Ever since I was little, I always felt that Japan was my home. It was strange, I was born and bred in jolly old England. I always felt as if I was from another country. I liked my tea without milk and sugar and I preferred spontaneous meals and food as opposed to the traditional meals. I also loved green tea, Battle Royale, Sushi, Pokémon, Sailor Moon, and other iconic manga/anime like Naruto and Digimon. What did they all have in common? They all originate or at least are associated with Japan! When I studied Japan in Geography I became interested in the country even more. I loved the sound of the cherry blossom trees and trains that actually came on time. I thought that Japan would be a perfect place to visit too.
Three years ago in the summer of 2015, I finally got my opportunity to go. I went with a company called Inside Japan Tours on Hyper Japan's J-Pop and Go tour. It really opened my eyes. Of course not every country was perfect and had its own rules to live by but even that didn't stop me from the big culture shock. Japan is reported to have a very low crime rate, but that doesn't mean that it doesn't happen.
But I am pleased to say that throughout my two weeks in Japan that I always felt safe. Even when I lost, I was able to find my way back to the hotel. In my two weeks in Japan, I discovered many shrines, shops, and restaurants. We took full advantage of the public transport available to us. We went to so many places that I can't remember of the back of my head all of them. But I remember that we went to Miyajima Island, Hiroshima, Tokyo, Kyoto, and Hanoke.
Tokyo is one of the busiest places that I have ever been to. And I enjoyed hopping onto the trains, however, when the trains get packed, they are packed. Unlike the London Underground, people will try and cram in as many people in the train as possible in the rush hour. It was so packed it broke my necklace off. Some people had to get off the train so that others could go in. There's also a very strong social etiquette to go by on the train. It's considered rude to take a call on the train. Texting is fine though. It is also polite to give your seat up for the elderly or a pregnant woman but that is also the same here too. There are many ways that Japan is different to the UK, but also in other ways that they are similar. Sometimes the busy lights and streets of Tokyo reminded me of the Picadilly Circus in London. Sadly UK's public transport isn't as good.
Staying at the hotels was interesting too. I like how they give you a complimentary set of pyjamas. It was a nice touch. The manners are also a nice touch. I like how the hotel staff greet you with Ohayo Goziamasu every morning and how the shop people and restaurant people welcome you to their premises. Which reminds me, when I went to the small sushi bar in the big fish market, one of the chefs saw my necklace and they all stopped what they were doing to admire the necklace. Since then, I've considered that necklace a lucky charm. One hilarious thing that happened to me when I was in Sunshine City was that two old ladies came up to me to ask where the toilets where. They thought that I was a local. Another funny moment was when I was roaming around Miyajima Island I was mugged by a deer who nibbled into the bag and tried to eat my train ticket. Fortunately, when I explained by the situation with the staff at the train station, they said it was fine.
I still have the chewed up ticket in my possession somewhere. I think I glued it in one of my scrapbooks somewhere.
Food was another great thing. As a lover of green tea, sushi, seafood, and salad, I have no problems getting food here. I was also pleasantly surprised with pumpkin porridge. I think the only thing that I didn't like when I was in Japan was raw horse meat. I thought it was far to rubbery in my opinion. But then again, I'm one of these people that prefer their meat cooked. I'm sure there are people that do enjoy horse meat, but I think horses are for riding. I haven't tried pufferfish, but I did enjoy some octopus balls. This entry is just a fraction of one of the many things I enjoyed in Japan. It was the perfect holiday for me. I came back with a mountain of souvenirs and a feeling of happiness.
I can't wait to go back home again.