Category Archives: Japan

Goodbye Japan

I can’t believe it’s my last day in Japan! My time here passed by so quickly, but it amazes me when I think back on all the places I’ve seen. Here are some of my favorite stops along the way:

I can already tell you that I’ll be back, and hopefully soon. Despite not knowing the language and traveling on my own without much of a plan, Japan called to my very soul. The dichotomy between young and old, modern and historic can all be found within a few steps from each other. It’s wonderous how people are able to respect and honor both and how they coexist in today’s society.

I know that there are many more places of interest within Japan that I missed out on during this trip, and I look forward to exploring the country further on another visit.

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Filed under Japan, Travel

Grocery Shopping in Japan

One of the amazing things about traveling is the unexpected surprises that you stumble upon in the most mundane places. The best example of this is the grocery store. This is a common place that’s found in every country, however, each time you walk into one, you never know what you’re gonna find.

In Japan, a grocery store can be a one-stop shop for anything you need. They have regular things, like produce and a meat and fish department, but they often have an in-house bakery and takeout section.

For instance, in this one, you could create your own boxed lunch or select a pre-made one. You could hand-pick your sushi or deep-fried shrimp (or deep-fried anything for that matter). There was a variety of fish any way you’d want it – fresh, filet, dried, etc. – and a vast section dedicated to curries.

All of their fruits and vegetables must’ve come from a giant’s garden because they were so massive. The colors and freshness amazed me as well. Everything looked bright and healthy and very appealing.

I also spent a great deal of time in the candy aisle admiring all their sweets, chocolate and even things I couldn’t recognize. There are different brands, flavors, concoctions and they all looked delicious. Even finding something to drink was a case study in patience as everything is in a foreign language but they all shout, “pick me, pick me.”

In the end, I spent at least an hour puttering around the place. I’m sure the workers must’ve thought I was trying to shoplift (although I doubt that people even do that in Japan). After all that browsing, I only walked away with lunch.

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Filed under Food, Japan

Princess for a Day at Osaka Castle

What girl hasn’t dreamed of being a princess? I got to live out this childhood fantasy at Osaka Castle, one of the most famous castles in Japan.

Ōsaka-jō, as it is known in Japanese, is surrounded by large rock walls that would have fortified the castle against any intruders. Also discouraging outsiders is a moat that surrounds the base of the wall. Even now there are lookout points on the perimeter where soldiers would have been stationed to defend the castle.

But, the similarity to European castles ends there. The castle structure looks distinctly Japanese with all the intricate carvings and golden accents. The castle itself spans many stories and has a museum that houses huge amounts of historical artifacts. In addition to this, there are videos playing that explain certain parts of the castle’s history. Too bad it’s all in Japanese. Still, it’s worth a bit of your time as the video shows close-ups of tapestry and artwork that are hard to see on the real items.

Best of all is the top-floor observation area where you can see 360 degrees of Osaka. The views of the city are amazing, and you can catch glimpses of the mountains on good days.

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Filed under Attraction, Japan