A Glimpse of Japan

[02/18/17-02/24/17] 

Surprise, surprise.. Rae’s blog is still alive! Exams, presentations, papers and assignments of 5 courses really do build up, and that’s my only excuse for being so inactive! Thankfully, we had an interim reading break last month.

But I have a confession.. I didn’t really read at all. 😛 Instead, I went for a bit of a tour in Japan with Papa Rae! It has been nearly 5 years since the last time we travelled together, and although it wasn’t for long, I really appreciated the precious quality bonding time we had, plus an amazing getaway from the usual buzz of responsibility and stress.

A week in Japan was obviously not enough though. It was both Papa Rae and my first time in this country (unless you count that one layover I had in NRT at age 3) and I definitely had a compelling curiosity for the culture, landscape and FOOOOOD there. We joined a tour because (a) lazy and (b) busy but still mainly (a), and without doubt, I would definitely return for a backpacking trip.

Our trip began in Narita and from there, we went city hopping westward. Tokyo, Mt. Fuji, Kyoto and Osaka are the major cities we visited, and I thought I’d share some of the highlights of this trip with you all. (:

YVR -> NRT


東京 :: Tokyo 

Our first full day was spent exploring Tokyo. It was just as I imagined- bustling, energetic, and lots and lots of people, but it was also distinct from other big cities I’ve visited in the past such as New York, Taipei or Hong Kong. I really appreciated the metropolitan and historical interactions and because it’s such a small city, every street and corner reveals a story.

富士山 :: Mt. Fuji 

Fast forward a bit, we went to Mt. Fuji. Well, we went to *see* Mt. Fuji. (Maybe I’ll hike it the next time I visit xD) This iconic volcano, captured in many artworks and legends, is the highest peak of the country. The best view of Fujisan was actually not, I repeat, definitely not, the observatory. But instead, it was somewhere along the highway where I saw the most breathtaking view of the mountain.

忍野八海 :: Oshino Hakkai 

which is literally translated to, “eight seas”, was in fact not eight “seas”. It was more like eight “ponds” haha. This little town has become a tourist attraction and with their specialty snacks as well as another view of Fujisan.

The picture turned out blurry because I was self-conscious of my creepiness.. but this obaa-san is so kawaii ahh. Those are red-bean filled pastries she’s selling!

京都 :: Kyoto

Kyoto, once Japan’s capital, is a dainty city exuberant of rustic vibes and history. Unlike the skyscrapers in heavily populated Tokyo, Kyoto still preserve the traditional, wooden houses.

箱根 :: Hakone

Somewhere along the trip, we also stayed at a hot spring resort in some mountain aka in the middle of nowhere. It was such a cool experience living in a Japanese style room with tatami and whatnot (unfortunately I didn’t find Doraemon in the closet), and the sunrise glow (although the actual sun was blocked by the mountains) was stunning.

大阪 :: Osaka

I only had about a day in Osaka, but just the Osaka Castle Park alone captivated me. I was a bit disappointed that I didn’t see Seungri here but I guess another time.. (lame bigbang joke.)

 


Some of the myriad of things I loved about Japan..

  1. MATCHA GALORE. Seriously. The matcha soft serves & lattes are irreplaceable. 
  2. The streets are so clean. spotless.
  3. People are incredibly polite and welcoming! I was surprised that most people cannot speak any English even in some really touristy areas but despite the language barrier, I didn’t once feel intimidated. *sumimasen, bowbow, hai, arigatou* was all I needed to get by.
  4. Toilets are sugoii. Except I was too wimpy to actually try pressing those mysterious buttons..
  5. Convenience stores. Like seriously, feed me a ¥‎120 (~$1.40 CAD) Family Mart onigiri for a meal and I’ll be happy.
  6. Speaking of convenience.. the vending machines are fascinating. They have such a variety of drinks, and then you get the ones that make you fresh specialty coffee (YAS) and instant ramen wow amaaaze.

and the list goes on!


KIX -> NRT -> YVR

日本, またね~

<3, Rae

PS- more pics with #japanwithrae and noms @momentswithrae .. soon. 😛

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