I was in first grade, six years old, and learning about different cultures of the world. My teacher’s daughter had just returned from a trip to Tokyo and had brought back a variety of different clothes and souvenirs for us to play with. We spent a week wearing kid-sized kimono, using chopsticks to eat goldfish, and crafting daruma (Japanese goal dolls).
I was completely entranced. From then on, I developed a passion for Japanese culture that has remained with me to this day.
Growing up, I always knew that I wanted to visit Japan. But as my life got more complicated and I picked up more hobbies during school, this idea became more of a passing thought rather than a reality. I resigned myself to reading about Japan and eating sushi on the weekends, and later took a semester of Japanese once I entered college.
In the fall of 2012, however, I finally lived out my dream. By a combination of luck and chance, I spent four months living and studying in Tokyo. And although I barely knew the language and I had never been abroad before, I fell head over heels in love. Japan was everything I had dreamed of and more. The months flew by, and once I returned to America, I had a new dream: to live in Tokyo again.
I suppose that’s the reason for this blog. Over the past year, I’ve found that many of my friends know little about Japan, or only of the eccentric culture of anime that has wrongly colored their perspectives. I want to share my experiences, and explore the culture that has left such a deep impression on me.
I’ve been to Japan. I’ve spent months living in the suburbs, commuting on Japan’s expansive public transportation system, eating in neighborhood noodle shops, and traveling throughout the country. I’ve shopped in Harajuku, petted deer in Nara, visited the famous temples in Asakusa, and experienced the vivid nightlife of Shibuya. And although I’m not an expert on any of these topics, I’d like to share my own impressions with those who are interested in visiting or living in Japan.
I know I’m a visual learner, so I want to share some of the most poignant photos I took overseas and let you see exactly what I experienced. It’s a photoblog with a little extra, a little insight on the country and culture that few people know. I hope this blog helps you understand more about Japan, and why it’s left such a huge impression on me.
And maybe, just maybe, it’ll help me realize my dream of returning to the country I fell in love with.
Thanks for reading, and welcome to Tokyo Trendy!