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Saturday, 25 June 2011

My first trip to Japan!

Okay, so I'm super late with this entry too. ごめんなさい....! (;_・)
Though I would like to say it wasn't my fault.....
Oh yeah, I was actually thinking of starting to write something in Japanese in all my entries in order to practice, but we'll see if that'll catch wind.

Anyway! I was planning on taking a phrase book and my Kanji book along with me on my trip, so if nothing else I could at least do something useful during my flight there, but when mom saw them in my bag she exclaimed "No studying on this trip - this is vacation!" and thus I left them at home. Which was probably a good thing. I need to learn how to chill out... 
Also, it's curious how I've been quite unbreakable when shit hit the fan in the weeks before my trip. Like, after getting over the initial shock of the car breaking down on the Scotland trip I thought "Who cares, I'll pull through and then I'm going to Japan!!" and during landing on my flight to Japan I got a really bad ache in my right ear (been over 12 years since I last had that) that went all the way down to my jaw and I thought the right side of my face was gonna be ripped open, and in the midst of all this agony I just thought "This I can handle, I am almost in Japan hell yes!!" Fun times!

Now to the main attraction...!

Day #1 - 鎌倉市(Kamakura)
This day was a bit depressing, due to the fact that I hadn't really slept on the plane and after I arrived in Japan at 7:40 am, I stayed awake for the whole day. Awake for 2 days in a row ftw? I was quite groggy and had a tight feeling in my chest all day, and in the midst of that all I felt like an alien. I felt depressingly different - like someone who looked out of place in the masses of Japanese people and shouldn't be there. I was painfully conscious of this, and it killed me. After we got to Kamakura where my dad's friend, Rod, lived, I forgot all about that though and enjoyed a really lovely meal with his family (god I was starving!) and a very nice sight-seeing tour around Kamakura. I was really pleased to see that my excitement was able to surface from the depths of my exhaustion and take control - it was really amazing seeing the real Japan, the shrines I've so often seen in pictures and the streets and houses, and ah, everything really! It was really beautiful. I loved it. We walked back to Rod's house via the beach (on which there were quite many dead fish O_o) and I managed to get my shoes filled with sand. Hurray! After that me and dad headed for our hotel in Shinjuku and enjoyed a very nice dinner consisting of authentic Japanese sushi, nom nom.

Kamakura

Day #2 - 新潟市 (Niigata)
Onward to Niigata! After a proper night's sleep,  I looked at things in a much more positive light. I realized that my alien feeling yesterday was mainly my own doing - I was the one who was conscious of the fact I'm different, and I was the one who made it an issue. I definitely think that much of it is in your head and how well you enjoy Japan and Japanese life depends mainly on your attitude. So anyways, on today's agenda was to head on to Niigata for - NANA'S CONCERT! YES! I was really excited about getting to experience a Shinkansen on my first visit already, was a really nice trip to Niigata on one and I saw a lot of Japan on the way. Very exciting. Niigata seemed like a very nice city, I would have liked to explore it further but due to the merchandise queuing and whatnot, our time was quite limited. At least while walking back to the hotel we got to see some of the city. Sadly I did not have a chance to see my friend Keisuke-kun (Kinue's nephew) while we were in Niigata, as he happened to have work that day. I will definitely have to come to Niigata again! Also, in the concert I got a really lovely feeling of affinity - it didn't matter who we were or where we came from, we were all Nana fans there and loved and respected this woman from the bottom of our hearts. It was a really nice feeling and made me feel at home. You can read the full report on the concert [here]. Holy hell was I in a state of euphoria that night. Amazing. Simply amazing.

YONDER!!

Day #3 日吉 (Hiyoshi)
After getting back to Tokyo from Niigata we met a Brazilian-Japanese man on the train, who for some reason wanted to speak to us. He seemed to hate Japan, which was understandable considering he had had to come live there against his will. Talking with him just highlighted my point on how everything depends so much on your own attitude - this man had made Japan hell for himself. I felt sorry for him. Anyway, after dropping our stuff at the hotel, it was time for something I had been quite excited about - a chance for me to try out what it would be like living in Tokyo by myself! Dad went to give a lecture at the main Keio University campus and I made my own way to where Keio Media Design is. Navigating by myself through Shinjuku and Shibuya stations was quite fun and it was nice to think that it could be part of my everyday life. Okay fine, I probably wouldn't live in central Tokyo, but still. I had no trouble finding the university building and got the hang of ticket machines at the stations too. I was quite happy. Rod had arranged a KMD student, Kanae-san, to show me around and tell me about the university. It was a really nice tour and I learned a lot, and my drive to go study there grew even stronger. Everyone I met was really nice and I just can't wait to be a part of it all. A really big thank you to Kanae-san for taking the trouble to help me out! We spoke to one of the lecturers and he said there technically was a chance to still get accepted for next September and I have to say I was quite tempted. (’-’*) I try to keep in mind though that a little break from studying will just do me good.... In the evening me, dad and Rod went to eat at a nice little place, where you did not pick what you ate but instead you'd be presented with stuff on skewers one at a time until you were full. I have to say I have no idea what half of the things I ate were, but they were delicious. I even ate one with banana on it, I am quite proud of myself! All in all a very good day - like the ones before too!

I shall go study there!

Day #4 東京 (Tokyo)
Woop, it's my birthday! Now it was finally time to go around Tokyo. We tried to cover as much ground today as possible since our time in Tokyo was very limited. We went to see Tokyo Tower first and the view from there was really stunning, though sadly the weather was not the best and due to it being rather misty you could not see as far as you could on a clear day. Nevertheless I did see Rainbow Bridge and whatnot from up there. \(^ ^)/ Next stop was the Imperial Palace, but the only open gate seemed to be on the completely opposite side from where we were so due to our limited time we only looked at it from the outside and then moved on to our next stop - Akihabara. Ha, Akihabara was definitely the geek and otaku heaven. We probably only got a taste of all the interesting things in there and with more thorough exploration a lot more amazing things could be found from there. There were lots of girls dressed as maids advertising maid cafes and I also happened to catch a glimpse of some adult shops with -gasp- school uniforms in their windows! How daring! A really fun place, could really spend a whole day there and not be bored even for a minute. I managed to do some shopping there, wohoo! Bought an electronic dictionary, a proper Fate Testarossa figure finally and a Hikki piano score book and ehum, some Nana CDs. Oh I should say that the night before I swore to myself I would not be satisfied if I did not find at least one Nana advert or poster somewhere, and luckily Akihabara did not disappoint! Though I was nearly driving dad mental with wanting to pose with all of the ones I found haha. Wut? This was in no way a Nana-oriented trip! Nuh-uh! It was all a coincidence that was bound to happen. What else could you expect when I'm in the same country as her? ( ̄~ ̄;) ANYWAY, next stop was Ginza! We didn't really go there to do anything else than look at one of the big crossings they have with the crazy crosswalks. After that we stopped by Shibuya and I was starting to get tired of seeing AKB48 adverts everywhere. xD From there we went to another place where they sold a lot of interesting clothes and where I also found a fun dog outfit shop. Dad didn't let me buy a carp and bumblebee outfit for the boys, what a pity. (;_・) This night we went to eat some yakitori, nom nom.

Nana! <3

Day #5
Nothing else went down today than going to the airport and heading back home. I have to say I really did not want to leave, but I will definitely be back so all's good. I can't wait to call Japan my next home. I can certainly say that my expectations were not let down by the actual place and this was by far the trip of my life. A very big thank you to Kanae-san, Rod and dad (and Nana too <3)! And now I really gotta start studying more Japanese vigorously - something I realized during this trip was that even though I can understand surprisingly much of what is said, there is also very much I still need to learn. では, 頑張ります!!




Pictures shortly on Facebook! And look forward to my next entry on Gotou Yuuko-san!

2 comments:

  1. What a brilliant birthday that must've been for you, incredible stuff! :)

    I'm glad you went and experienced a slice of Japan and invigorated your passion even more for the country and the way of life! :D

    And true that about taking a break from full-time education haha- definitely needed methinks after our tough final year at uni xD

    Can not wait to see the pics... ^ Loving what I'm already seeing :3

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  2. Oh, almost forgot...

    CARP + BUMBLEBEE OUTFITS FOR ELVIS + FIEVEL!

    SOMEDAY!!! :'D

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