My Trip to Japan
I’ve had dreams of going to Japan for many years now. The city, the lights, the people all of these piqued my interest. And I can’t forget about the culture. The electronics, the video games and the overall wackiness that is Japan.
Where I Went
While we were there we saw two major cities, Tokyo and Kyoto. Tokyo is the capital and is a city that borders on gigantic. This was the first time that I have ever been to a major city and I was in awe. The city stretched as far as the eye could see. The way we had our itinerary set up was for the first half of the day, we would go and do tours with a guide and then for the second half we were free to explore on our own time. The first night we arrived, we checked in to our hotel in the evening and the excitement was just too much for us. We went out and explored the area of Shinigawa.
Why I Went
I recently graduated from high school and as a graduate present I was given the opportunity to visit Japan with my older brother. This would be the first time that I traveled to Asia and also the first time I would only be traveling with my brother. I wasn’t too worried at the time since he’s a real go getter and knows how to take care of things in advance. I on the other hand, have a more spontaneous last minute personality. I have been infatuated with Japan for quite some time.
What I Did While There
Me and my brother are sneaker fans and love street wear clothing. So a very fun part of our visit in Tokyo was finding little niche stores. As opposed to American stores, these Japanese stores hid themselves away and made the search for them that more meaningful. Tucked away or no visible signs made the journey to find these stores reminiscent of a scavenger hunt of sorts. Another neat thing that I discovered in Japan was that instead of building out, they built up. So seeing a electronics store like a Best Buy have multiple floors as opposed to sections, made me enjoy the simplicities.
My Favorite Part
The lights of Tokyo. Deep down one of my most favorite things are neon lights. The colors, the warmth, the everything so going to downtown Tokyo was picture perfect. The natural beauty of the temples in mixture with the environment of Kyoto. Another thing that I am fascinated with is nature. I love to hike and just experience the earth beneath my feet. The landscape painted a picturesque view of how to incorporate the living with the non-living. One of my personal pleasures are Japanese gardens. Since Kyoto is renowned for its gardens, this visit was fascinating to me.
Actually one of my most favorite parts of my visit took place in Kyoto. I and my brother were wandering around the outskirts of Kyoto city when we stumbled upon a hiking path. So instead of sticking to a set plan, we decided “why not” and decided to hike it. This non linear choice in activity made me get a better appreciation of the land of Japan. Along the path we saw a couple of shrines. And actually we saw a man who would go up to each shrine, pray, then move on to the next one. This simple act made me feel more in tune with the spirit of Japan. We were on a path that locals use and it helped me feel a part of the landscape. As we continued our walk along the path, we came upon a cemetery. Seeing the cemetery made me realize just how much different we are when it comes to burying our dead. The headstones were not big and annouced. They were small, even spaced and gave a sense of order to the dead. We continued along the path until it took us back into civilization but my time walking made me feel closer to the people of Japan.
My Least Favorite Part
Walking so much that we were super exhausted and fell asleep early and didn’t get to make it over to Roppongi Hills. Only having two days in Tokyo and two days in Kyoto because this was not really enough time to experience the cities.
Unfortunately we didn’t eat as much local cuisine as I had hoped. This was two to things: one was that we weren’t really sure where to stop to eat and the second thing was that since we had been walking many of miles, we would cop out and eat McDonalds just because we were hungry and we knew what we would be getting there. But the times we did eat food, I thoroughly enjoyed it. I am a big fan of sushi and enjoyed every opportunity to eat it. Since me and my brother do not speak a lick of Japanese, we actually did not find it that difficult to order food. A neat concept that many Japanese restaurants utilized was having plastic food displays of their menu viewable in the front window. This made ordering food super easy because we would simple point to whichever meal we wanted and hoped it tasted good.
Not Knowing the Language
Not knowing the language was not an issue at all. The most it ever became an issue was if we were looking for a particular place. All signs were in English and people were friendly. Even wondering the city at night time, we never felt a sense of danger.