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Japan, Japan…such a complex and intriguing country! Amy here, very excited to share my family trip to Japan with you, dear readers. I love being a tri-cultural fusion of Japan, Peru, and America, where the biggest perk is getting to visit and immerse myself in all those countries! This summer my Japanese family (grandparents, immediate family, and my aunt’s family) were able to have a 2-week reunion in the motherland.

Expressing myself through words doesn’t come easy to me (not everyone can be as brilliantly witty and entertaining as Katie!) but I did want to share a few thoughts on Japan:
The most striking thing about this country is the contrast between the fast, advanced technology and the centuries-old, detailed traditions.
Asia is full of delicious food and cute little everything-you-could-think-of trinkets and products and Japan is no exception!
People are very polite and kind and care more about health than appearance (lots of tennis shoes with skirts and no fake tans, in fact, they hide from the sun for the most part).
One thing that is polar opposite to America and the Western world is Asian group mentality. This translates to not doing anything that will make you stand out from the crowd, making decisions for the good of the group, and otherwise making the group stronger.
The Japanese attention to detail is impressive and they truly know the meaning of the phrase “presentation is everything.” Almost everything you buy comes individually wrapped (beautifully!) but to all you environmentally-conscious readers, don’t worry! They have a very efficient and effective recycling system.

It’s impossible to sum up the entire country but I hope my pictures will help!

Get ready for a brief trip to Japan with tour guide Amy…

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Goodness the FOOD. Also Japan has made plastic food displays into an art form. Those are all plastic, people! Really helpful for tourists trying to decide where to eat!

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I’m pretty sure Japan has the fanciest toilets in the world. All public bathrooms are like this. You can play a sound (so your neighbors don’t hear you doing your business) and the seats are always warmed AND you have two flush options: BIG or SMALL. So environmentally conscious…

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They also have restaurants where you cook your own food. Not advisable for tourists without a local guide! At this particular locale we cooked our own yakisoba – fried noodles.

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Japan also has THE best stationery and pens. Like literally rows and rows and rows of them!

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Here we can see the Tokyo government buildings.

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You can go to the top of them for free and see the views! A must if visiting Tokyo.

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On a clear day (highly unusual) you can see Mount Fuji.

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My brother and father taking it all in.

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People and cars literally look like ants. This is the 45th floor.

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An example of those cute Asian things that generally serve no purpose besides looking cute and bringing joy and happiness to the world.

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A Japanese tourist (in Japan! haha) and the new model of the shinkansen – bullet train.

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We were able to visit Kanazawa, Japan — famous for its well-preserved Edo Period districts, art museums and regional handicrafts. Kenrokuen Garden (17th century) and the adjacent Kanazawa Castle (1580s) are beautiful examples of classic Japanese architecture and landscape design. Pictured above is the train station.

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Despite all that tourism, our hotel’s restaurant had a “close” sign instead of the more traditional “closed.” You gotta love Japanese English.

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Another thing they do well are their konbini – convenience stores. Literally have everything you could want or need. Also I’m pretty sure Japan is home to the majority of all the 7-11 stores in the whole world. There’s one on almost every corner.

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Like cheap, quality food. Here we have onigiri options – rice balls.

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This castle was built (I believe entirely) without using any nails. They are geniuses.

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Once you have Japanese food in Japan, you basically will have Japanese food withdrawals the rest of your life. Gosh I miss it.

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In Japanese temples you write your wishes/prayers and hang them up.

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Japanese pose in Japan!

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More prayers, written and tied.

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Only in Japan do the road work blocks look like cute monkeys.

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In Japan when you have a  cold you wear a face mask because you don’t want to infect anyone else. Here we have just a few brand options.

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Gold-leaf production – one of Kanazawa’s famous handcrafts.

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My two cousins and I went to a gold-leaf workshop and made our own gold-leaf decorated boxes. These were all of the options of things you could make.

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We had a lot of fun playing with the gold dust.

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They gave us complimentary tea – sprinkled with complimentary gold-leaf flecks. Apparently consuming gold is good for your health!

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These are cotton yukatas – cheaper and cooler versions of their silk cosuins, the kimonos. And yes people really wear them around. It’s very normal to see women wearing them on any given day in Japan.

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This is for you, Katie – the great stone dragon! Even though Mulan is Chinese ha.

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And then we got to see a ceramic workshop. I was dying. DYING.

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I told you presentation is everything. Don’t you want to eat food that looks that good?

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Tokyo has a Statue of Liberty, too.

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Family photo sans grandparents. It was SUCH a good time with family. My family is on the right and my aunt’s on the left.

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Karaoke is a Japanese invention. Karaoke means “open mic” and in Japan you have a room all to yourselves and your friends. Karaoke as it should be – you only embarrass yourself in front of your friends.

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Ramen is my FAAAAVORITE.

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Cousin time is the best ^_^

Thanks for heading Far East with me,

Amy

Japanese Phrase of the Day: Osushi kudasai | Please pass the sushi

Song of the Day: いいんですか?| RADWIMPS

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