Keep Portland Weird

I got to go to Portland, OR on a business trip. I was there for a few days. I stayed at the Hilton downtown. I was able to use a mobile key to access to the room. It was pretty convenient.  On my second day, I stopped by at one of my favorite coffee shops, Spella. It was very satisfying.
On the second day, we went down to Ponzi Vineyards for dinner and wine tasting. The
winery is very beautiful. The food was amazing. The wine was great.  On the third day, we walked to Powell’s City of Books – a really cool bookstore. On the way
back, we stopped by VooDoo Doughnut and I got a Viscous Hibiscus donut.  The next day, I almost missed my flight back to Osaka. I had the date wrong. When I
woke up I realized my flight was that day (Friday) not Saturday. I called the United 1K Line
and got lucky. The agent was able to reroute me. Instead of PDX-SFO-KIX on United, I
was rerouted to PDX-SFO-NRT-ITM on ANA. I was very happy I was able to leave that day.
Got to be more careful next time.  

A Day Trip to Kurashiki (August 27, 2016)

A Day Trip to Kurashiki (August 27, 2016)Today, I took a Shinkansen from Osaka to Okayama. It was not my first time taking a Shinkansen but my last time was a long time ago. It was very fast and it took me only  about 90 minutes to get from Shin-Osaka to Okayama. I bought a cheaper ticket without reserved seating but was able to find a seat with no problem. 

A friend I know from New York was on home leave in Japan. He and his wife picked me up from Okayama and we took a local train to Kurashiki.  Kurashiki is a very nice old town with a canal in the middle of the city. The weather was very nice. It was great to walk around the town with the locals.  First, we found a mini street fair. We stopped and had some snacks.  Here are a few pictures of the city.  

One interesting thing was we had lunch in the city and my friend ordered a bottle of a local sake. I tried it and I really liked it. My friend said it was made not too far from the restaurant. I said I would like to buy a bottle. We went to a store and we met the owner of the Mprota brewery who also knows my friend and his family pretty well. The owner was very kind. She invited us to the brewery and gave us a tour. It was an off-season, so the
place was empty. They still make everything the traditional way. The garden at the  brewery was 400 years old. I bought three bottles of the sake.