After studying Japanese for two and a half years, I finally took my first trip to the land of the rising sun. In fact, it was my first trip overseas ever! I was nervous at first, but once the plane landed at Narita Airport, I felt so many different emotions that ranged from elation to anxiousness; however, happiness and excitement were the two main emotions that were flowing through my body. I was really in Japan, but it didn’t feel real until I actually stepped off the plane and started walking around the airport and saw signs in Japanese and heard conversations in Japanese.
I spent two weeks in Tokyo and Osaka, but in between those two cities, I managed to visit other cities such as Kamakura, Kyoto, Shigaraki and Himeji. I had a wonderful time sightseeing and meeting my friends, who showed me so many fantastic spots. I am truly grateful to all of them for spending their free time to make my experience in Japan a wonderful one. Thank you so much!
This first trip will always be special because it was the first one. I plan to go back many more times and hope that each one will be special in its own way.
Here are some thoughts about Japan that I took away from my trip:
- Japan is a beautiful country.
- There are so many buildings. I didn’t see much empty, flat land
- Renting a pocket wifi or getting a sim card from a Japanese company is important for fast, reliable data service on your phone because Google Maps is a life saver for the trains.
- Speaking of trains, I love Japan’s public transportation. I don’t mind walking and taking trains. It beats the heck out of sitting in a car during rush hour.
- Train stations are very busy.
- Bullet train. Enough said.
- The US needs a payment system like Suica or Pasmo. Yes, the cards are intended to make paying for trains easier, but you can use them at businesses that accept them. They’re both fast, easy, convenient payment systems.
- 7-11 in Japan is so much better than 7-11 in the US.
- I love vending machines in Japan.
- From now on, I think I can only eat sushi in Japan.
- I need to improve my Japanese comprehension.
- I was surprised by the amount of English that I heard and the number of signs that were written in English.
- I felt very underdressed and too casual. Everyone seemed so fashionable and dressed very well. Seriously, I felt like a slob.