Thursday, May 23, 2019

Total Power Exchange



What is that?
BDSM is about exchanging power with another/others.
Total Power Exchange (TPE) is when there is a consensual agreement that the Dominant takes complete responsibility for the sub/slave and the sub/slave agrees to adhere to the Dominant’s authority in all realms. The dynamic doesn’t stop after a scene but it continues 24/7.

(Since some people don’t like to term slave I will use both sub/submissive and slave… and yes, some would criticize me with love that TPE by definition means the sub is a slave. And for the fact I use the term person/people to include the slave/sub so mark me down as a rebel with too many causes but sub/slave is how I’m moving forward.)

I will say I’ve met many people who believe in the all or nothing way of BDSM and that filters through to Total Power Exchange. If it works for them great, but after 30+ years, I live in the real world: What works for some doesn’t may not work for others.

Just because you don’t take TPE to the extreme doesn’t make what you’re doing any less valid than folks doing everything by the “rules” 24/7.

**To me there is NO wrong way if the people engaging in this type of relationship are contented and no one else is being harmed I say go for it in the way that sparks your joy and fits YOUR reality**

A Total Power Exchange is a HUGE deal. Emphasis on the world TOTAL, you are exchanging power on all levels and without an end.

Many times, this is the ultimate fantasy for a sub. To give themselves over completely and the Master will fill their life with purpose. Providing the gift of service to a Master who gives you what you need seems flawless. What could possibly interfere with the deliciousness of TPE?

How does total power exchange translate into public life? Are both Master and slave/sub comfortable with the idea of EVERYONE knowing including but not limited to: family, non-BDSM friends, work peers, bosses, grocery clerks, kids, etc.
EVERYONE?
Or do you need to negotiate who knows. Also, what are the consequences of people knowing and of not knowing? How can you lessen the negative impact?
Does the slave/sub continue to work outside the home?

What is the extent of the Master’s authority?
Total?
Great, let’s step beyond the sexiness of the Master controlling the slave’s orgasms, and commanding them about while they prance around with fluid grace. How about when and where (& in some cases how) the slave is able to go to the bathroom? Financial decisions? Health decisions? Family decisions?

To what level does the Master and slave/sub want the slave/sub’s schedule micromanaged. That’s no small undertaking if they want it to be “total” control. Even if you have a nice routine ironed out what happens when the unexpected occurs? Are there contingencies in place? Should the sub/slave contact the Master? What if they can’t be reached? If there’s an emergency how should the slave/sub react? Call their Master before 9-1-1?

On one extreme the Master decides everything and the relationship is known to everyone. The sub/slave doesn’t work outside the home and is given a routine from the Master and all contingencies are taken-into-account. There’s a secure safety plan in place. There is no softening of how the Master and slave/sub interact regardless of the situation. Some people can manage this and be extremely happy for their entire lives. I’ve met a handful and I think it’s amazing and beautiful.

But perhaps people who are in a forever relationship and are in a TPE there might be times when things come up where the sub/slave should/must/needs (gasp) to have an equal say in a particular matter so they use a loophole of 23/7.

23/7 makes allowances for reality. In many total power exchange relationships there is no safeword. If an unexpected and unplanned emergency happens and the slave/sub needs to stop the TPE for a time and deal with the situation as a full partner 23/7 takes that into account. I don’t have kids but I’d imagine both parents might want a say in raising them, decisions on elderly parents, moving, huge financial commitments, etc. (Again, when other people are impacted a closer look needs to be given.)

Contract
There is usually a contract (though some people don’t have one). A contract can help each person clarify responsibilities, expectations, goals, etc. The contract can be written as specific or open as the individuals chose. Maybe 23/7 isn’t enough and more equality, at times is needed to enhance the relationship. Contract negotiation is the time to figure these variables out to the best of your abilities.
Here’s site offers that offers TPE Contracts:  https://bdsmcontracts.org/master-slave-contract

((SIDE NOTE for sub/slaves: Please be EXTEMELY careful of the partner(s) you chose to enter into a TPE with because this could quickly turn into a nightmare. Your mental and physical health is important make sure it’s being addressed by someone who takes their responsibilities seriously.))

Adapting a Total Power Exchange to Reality
I believe with enough creativity you can get around almost any obstacle. So, if this is something you crave FIGURE IT OUT. Here’s some off the cuff ideas for making TPE work.

Dealing with Others: Some might be down with the sub/slave kneeling at their Master’s feet while others might not be. Or the people in the relationship might not want to share such personal information with others.
Some work arounds might be:
*Put the 24/7 on hold until alone (though that can be jarring for everyone involved).
*Find other ways to reinforce the dynamic. Many BDSM type interactions could be exchanged for something that passes as sweetness between couples.
    *Changing the titles to endearments, instead of Master honey or sweetheart might work.   
    *Instead of kneeling at the Master’s feet maybe they choose/order the slave/sub’s meal. At a dinner party the sub could fill the Master’s plate with food.
    *Perhaps instead of asking permission to eat/do X the sub might say “Mmmm, everything looks so good.” And the Master could reply, “Try the string beans they’re delicious.” > Gives permission as well as direction.
    *Subtle requests could be done with a raised eyebrow, a hand squeeze, a touch… morph the typical couple’s signals into BDSM speak.

Micromanagement: As with any good job description there is a section of clear responsibilities. The more specific the sub/slave’s routine the better it is for all concerned. Remember there is always that phrase “And any other assigned duties” that gives wiggle room to add and refine.
   

Bottom line if you want a total power exchange to work:
1)    Discuss with full disclosure all of your needs, wants, misgivings
2)    Creatively figure out how to overcome obstacles
3)    Plan
4)    Possibly run a trial period to work out (or in) the kinks.
5)    Have a contract
6)    And don’t invalidate yourself if your TPE isn’t perfectly by someone else’s rules
7)    Don’t be afraid to revisit the contract as people evolve and their needs change


Total Power Exchange is considered in Lock and Key.
 


Always seek your own truth.

I’d love to hear from you so comment here or use the contact information to touch base with me privately.

Many hugs,
Z. Allora










Thursday, May 16, 2019

No outrage over gay actor playing a gender non-conforming role...

 First let me applaud the CW for having a gender non-conforming character in their new show (Glamorous) However, the CW cast an openly gay actor to play a gender non-conforming role. 

We' seen the outrage in the past people have lost it when a straight actor/actresses plays a gay character or a cisgender actor/actress plays a transgender character they should be consistent. 
Don't gender non-conforming people deserve the same standard?
But I'm hearing silence... not outrage.
I ask why not? Does the fact this actor is gay just automatically check the LGBTQIA+ box & cover CW's casting decision? 

What's the difference between a straight actor vs a gay actor playing a gender non-conforming part? Gay doesn't equal gender non-conforming anymore then cisgender = transgender.

For me personally as a nonbinary of the transmascine variety: I'm thrilled to see a character who is at least voicing one perspective of the gender non-conforming experience I'm not going to bitch about whose going to play the person.

>>> Though I'm not a gender non-conforming actor/actress looking for work with so few gender non-conforming roles<<<

Again for me: I almost see this as part of the road to visibility. A necessary part of the journey of having more gender non-conforming understanding. Having more nonbinary and gender non-conforming roles in movies/books/tv help people to understand what it means.

So I'll remain thrilled this is happening! I WANT MORE! If I can get more nonbinary and gender non-conforming actors/actresses/people to play these roles AWESOME! 
Here's a video on gender non-conformity. (Remember it's only how one kid expresses it... it's not the only way.)  
Hugs, Z. 

Thursday, May 9, 2019

BDSM as a Cure


Cue the eye roll... Stay with me, Pretty Ones

BDSM DOESN’T CURE EVERYTHING, BUT IT DOES HAVE BENEFITS THAT CAN PROMOTE HEALING.


(As always, results will vary based on individual differences)

1) BDSM as a break.
There’s no thinking/worrying/obsessing when you hit deep subspace. You’re completely in the moment. At times, it can be an almost meditative state (comparable to yoga).
Top space/subspace—or “the flow” as some refer to it—reduces stress hormones. The mental break can sometimes help you find a solution or new perspective just by focusing on BDSM.

2) Attention
Having someone truly hear and see you is incredible. I’d bet most of us can remember when we didn’t get the attention we craved from a parent, friend, teacher, lover, etc. Not a big deal, right? Sometimes, it can leave scars that even we don’t attend to and it can affect our self-esteem, how we interact with others, how we trust, etc. BDSM steps in and provides attention. Both the sub and the Dom(s) are focused on each other. The rest of the world fades away.

3)Acknowledging the Hurt
I’m going to quote Ani who wrote these words in How BDSM Heals My Childhood Wounds: “When someone hurts me (during a scene), they acknowledge that they are hurting me. They want to hurt me. And they know that I am hurting, because I am moaning or screaming or begging them to stop. And they tell me that they know it hurts. And there is something healing to that, this witnessing of my pain, even as they are causing it. There’s a shared knowledge, a secret covenant, between sadist and masochist: ‘I will hurt you. You will suffer for me. In exchange, I will see your pain and guide you through it. I will help you transcend it.’”
(How BDSM Heals My Childhood Wounds Posted by Ani | Dec 29, 2016 | Kink 

Maybe it’s because I’m in edits, but her words remind me of a romance arc: the characters meet, spend time together, go through some trauma/drama, and emerge on the other side stronger for the journey. Reading about a characters overcoming obstacles and triumphing reassures us, gives us hope, helps us think beyond our current issues to a happily ever after.
 
4) BDSM can release endorphins. Endorphins regulate pain, stress, and cravings.
>>> In Secured and Free, Marcus uses a bit of torment to help Orion through his anxiety over even discussing BDSM. One of the ways to get through anxiety is alternate stimulation.

Excerpt from Secured and Free Marcus’s Cock Therapy:
(Orion is shying away from communicating with his Doms because he sees it as topping from the bottom.)
“I consider it more like communication.” Hunt was firm, but Orion shook his head as if he missed the point.

“Sexy one, Hunter’s all that, but he’s not infallible. No Dom is.” Why did Marcus feel like he was telling a kid the Easter Bunny wasn’t real? Marcus slid his finger around the crown of Orion’s cock in compensation for the loss.

“Oh God! Marcus!” Orion’s head hit the back of the sofa.

Marcus spread the wetness from the tip all over Orion’s cock. “God Marcus... that has a ring to it.”

He could be developing the first ever cock therapy. Imagine all the difficult issues people could deal with as he tormented their dicks. Nah, he liked the two dicks he had to tease.

5) BDSM strengthens bonds between couples.
There was a study published a few years ago that suggested BDSM couples “felt more secure in their relationships and had an increased sense of well-being. They were more conscientious toward others, more extraverted, more open to trying new experiences, had decreased anxiety, and were less sensitive to others’ perceptions. Interestingly, they were also more aware of their own sexual needs ….” ((http://sexualhealth.about.com/od/sextherapy/ss/The-Health-Benefits-of-BDSM.htm))


 I do believe the trope of BDSM healing is based in reality (at least in my experience).

In Secured and Free, during a sub meeting, a member explains how the use of a bracelet that can be turned into cuffs is helping her deal with her extreme shyness.


This is a simple bracelet... but for someone with anxiety, it can remind them of the calm they experience when secured with rope as well as grant some of the benefits BDSM has been shown to give.



And if the bracelet isn’t enough of a reminder, they open up into sturdy cuffs.
They come in various colors and designs. I worked with a charming man who custom made these for me. His website is: Leather Wood Studios

This is an excerpt from Secured and Free’s sub meeting. Orion has given up on BDSM. A violation stole the trust he needed to have to do a scene. After meeting Hunter and Marcus, Orion longs to find a way back to BDSM...


Excerpt from Secured and Free:
Circling the room before taking his seat, Zack said, “I’d like to invite Erin to share.”

“Erin’s here?” “Erin’s going to speak?” and variations on the question made its way around the room. Applause broke out when she took the floor.

She grinned. “Yes, Erin is here, and I wanted to share.” Erin, a collared submissive who Orion rarely heard speak above a whisper and who usually hid behind her wealth of red hair, had more confidence than he remembered.

Erin rubbed two fingers across a red leather bracelet decorated with a grouping of three black hearts. “Most of you know about my severe anxiety.”

Her anxiety kept her out of most play parties, sub meetings, and demonstrations because she couldn’t handle the stimulation of a crowd. Seeing her stand and speak to about fifty subs in attendance was nothing short of miraculous.

Throwing her wavy hair over her shoulders, she said, “I don’t think I’ve found a cure for anxiety or anything, but I found assistance.”

Most subs leaned forward.She held out her braceleted wrist. “This is my secret weapon.” Ross squinted. “A bracelet? It’s pretty and all, but—”

“It’s actually cuffs.” She stepped over to Zack. “Would you please?”

 “Of course.” Zack unsnapped the leather, opened the bracelet into two bands of leather, and then resnapped the circles so a loop wrapped around each wrist.

Erin held up her hands, which were now cuffed, and tugged. “Now I know everyone views things differently. Some people see bondage as....”

“Sexy and hot.” “Punishment,” a newbie called out. “Allowing the sub’s beauty to be displayed, and a way of creating living art,” Zack, who was one of the best in Japanese erotic bondage, added.

Erin nodded. “It’s different for everyone. For me, when my Mistress and Master put me in bondage, it’s like a day at the spa.”

Orion blocked out the envy and the wishes of his rope-laden fantasies. He’d heard tales of Hunter’s prowess with suspension work. Oh, the positions—stop!

He refocused on Erin. “As soon as the ropes start to wrap around me, I relax. I trust Mistress Jess and Master Ralph will take care of everything, and I can just be.”

Sam grinned. “So how does the magic bracelet work?”

Erin giggled. “It’s not magic, but wearing it allows me to access a bit of that calm I experience when in bondage. Each morning my Mistress and Master will call me over to them and put the bracelet on me. They both tell me to remember I’m loved and safe.” She shrugged. “I’ve been able to do more and more stuff that my anxiety used to stop me from doing.”

“The bracelet puts you in subspace?” Sam asked.

Orion had gotten tiny tastes of subspace while having Hunter and Marcus sex him up.

“Um... not really... maybe.... It lets me remember that heavenly place and gives me a relaxed feeling. Even though I’m still nervous standing here. Talking to a group was never something I’d have done ever before.”

By the way, I used this bracelet at the Denver GRL. I’m terrified of talking in front of a large group of people, so between the legal pot and the bracelet I was able to sit there and not flee. Erin had more success than I did but I was able to survive it. (Though a number of people asked what was going on because I was twisting the bracelet. I was desperate for it to be tighter and to hurt… no worries, no more panels for me!)


Entwined Dreams: Book Two
An abusive Dom robbed Orion Gordon of his love of BDSM, destroying his confidence and leaving him unsure he’ll ever find peace through submission to another. Still, deep inside, his longing continues. 

Marcus Sadir loves Hunter Dixon, yet can’t be the one thing Hunter truly desires: a sub to control. And Hunter can’t find satisfaction in the sadistic aspects of the BDSM lifestyle, while Marcus thrives on inflicting and sharing pain. When Marcus convinces Hunter they should find a third on a permanent basis, they discover Orion might be the key to bridging their differences and joining them on a deeper level. 

But they must help Orion move past his trauma enough for him to enjoy new facets of BDSM and kink again. Their journey toward becoming whole—together—won’t be without challenges. Can Orion trust enough to try again?


BUY LINKS:


Many people take issue with the idea BDSM can heal. That’s fine… for some people, maybe it can’t assist them, but I’ve used aspects of BDSM in my life and have found it makes me happier and healthier. Did it solve my problems? No, but the practice gave me a break from anxiety, and in some cases the courage and strength to deal with issues in a more productive way. Again, everyone’s different.
Many Hugs,
Z. Allora

Always Seek Your Own Truth

To contact Z. Allora:
E-mail: Z.AlloraHappyEndings@gmail.com
FACEBOOK:   Z Allora Allora
Twitter: @ZAllora
Dreamspinner: https://bit.ly/2Jv14r1

BIO: Z. Allora believes in happily ever after for everyone. She met her own true love through the personals and has traveled to over thirty countries with him. She’s lived in Singapore, Israel and China. Now back home to the USA she’s an active member of PFLAG and a strong supporter of those on the rainbow in her community. She wants to promote understanding and acceptance through her actions and words. Writing rainbow romance allows her the opportunity to open hearts and change minds.


Thursday, May 2, 2019

The Penis Festival


In Kawaski, Japan I attended the 2019 the Shinto Kanamara Matsuri or the Festival of the Steel Phallus. The ceremony takes place at Kanayama Shrine each spring usually the 1st Sunday in April.

I'm a bit of a planner so we got the area the day before the celebration officially began. It was the best thing EVER! We were able to see and appreciate the tiny shrine without the hordes of people.
Here's some pictures of the shrines outer buildings.


The ceiling of one of the outdoor the shrines

Close up the ceiling (didn't want you to miss it)

More ceiling
On the wall




On the Shrine beams

On the Walls

Prayer plaques with hand drawn art
How did all this get started?
"The legend being that a jealous sharp-toothed demon hid inside the vagina of a young woman the demon fell in love with and bit off penises of two young men on their wedding nights.[6] After that the woman sought help from a blacksmith, who fashioned an iron phallus to break the demon's teeth, which led to the enshrinement of the item.[7] This legend in Ainu language was published as "The Island of Women" by Basil Hall Chamberlain" (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kanamara_Matsuri)

Here's the iron phallus that defeated the demon. 

 
"The Kanayama Shrine was popular among prostitutes who wished to pray for protection from sexually transmitted infections.[9]
It is also said the shrine offers divine protections for business prosperity, and for the clan's prosperity; and for easy delivery, marriage, and married-couple harmony.[citation needed]
The festival started in 1969.[10] Today, the festival has become something of a tourist attraction and is used to raise money for HIV research."[11]"  (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kanamara_Matsuri)

Part of the parade

Treats sold in the shops along the path to the Temple
More shopping

Shopping on the Shrine grounds prior to claiming my place
 We got there at 830am. The parade was due to start at 1130pm. By 9:15 they roped off the Shrine grounds and people could wait outside. There were thousands of people gathered to celebrate.
Two of the Priestesses in training

The Priest after he blessed the floats & the carriers


Cause everyone needs something to suck on...



Me & a lovely man from San Fran
Fashion

Before a million people came... (pun intended cause this is me and I am obligated!)

So if you happen to be in Japan the first Sunday of April (which usually means cherry blossoms) you might want to celebrate.

Many hugs, Z.

Thursday, April 25, 2019

Shibari Do's and Don'ts

Beginners Guide to Rope Bondage from UberKinky gives a concise list of the things to do and the things not to do. (As with any list it doesn’t cover every person or situation. Always be aware of individual differences and those must be considered.)

Do
  • Expand pressure points by using multiple coils (wraps)
  • Make sure coils are side by side; never cross the rope
  • Practice tying and untying knots beforehand
  • Apply warmth after scene to get the blood flowing
  • Discuss boundaries and decide on a safe word/action
  • Stop immediately if the bottom experiences pain or signs of circulatory problems
  • Remove restraints carefully to prevent rope burn
  • Have a pair of blunt scissors handy. Ideally, they should be angled like EMT scissors

Don't
  • Tie knots too tightly; follow the finger rule and allow additional space around the rib cage
  • Leave a bound bottom unattended
  • Attempt suspension bondage without proper training
  • Use a gag, unless a safe action has been decided upon
  • Engage in rope bondage if the bottom has a heart/respiratory/circulatory condition
  • Play in the dark – the bottom needs to be watched over
  • Use a slip style knot around the neck, or restrict breathing in any way



What rope should I use?

A question that will usually get you the frustrating answer of: It depends.

Why? Because it does.

Every scene has a different set of factors and goals, add in each individual’s needs, limitations, experience level… you get the picture on why it depends really is the most responsible answer.

In order to do a quick rundown of some different types of rope available, I’m going to sum up an article Bondage Rope: What Kind of Rope Is Best for Bondage? posted On the Bondage Connection by Pete Riggs published on July 24,2015. (I’m using a basic article to sum up the rope types because I went through this process decades ago so ruled out things and evolved to address where I am now >>> I don’t want to affect your decision based on my filter and I’m here to explore not prescribe > only the people involved have the details to get the knowledge they need to make the right decisions for them.)

Types of Rope Available 

Cotton
Pros: Cheap, knots hold well, washable, strong, lightweight
Cons: Knots hold tight so untying is slow. (Tend not to be use for suspension work)

Hemp
Pros: Favored for Shibari, very strong, good in suspension work, strong tooth (holds in place), look beautiful, various textures (soft or scratchy).
Cons: Can be pricey, find a trusted manufacturer or deal with shedding fibers.

Jute
Pros: Favorite with Shibari masters, lays well but it is less flexible, good for hitches and suspension work, durable, gets better with use.
Cons: Expensive, can cause friction burn if you work too fast with it.

Polypropylene with core intact Polypropylene Webbing (core removed)
Pros: Almost no tooth (= much less friction) which allows a skilled rigger/Rope Master to untie quick without much fear of friction burn, light weight, easy to untie, prettier knots that sit flatter on skin (especially if you remove the core) which means the pressure is more diffused, and it’s washable.
Cons: Can melt with heat so might need to avoid using wax with this type of rope. Can’t use slipknots, less tooth so can’t depend on the rope tension to hold weight.

Nylon
Pros: Different kinds of rope marks (what’s left after removal by the lines and knots), strong, flexible, soft, washable.
Cons: Expensive and not recommended for Shibari

((https://www.ropeconnections.com/kind-bondage-rope-best-bondage))


START SLOW.
Remember you LEARNED to drive a car you didn’t jump in and drive off. PLEASE use the same respect with this practice. (BTW some of the best Rope Masters out there will say they practice Shibari because they constantly strive to improve and expand their knowledge).

Shibari and any rope play can be an incredible experience. Individual differences and preferences may apply. Please play with someone who is experienced, or take a class, watch videos, go to demonstrations, ask questions of people you trust.
And because you know I’m paranoid I beg you to please take a look at this website (and others) about injuries:  https://www.shibariclasses.com/courses/shibari_1/lectures/110914


Keep in mind your needs/limits/life/physical body may change meaning you should revisit your choices (in every aspect of BDSM) on a regular basis.

Have fun and be safe!

Always seek your own truth.

I’d love to hear from you so comment here or use the contact information to touch base with me privately.

Many hugs,
Z. Allora




To contact Z. Allora:
E-mail: Z.AlloraHappyEndings@gmail.com
FACEBOOK:   Z Allora Allora
Twitter: @ZAllora
Dreamspinner: https://bit.ly/2Jv14r1

BIO: Z. Allora believes in happily ever after for everyone. She met her own true love through the personals and has traveled to over thirty countries with him. She’s lived in Singapore, Israel and China. Now back home to the USA she’s an active member of PFLAG and a strong supporter of those on the rainbow in her community. She wants to promote understanding and acceptance through her actions and words. Writing rainbow romance allows her the opportunity to open hearts and change minds.

Thursday, April 18, 2019

Traveling and Trips RESEACH before you go! (& my Japan Itinerary)



1)    Figure out what do YOU want to see?
I usually do this by finding out what are the top tourist destinations & then adjust it to what I like. Then I look for off the beaten path (museums, animals, shopping, shows, experiences & food)
I develop an A-list (must do’s), a B-list for if there’s time and I’m ready to be flexible based on weather. (Okay I also have a C & D-list but I’m a bit special with my anxiety of missing something.)

2)    Get your phone a SIM card at the airport or look into ways of getting WIFI (portable devices). It makes getting around easier (Google maps tells you not only driving directions but which trains & buses)

3)    Figure out if you need the train pass getting it while you’re in your country is cheaper. If a 21 day pass for JR Line (includes most of where our travels take us is $750 if I were to purchase separate tix in Japan it would be 3x the cost.)

4)    Timing: Only plan for 4-6 hours of planned activities for each day because things happen when you are traveling. You may find a wonderful something and you want time to explore or experience the unexpected. This way you can get lost and enjoy without rushing. Those are some of the best experiences. Plus down time keeps you sane so you can remain stable and rested for you can truly have a lovely time.

5)    Shit happens. It SUCKS! You’ve paid a lot of money for the vacation and you want to enjoy every second of it. Unfortunately, life happens and all you can do is make the best of it and find the joy in the unexpected and if nothing else your misery will make a great story. (While it’s happening, I envision the creative way I will explain the fuckery.)

6)    Being prepared for some of the what if’s can help avoid some of the downsides. Find out what they are ahead of time. (Ex. I knew Cambodia’s sun would be brutal from 1130 to 330… we arranged are exploring to pre-dawn and were having breakfast by 1030am, spent lovely afternoons in bed or swimming in a shaded pool and would go out at 330 until twilight. It was rather magical.)

7)    Getting your ass out of bed. There’s a reason it’s crowded by late morning that’s when everyone does things… get up and get there early. You’re experience will be so much richer. BTW you’re already jetlag so use it to your advance.

8)    Find happiness in the experience

9) Download google translate and make a basic list of words to practice (please, thank you, hello, where's the bathroom, excuse me) and make a favorite list of words of other things related to food, medical, clothing, questions, etc.

10) Make sure to have a taxi card of the hotel.

11) Have copies of your passport and leave one with a friend who can fax it if need be.  

12) Use basic safety: money in two places, lock your valuables in a safe at the hotel, etc.


This is my itinerary.  We've been 2x to Japan before for business trips with long weekends but this is the 1st time we're going for 21 days for just pleasure!

Tokyo:
Staying right in Ikebujuro (Staying for 8 days & back for a day at the very end of the trip) Centurion Hotel Ikebujuro
*Animate & Otome Road (Yaoi Central)
*Ikebujuro District
*Tsukiji Fish Market
*The Pokemon Center
*Harajuku District (*Takeshita- cosplay & boutique Takeshita distinct btw Meiji-dori & Harajuka on Sundays)
*Japanese Folk Crafts Museum
* Tokyo National Museum (maybe if time)
*Purkura (print club funny photo shots)
*Japanese Sword Museum
*Shinjuku= neon lights
*Shibuya Scramble = crosswalk of 3,000 people every light
 Cafes :
*The Butler’s Café = Ikebukuro Boys Love Academy (in Japanese 池袋男子BL学園Ikebukuro Danshi BL Gakuen or even shorter called Ike-Gaku)
*The Owl Café
*Akiba Fukurou Owl Cafe
*Ikebukuro Cafe
*Cafe Baron
*Tori no Iru Cafe
*The Vampire Café

PENIS FESTIVAL 1.5 days
(Hotel within walking distance of the festival... we'll be there extremely early cause I don't want them to run out of penises... you know you've got to be careful of such things! LOL)

Karatsu:
Yuri On Ice 2 days
Scott found a chef who LOVES Yuri on Ice who hopefully we'll get reservations at his restaurant (this is our one big expensive meal... this fan has a Michelin Star!!! Which I find fantastic and crazy because he gives you baskets of plushies to decorate your placemat with LOLOL)
We have an actual guide to ensure we find all the places they show in the anime (shopping arcade, the onsen, restaurants, etc.)
The town is on the beach so that should be relaxing & there's this weird creepy black tree forest right next to our hotel that we want to see. (Who knew… I did cause I stalked the hell out of the location.

Kyoto:
 6 days
*Kyoto Handicraft Center
*Arashiyama (Bamboo forest) & Iwatayama Monkey Park (on Mt. Arashiyama) near Otagi Nenbutsuji Temple
*Kiyomizu-dera  (Temple on the Mountain) (6a-6p) ((Lit in evenings during cherry blossom)
*Sanjusangen-do (Temple 1001 life-sized Goddess Kannon statues)
*Kinkaku-ji
*Gion
*Philosopher’s Path
Nishiki Market (food hall) Aritsugu=knife shop & Zohiko=lacquer ware
Higashi Honganji (whimsical dragon fountains) (maybe)
Kyoto International Museum (maybe)
Eating:
*Pontocho Alley for dinners
*Kaboku Tearoom
Side trip to Nara for the deer park & temples

Osaka:
1 day & overnight
Dotonbori: neon nightlife
Osaka Castle

Back to Tokyo for the final evening.

At the time of this post hopefully we'll be returning from an amazing trip or I'll have lots of terrible stories to tell in creative ways.