly throwing gangsta signs while posing for a picture?" no one will ever comprehend. Meru decided to take a year off med school to live in Japan and travel around Asia during breaks.
Omar and Meru woke up one day with an ache to travel around Asia that just wouldn't go away. You see, they both have been to Japan multiple times and always want to spend time there, but there are just too many places they haven't had a chance to see yet in Asia. As such they talked about a trip, and one morning over google talk they decided that if they wanted to travel they just had to go ahead and book things. Five hours chatting over google talk and many clicks and searches later they successfully booked a 3.5 weeks trip around Asia.
The schedule promised lots of moving around and fun to be had, and it included:
One night stop in Kobe
Three nights in Seoul
Three nights in Tokyo
Two nights in Osaka/Kobe
Five nights in Taipei
Four nights in Hanoi
Six nights in Cebu (for Omar, Meru will stay for longer)
Many friends asked about the thought process picking places. Our guiding principles were:
1) It will be fun and varied
2) China is huge and shouldn't be squeezed in only 3-4 days, as such it shall be excluded for now
3) We will minimize costs by finding good deals on airfare/hotels (using miles/points to pay as possible)
4) there really weren't any guidelines... We just went around looking at things and booking things as they seemed to fit the trip.
Now we are 7/24 nights into the trip and have spent time in Kobe, Seoul and Tokyo. Seoul was the only new city for the two of them, but there has been in no way a shortage of new experiences so far.
As travel schedule permits, there will be summaries of some of the experiences posted here. If you find yourself aching to know what these two characters described above are doing in Asia, read up and enjoy. You may just encounter stories and observations about furriness, old men with dancing queen ringtones, North Korean soldiers, amazing food, missed flights and price haggling in Seoul stores with cute sales people... Just because they were nice and cute.
And of course, whatever else happens in the next 17 nights going around new cities/countries.