For my spring break, I spent a week abroad traveling far east, or really, west, to the island of Japan. This was my first time crossing the Pacific Ocean and thus my first time in an Asian nation. It's impossible for me to summarize all of the sights, sounds, food or culture I experienced in one coherent post, but I hope to capture my overarching feelings of the trip here.
For one, I went into this trip blind. I convinced my Japanese-native friend, Lala Kumakura, to bring me home with her for spring break back in January. Thanks to her and her father's kindness and generosity, we were able to stay in her apartment in Todoroki. Once she was convinced, she planned the entire trip. I often have to refer to our spreadsheet when asked what I did on each day as we crammed so much into every hour. When I say I went in blind, I mean that I spoke little Japanese with the exception of counting to ten and the months and seasons, and also that I didn't really know what many of the places which we were scheduled to visit were. I relied heavily on Lala, and then later, her father, who joined us on our last couple of days.
I would not characterize my experience in Japan as a culture shock by any means either. Perhaps that is because Lala was able to translate everything for me and explain the cultural norms so I didn't embarrass myself too much. I can't say whether or not my experience was what I pictured it would be because I did not truly have a formed vision of what Japan would look like before I arrived either. I'd like to think I went into the trip with an open mind and a willingness to explore everything Japan had to offer. I would also say we were fairly successful in the sense of seeing everything we set out to see, eating everything and all Japanese food, and developing a strong sense of the culture of the city.
There are so many different events or sights I would love to dive into but perhaps those can be left for in-person conversation. For now, check out pictures from my travels here and ask me how my adventures were when I run into you!
BCB - 3/23/17