A Week in Japan

In my first year living in Hong Kong, I have been lucky enough to visit Thailand, The Philippines, and now Japan as well.

Unfortunately my mom and I were both really sick for the Osaka/Tokyo portion of our trip so we didn’t really get to explore as much as we wanted. My iPad was loaded up with seasons of Orphan Black, Defiance, and Battlestar Galactica so my being bed-ridden was actually quite entertaining (yes, I’m on a sci-fi kick). By the time we got to Kyoto we were a bit more mobile and exploration-able.

Some general observations from my trip to Japan that might be helpful for other travellers-

The Japan Rail Pass is super convenient for travellers. You have to book it online before entering the country, and then you just pick up the pass at any rail station. It included unlimited train, subway, and bus rides for one week. Travel by train in Japan is clean, quick, and readily accessible. We walked into train stations with no reservations and were always able to catch a train to wherever we wanted to go within 30 minutes.

Me trying to sleep on a Japanese train

There are no tourist sim cards in Japan. Well, there sort of are pre-paid cards but you have to activate them with a local Japanese cell phone which is an issue. It is easier to either rent a phone or rent a pocket wi-fi router for internet access and stick to Skype for phone calls. This was a huge fault in the tourist infrastructure to me- in Thailand a one month unlimited data sim card was really cheap and easy so it came as a bit of a surprise that Japan didn’t have a similar system in place.

Japan is extremely well-kept. The streets are clean, things are properly labelled and orderly, and you won’t see a lot of blatant poverty. They really take care of their country.

The food is out of this world!! My mom and I feasted all week on tonkatsu, sushi, curries, miso ramen, okonomiyaki, and yakitori. No matter where we went, it was always mind-blowingly delicious. Japan gives Hong Kong a run for its money when it comes to cuisine.

Sushi platters galore

We took a break from Japanese food for one meal to get 
wraps from Good Honest Grub

Fashion is super fun in Japan! I am rocking some pink hair for the summer so I felt like one of the locals with my crazy hair. The many fashion statements I saw on the streets were diverse and style-inspiring.

Eating Japanese pancakes my first night in Tokyo

Language barriers exist, but they aren’t really a big deal. Most people I met did not speak English, but the Japanese people were very kind and helpful so it was not an issue.

My final note is that I would definitely like to return to Japan (fully healthy this time, mind you) and dig in even deeper.

Embracing my inner nerd at the airport on the way home

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