Posts Tagged ‘Japan’

Countdown to Japan (Part 1)

Posted: February 12, 2013 in Japan
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There’s just about four more months left until my intended trip to Japan and I am starting to be on panic mode. If you have read my Destination Japan post you know that this has been a dream of mine for quite some time now and I can just start to see it’s reality along the horizon. Enter panic mode, I still have so much to do, passports, research, planning, prepping, and any other synonym you can find in a Thesaurus when you are planning a trip of a lifetime.

At this point my brain is on overload and I needed a place to put all of my destination plans and ideas, although I am of the digital age and own an array of goodies that I could use, I recently found a Moleskine city journal of Tokyo online, there is something about the consciousness of physically writing something down that inspired me, the feel and smell of the leather that made me hunt down something that has been out of print for several years. Although other versions (cities) of this journal are fairly easy to find, mine the one I wanted was not found anywhere unless I was willing to pay what I felt was an exhorbatant amount of money. Finally I found it and am currently awaiting its arrival, rather painfully I might add as it could take up to 2 weeks!
For anyone that is planning a trip and wants to keep themselves organized and doesn’t want to miss out on the possible wonders your destination has to offer these journals are very well done and laid out, they have numerous cities available and quite a few are rather cheap.
But I caution you, don’t let your journal/book be your sole guide, look up and be a traveler and not just a tourist!

Hachiko the Akita

Posted: February 12, 2013 in Japan
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Have you ever heard the story of a faithful four legged friend named Hackiko?

In 1924 a professor at the University of Tokyo took in an Akita as his canine companion. Throughout their life together Hackiko faithfully met his owner everyday at Shibuya Station after his work day had ended. One unfortunate day in May of 1925 his master did not arrive, the professor had past away while at the university earlier that day. Eventhough his master never returned after that fateful day Hackiko continued his routine, everyday waiting for his friend that would never return. For the next nine years Hachiko maintained his daily vigil at the station sometimes not returning home for several days. So strong was the dedication to his deceased master that for the rest of his life he never missed a day of waiting. During these nine years many commuters learned of his story and would bring food and treats and in 1934 they erected a bronze statue of Hachiko that is still there today (the current statue is a reproduction done in 1948 as the original was recycled for the war effort). In March of 1935 Hachiko passed away and his remains are at the National Science Museum of Japan, and the exact place where he would wait every day has been immoralized with two bronze paw prints representing his undying faithfulness. To this day a ceremony is held in April in honor of this amazing creature.
If only we could all know the immense love that was shown in this story. Hachiko’s statue is on the tops of my list for my trip to Japan this year.

Destination Japan

Posted: February 11, 2013 in Japan
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I thought it fitting that my first blog post be about something that is a huge passion of mine, Japan. For years I have admired the land of the rising sun from afar, their people, culture, and history. All of it wrapped up into a beautiful mass of archipelago, Nippon. Well now if all goes well by the end of May it will no longer be from afar because I will be throwing 100% of myself into the beauty that is this island nation. So much of what I love took root there and I want to experience it first hand. As I close my eyes I imagine myself small and insignificant standing in the middle of Shibuya Crossing, as the throngs of people move along and I am swept up in the tide. Just thinking about it now brings a smile to my face.

I must ensure I absorb every drop of it all while I am there, so there is lots to do. I have been talking, no dreaming about this for so long that it still seems unreal but it is! Fifteen full days in what was once known as Edo (Tokyo), it sounds like plenty of time but what would appear to the uninitiated as a small metropolis is actually a vast expanse of territory that is more like a group of cities that have merged into one colossal city.
To better understand the geography of Japan it is best to think of Tokyo as more like an American state and that its 23 central wards are more like our cities and are governed as such. Imagine the metropolis of Tokyo is 844.66 square miles that is roughly the size of New York city and Los Angeles combined (now thats Gotham!). So you can imagine the task at hand, to think about it now makes my heart skip a beat. Especially when I imagine the flight! I will declare it now I am actually petrified of flying and this is a long flight from where I hang my hat, but alas to dream a dream and make it a reality is my mission. So I will continue my research and prepare for the trip of a lifetime and when my feet touch the ground in this over 500 year old city I will immerse myself in the life of a traveler and look up from my camera and guide books and delight in the jungle that lay before me.