I am a fan (but not crazy fan) of Japanese food, culture, anime and technology. I knew I would visit Japan someday in the future, but I never thought I would go there and stay with my Japanese friend and his family.
When I was inside the airplane, I looked through the window. I hadn’t seen a bigger sun before (no wonder why Japan is often called “The Land of the Rising Sun”). After 2 hours of flight, the plane landed at the Narita International Airport. I was overcome with joy at that moment.
My friend was there to receive me. We boarded the train to Kuki, Saitama. At the Kuki station, Oto-san (my friend’s father) picked us up. I met Oka-san (my friend’s mother) and Oni-chan (my friend’s elder brother) in the house. They treated me like a family member. I was humbled by their generosity.
On the next day, Oka-san prepared a delicious breakfast. I also tried Umeboshi and Natto. Natto did not taste as bad as foreigners describe. After the breakfast, I and my friend went to Tokyo.
We visited Inokashira Park before going to the Ghibli Museum. Inokashira Park opened in 1918 and it was a gift from the Emperor to the public.Then we went to Ghibli Museum. I admire Hayao Miyazaki because of his movies. The museum was designed by him, so it is spectacularly beautiful. Inside the museum, you can see all the characters from his movies. You can also watch a short movie. If you want to visit the museum, you need to buy the tickets in advance.
Next, we visited the Ueno Zoo which is the oldest zoo in Japan. It is a very special zoo, because you can see the giant panda there. It was my first time seeing a panda. I now understand why everybody loves pandas. We saw other animals too, but seeing the panda was the best part of the tour.
There was dinosaur exhibition going on in the National Museum of Nature and Science, Tokyo, so we decided to pay a visit. It was called “Amazing Dinosaurs of the Gobi Desert“, and it featured the valuable dinosaur fossils unearthed from Gobi Desert. I am into dinosaurs, so it was a “dream come true” for me to see the real fossils.
Going to Akihabara was not that exciting for me, because I don’t know about every single anime, and everything there was overflowing with anime. We returned to Saitama and had Sushi for dinner at a sushi restaurant. It is the best food.
The next day, we went to Tokyo Dome to pay a visit to Furusato Matsuri 2014. It is an annual grand festival where you can experience all the “festivals” and “foods” of Japan. It was vibrantly colorful and splendid. We tried foods from many different stalls. I even tried apples from Fukushima. Overall, it was a fulfilling experience (especially for my stomach).
Next stop was Tokyo Tower. My friend bought the tickets, and then we went to the 150 m observatory. There we saw a Sumo wrestler. My friend asked him if we could have a picture with him, and he agreed. I was psyched to meet him. It was one of the best part of my trip.
We had our dinner in Asakusa. We paid a visit to Senso-ji there. It is the oldest Buddhist temple in Tokyo. The entrance gate, Kaminarimon is magnificent. There are many souvenirs shops inside the complex of Senso-ji. I bought most of my souvenirs there.
That was the end of sight-seeing part. I spent the next day in the house with my friend and Oka-san. We made some Takoyaki. It is like small dumpling with octopus inside, and it is one of my favorite Japanese dishes.
When it was time for me to leave, Oka-san gave me a gift. My friend accompanied me to the airport. I bade him goodbye and boarded the plane. There was a feeling of sadness because I was leaving Japan, but at the same time it was joy, because I had fun of a lifetime in just few days.
I will visit Japan again someday for sure. 日本が好きです!!!