Category: Asia

Navigating Japan's Train System

Navigating Japan’s Train System: Tips for Traveling Japan by Train

Are you planning to take a trip to Japan? Do you find Japan’s extensive public transportation system more than just a little intimidating? No need to fear! Japan’s public transportation system can be a little overwhelming at first, but once you get the hang of it, it’s actually incredibly convenient and easy to use! 

Best Shrines and Temples in Kyoto, Japan

Kyoto, Japan is full of rich culture and history. It was largely untouched during the World Wars, meaning many of the traditional architecture remains. If you are looking to experience the traditional styles and culture Japan is famous for, you’ll definitely want to check out these shrines and temples in Kyoto.

You Will Never Be Japanese - Footsteps of a Dreamer

You Will Never Be Japanese

If you are not Japanese, you will never be Japanese. This may seem like such an obvious statement. Duh, of course if I’m not born Japanese, I won’t magically become Japanese. To most people, that’s not a big deal. However, it is a fact you have to learn to accept if you intend to live in Japan, because it will come up again and again even after you’ve lived there for 20 years. You can walk like a duck, quack like a duck, but you still won’t be a duck. Sorry.

Heading Home

Heading Home

The day I left my dorm, I said goodbye to many of my friends, and spent a good part of the train ride in tears. However, I was on my way to Chiba with one of my friends, so I had that to hold onto. I spent the day with his family as he showed me around his hometown, and he and his family took me to the airport when it was finally time to board my plane.

Naritasan

Mt. Takao, Kawagoe, and Chiba

The other day one of my friends invited me to go hiking at Mt. Takao. Then yesterday I went to Kawagoe with my Rikkyo buddy. He also invited me back to his hometown in Chiba to stay with his family since my flight will be leaving from Narita airport, which is only a few minutes from his hometown.

Himeji Castle

Himeji

Today, I was off to see Himeji Castle and Kokoen, but before I did that, I also stopped at Kyoto Tower since it was closed the first time I went. I’ll admit that when I learned about Himeji castle in my Japanese classes, I wasn’t overly interested in it, but I ended up deciding to go mostly because it isn’t that far from Kyoto and because it’s such a popular place. In the end, I’m super glad I went. I think it’s my favorite out of all the castles I’ve been to.

Samurai Kembu Theater

Kyoto – Round Two

This is actually my second time in Kyoto. Despite the fact that I’ve been here already, I decided to go again simply because I didn’t get to do everything I wanted the last time I was in Kyoto. There’s just so much to do here, especially if you’re into traditional Japanese culture.

Nagoya Castle

Nagoya

Yesterday I decided to take a break from traveling. When coming back from Sendai, I arrived at my dorm around 6:00am. Since I didn’t get very much sleep, I decided to push my travel plans back and take a day to simply catch up on my sleep. Now that I’m all rested up, I’m off to Nagoya.

Chikan

Chikan

Back at my home university in my Japanese classes, we learned about the word “chikan”, which refers to public, unwanted molestation. In general, it’s often used to refer to perverted Japanese men. I’d heard stories about Japan having problems with men that would grope women, usually while on trains. Yet, it was never anything I took seriously, because I’d also heard that these types of men usually avoided foreigners. Foreigners usually weren’t afraid to retaliate, while Japanese women, especially the girls, were less likely to speak up. Since arriving in Japan I’ve seen some women only trains, but other than that, I hadn’t thought much about it.

Farewell Party

Yokohama and Farewell Party

On Tuesday me and a few friends went to Yokohama for the day and went to Chinatown and the bay area. Then, on Saturday our dorm held a farewell party. We still have a few weeks before people start leaving, but with finals starting this coming week, they figured now would be the best time. It’s hard to believe it’s already time to say farewell.

Noh Workshop, 4th of July, and Karaoke

On Saturday I went to a Noh workshop that was being held at Rikkyo. Noh is a traditional Japanese musical drama. Chances are, you’ve probably seen pictures of the masks that are often used in Noh, even if you didn’t realize what it was for. Yesterday was the 4th of July, which is Independance Day in America. Once classes were over for the day, I went out to an Izakaya (a casual drinking establishment with small food dishes and lots of alcohol) with some friends from America to celebrate my friend’s 21st birthday.

Hama Rikyu Gardens | Footsteps of a Dreamer

Hamarikyu Gardens and Origami Kaikan

In my last post I forgot to mention that I went to Waku Waku Dome (a local swimming pool) with some friends. Then today I visited Hamarikyu Gardens and Origami Kaikan. Unfortunately though, there isn’t much to say about my adventures today.