My last trip was a pretty amazing mix of crazy, lazy and hazy as I travelled to Asia with my best friend and returned as a loving couple. That’s right – I’m dating my best friend [awkward drumroll]. Ended up spending two weeks in Hong Kong and two weeks in Japan (my first trip to the land of the rising sun!) and had a great experience.
Some of the colours you see when visiting Japan in Autumn are just surreal. We came up with the quote “Love falls like the first change of the red maple leaf” as we wandered along the Philosopher’s Walk in Kyoto. We’re all 21st Century philosophers now.
Now to – The Crazy.
Ever wanted to watch scantily clad Japanese girls teaming up with the gang from Kung Fu Panda to fight giant robots and cyborgs from out of space in an all out laser filled epileptic battle whilst eating sushi? Well, Tokyo is the place for you – home of the infamous Japan Robot Restaurant (ロボットレストラン) smack bang in the middle of the Shinjuku red light district. You pay about ~$50 AUD for a mediocre sushi bento box and two hours of crazy. It was well worth it but you might want to grab something to eat before or after you head in as well.
Ever wanted to sit in a small room and spend your day surrounded by feline friends of all shapes and colours? Well, Japan is the place for you. For around ~$13 AUD per hour, you can be the crazy cat lady/man for an hour and just relax, have a drink, eat lunch or just laze around with cats. Lots of cats. This place we visited called the Calico Cat Cafe in Shinjuku had around 50 cats over the two floors. Like many developed Asian countries, space is a premium, which means keeping pets are a luxury if you were to give them adequate space to play and live in. Whist we were there, there was a man that just sat there reading the newspaper with two cats in his lap and one sleeping on his back. Just when you think you’ve seen it all.
Ever wanted to sleep in a futuristic box/coffin? Well, capsule hotels are for you. For ~$40 AUD per night, you can get your very own box fitted out with a mattress, TV and light crammed right in the midst of another 300 or so capsules filled with Japanese businessmen.
And now, The Lazy:
Ever wanted to spend time contemplating life and love as you stroll through parks filled with falling red leaves and ancient temples in the backdrop? Well, Kyoto, Osaka and Nara are for you! Go in Autumn and you’ll get some amazing colour to add to your thoughts as you take the Philosopher’s Walk or sit back and stare into the reflections of temples in the water.
Coming to Japan made me realise how one must experience something firsthand before they can truly understand it. People have always told me how nice people in Japan are, contrary to what I’ve been brought up to think (My grandparents had to flee their home and lost everything because of Japanese invasion).
I met a girl whilst sitting at the Shibuya crossing Starbucks who ended up showing me the city, her university and her life and even gave me a farewell gift to say thank you for letting her show me her hometown. I got lost with my friend looking for a bar that we had heard of and went into another bar to ask the bartender where it was. The bartender of that bar took my phone, left his bar and walked us both to the bar we were looking for two blocks away and ordered drinks for us – if that’s not the prime example of good hospitality, I don’t know what is.
Past events are not a precursor for current or future events. Don’t stereotype and judge something until you’ve actually seen or done it for yourself. Same goes for how I should be viewing teaching – getting rid of them misconceptions (thanks MTeach) I grew up with and keep trying new things.