It's already been a few weeks since I returned from my two-week vacation in Japan. Honestly, it's only now that it's the holidays that I feel like I've gotten back into the usual routine and have found a little bit of free time to reflect about the experience. This is going to be a fairly brief post, but I'd like to highlight some of my favorite memories from the trip and showcase some of the photographs I'm most proud of and that capture the key moments best. I've posted a pretty massive collection of photographs on the Instagram account I created for all to peruse!
Alright, to anyone that knows me, the first item of my agenda might not be a surprise, but I promise there's more to this part of the story than just me saying "Akihabara was great! I was in heaven!" even though I do/did think those things. The place I ended up staying for the first leg of my trip was actually a fifteen minute walk from the famous hub of all things otaku. Aside from just having an incredible time wandering around shops to check out all the merch available, I also made a new friend in front of the Gundam Café whom I'd later meet up with for a couple of adventures. The one I want to write about also took place in Akihabara.
For the last six years or so, it's been something of a tradition of one of the online communities centered around anime that I had been apart of to watch the live stream put off every New Year's Day by Club Mogra. It had been something of a goal of mine to eventually go to the club in person. Fortunately for me, the third day of my trip happened to align with a monthly special event held by the club, which featured several DJs and ran all night. I invited the friend I'd made at the Gundam Café and he'd brought along a Dutch friend of his to go and enjoy some music. It's probably no surprise, but I'm not really the type to go to clubs. Despite that, I think the partying at Mogra some of the most fun I've ever had. I had this experience at Mogra and several more times during visits to Akihabara, but I just found the people there to be some of the most welcoming I've ever met. Once it became apparent that you shared their passion for anime, people in Akiba were incredibly welcoming- encouraging my friends and I to dance and sing with them in the club, and just generally being friendly and chatting elsewhere.
After spending about a week in Tokyo, I took the shinkansen all the way out to Kyoto, which I have all the praise in the world for. Kyoto is beautiful. Seriously, it's just incredible. I don't want to pack this post with too many photos (that's what Instagram is for), but I could gush about the city all day. Being surrounded by famous landmarks like the famous Fushimi-Inari Shrine, Arashiyama, and of course Kiyomizudera (featured in the picture above), there is no shortage of things to make day trips of. On my first day in Kyoto, I took the train south to Inari, home of the famous Fushimi-Inari Shrine. Basically, you've got a mountain with a peak 233 metres above sea level and a big path you can follow, lined with 1000 torii and dotted with lots of little shrines. I took a lot of incredible pictures during my climb to the top of the mountain, and built a lot of leg muscle. Please don't ask how I plan to maintain that muscle.
I think my number one favorite trip in Japan was the one I took to Nara Park. The park in Nara is famous for the deer that inhabit the area, which will bow to you for food. While the deer were fun to watch, the best part of the trip to Nara for me was actually all of the sightseeing. The park itself is huge and features a tremendous Buddhist temple as well as a large Shinto shrine. On the way to the shrine, I took the picture above, awe-struck by the beautiful scene of yellowed leaves layering the stone walkway and contrasted by the stark red torii. I had actually scheduled my trip around the latter part of November just so that I could see the foliage in Japan, and Nara really delivered the greatest experience of that.
Finally, here are a few runner-ups for my favorite photos.
Taken in Ueno Park.
Taken at Fushimi-Inari.
Even as 2017 approaches, I am still trying to find the "right way."
That's all for now, folks! As always, if you'd like to chat me up, I'm very active on Twitter!