Konnichiwa is hello in Japanese and a word I have been using often since landing in Japan on Thursday, 13 March 2014.
Hubby (Ben), Freya and I flew out of Sydney with Japan Airlines at 9:00am (which resulted in an early wake-up for check-in at airport). It was a great flight (apart from the likely flu bug I caught whilst flying) and staff provided a lovely induction into the kind nature that is the Japanese people.
Additionally, I was able to catch up on my list of Oscar nominated (& winning movies) – ‘Gravity’ & ’12 Years a Slave’ – both great!
Our Japanese itinerary for 3 weeks is;
- 8 days in Tokyo (5 of those days are scheduled as part of hubby’s business scholarship where all activities, outings & dining experiences are organised by Japan Mister Minit – thank you very much!)
- 7 days in Kyoto with day trips to Osaka & Nara
- 4 days in Hirashima for some history before returning to Tokyo for 1 last day
TOKYO – Shibuya & Meiji-Jingu shrine (some highlights of our first few days)
Shibuya is known for its youth oriented shopping district (large amount of department stores) and the Shibuya Crossing – probably one of the world’s most visually famous four-way intersections. It’s truly crazy to be there in person!
We couldn’t believe the large crowds of well dressed youth, the advertisements everywhere on large screens, and speakers playing loud music along the foot path. I couldn’t hear myself think – I suppose that was the point?
Meiji-Jingu Shrine is about a 20 min walk from this crossing and the complete opposite – peaceful, spiritual, calm and I could hear myself think.
We were fortunate enough to witness a traditional Japanese wedding here – such a beautiful experience and some of the guests wore traditional Kimonos.
To add to this, there were many spiritual offerings you could share in, such as writing prayers on wooden boards and hand washing ritual that brings good luck. We decided to write a prayer and add it to the many other thousands offered.
My first few experiences of Japanese food has been hearty due to my unwell state – so far tofu noodle soups & chicken noodle soups (and we shared a pork bun). The flavours were amazing (the broths were so authentic and tasted as if they were made from masterstocks that have been brewing for years) and that’s even with my tastebuds not at 100% accuracy.
Well that’s all for now. I’ll post soon so stay tuned for more sights, experiences, photos and food from Japan.