Somewhere I’ve always wanted to visit growing up was Japan. Japanese culture made an entrance to my life early on once I discovered art and animation. It continues to influence my style in drawing and holds a near and dear part of my childhood. I figured since I was doing study abroad in Korea, and being so close to Japan, when would be a better time to plan a visit? It was a pretty impulsive decision, but I don’t regret it at all. In fact, it was incredibly memorable and I assure you I’m already planning a trip back in the next few years. (Hopefully once I graduate, but we’ll see!)
The flight from Incheon to Tokyo was approximately two hours, allowing me to make the most of my time there. Something I noticed right away is the amount of foreigners in Japan. Although I expected Korea to have a decent amount of foreigners, I was surprised that there really weren’t many unless you go to the major tourist areas. In Japan, you could find them even in local areas in pretty good numbers. I guess this makes sense since Japanese culture has definitely expanded in the recent times! I would say that a lot of cultural norms and trends between Japan and Korea overlap, so I found that pretty interesting.
As to what I did in Japan, I spent a lot of my time gravitating towards cute shops. As mentioned in my vlog, one of my top reasons to visit Korea is their cute appeal, but Japan really amps this factor up! With names like Nintendo and Studio Ghibili originating from Japan, it’s easy to imagine how many of their shops are fun to browse. Similarly, I visited some of their iconic locations for love for animated characters, Akihabara! It is an incredibly beautiful place, with people walking around in costumes and hands full of shopping bags.
I stayed at Asakusa, close to Sky Tree and the iconic shrine nearby. It was always packed with people, but that’s part of the beauty. I paid my visit and drew a omikuji, a fortune, at the temple. My friend drew the best possible fortune (!!!) while I drew regular fortune, but hey, I’ll take it. The rest of the temple area had a park and some shrines to pay respects at. I took a couple photos, but the photos do not do the place justice! Once I was done with the shrine, I went to visit the Ueno Zoo. I love seeing animals, so it’s not surprising that I had to go visit!
The food was delicious everywhere I went! You won’t believe the temptations I had to battle; store fronts had menus and food models out to display their cuisine. It’s a shame that I’m such a small person with large ambitions to eat everything! Japan is such a fun and vibrant place to visit. It’s different to say the least, but in a good way. Unfortunately, I headed home a little early each day to study since my trip to Japan was actually the weekend right before midterms due to some bad luck (woops). Thankfully, it paid off since I did pretty well on my exams and got to enjoy Japan greatly! I’ll never forget my time there and will be back soon.