The big Japan wrap-up

I wanted to go ahead and write down my final thoughts on our trip to Japan to share just how much I enjoyed our visit, and I get what I want. Our trip to Japan was pretty awesome, if you couldn’t tell by the previous posts on the topic. What made it a little bit extra awesome, you might ask? I’d say it was a huge combination of factors that made it a place that I most definitely want to go back to some time soon.

Lets talk money. Japan isn’t a cheap place to visit, but it was certainly not any more expensive than New York. Granted, we weren’t in Tokyo, but I’d imagine Japan’s second largest city isn’t necessarily much cheaper, and the country as a whole is pretty well known as an expensive destination. If you ate at the right places meals weren’t super expensive, buying public transportation day passes saves a bundle, and after hearing all of our friends who had previously been to Japan talk about how expensive it was I was pleasantly relieved to find that it wasn’t breathtakingly expensive by any means. Maybe I just built up the anticipated expense too much in my own head. Thanks friends! For those of you planning a trip to Japan I will do you a solid right now, disregard everything I just said and only read this bit. OMG JAPAN IS SO EXPENSIVE OMGOMGOMG, There, now you won’t have any sticker shock problems.

Japan reminded me so much of Hawaii in its general vibe and beauty level, although it was far, far more urban than any parts of Hawaii that I’ve visited, including the most urban bits of Honolulu. The people dress in a cool, individualistic style, the pop culture is everywhere, and everybody is so damn polite that you might convince yourself that you landed in Elysium or something after arrival. The streets were extremely clean, which is a stark contrast from Korea, and there wasn’t the in your face poverty that you see in Southeast Asia. Osaka in particular was a place that I could imagine myself settling in and living long term. It might be my favorite city in the world now, but its a really tight race with New York.

Japanese cuisine is delicious. It might be my favorite. It’s hard to say though because Thai and Indian foods are so good, and it’s kinda hard to beat a chicken pot pie sometimes. They’ve definitely figured out over the past couple thousand years how to get the most savory flavors out of whatever they cook, though…and mochi ice cream is simply wonderful. Really there’s not a whole lot to say about Japanese cuisine other than a) delicious and b) way better than what you might get cooked by a dancing Brazilian man at the Benihana in Florida. I’m just sayin.

Japan’s pop culture has always fascinated me a bit, and their martial arts too. It was super cool to look into the Namco stores, see Capcom posters and Bandai signs everywhere. It was almost like talking a walk through my old collection of Nintendo games. Manga is everywhere upĀ in Japan too, on every store counter. I wanted to buy one to have on my bookshelf but that seemed like a dumb reason to buy something we’d just have to carry home in a few months anyway. Regret. The video games in the arcades looked cool, but they were all occupied by what appeared to be automatons that never lose, so we didn’t try anything other than the photo booth.

I guess it’s pretty easy to tell that I loved Japan. Like I said, of the countries that we’ve visited since leaving the U.S., Japan is the one I could most see myself choosing to live in, not that there’s any huge chance of Carolyn and I packing up and moving to the land of the rising sun anytime soon. There might be some chance of me playing some Japanese video games, watching some of those wacky game shows, and maybe flipping through a manga or two, though.

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