Work in Progress

“In the best travel, disconnection is a necessity. Concentrate on where you are; do no back-home business; take no assignments; remain incommunicado; be scarce. It is a good thing that people don’t know where you are or how to find you. Keep in mind the country you are in. That’s the theory.”
–Paul Theroux

A human who loves the world, finds beauty in the unknown, and can't keep her feet on the ground. I like finding unique (and cheap) ways of making my way around the globe. Interacting with people while living, learning, and loving the culture I'm surrounded by.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Land of the Rising Sun

Kinryu Ramen - Dotonbori, Osaka

I'm going to have to post a few different blogs about my summer vacation to Japan. I couldn't possibly fit everything into one without it being massive. Especially considering that between my SLR, GoPro, and iPhone (rip) - I took over 1,000 photos/videos.

However, in summary - my time in Japan has opened up my eyes to a whole different world. Although Korea and Japan are next door neighbors (lucky me) they have so many cultural differences, traditional and modern.
I loved so much about Japan, especially the people. They all seemed so damn COOL. The way they dress especially. I loved the style. There were people rocking wild hair with a grungy look and then there were the ones who look like they just popped out of a comic - big eyes and porcelain skin with cute clothes. The Japanese love cute things, much like the Koreans. The younger crowed seemed to care at lot about their appearance and being original. I saw a huge variety of styles from head to toe - and I definitely spent a lot of my time stopping in almost every single shop in almost every shopping district in Osaka. Whoops. I have plans for a trip to Tokyo, which I am assuming will be similar to Osaka, except amplified.

Osaka, Japan

I was able to couch surf most of my time there, my budget was thankful. A 50something year old Japanese man in Osaka hosted me for a few nights as well as a  girl from New Zealand who's teaching English in Kyoto. Couch surfing is hands down one of my favorite ways to travel. I'll tell you all about it in a separate blog. 

Per typical tourist standards, I didn't do much. I didn't spend all my time visiting every single temple in Kyoto or Nara. I certainly didn't do any museums. I didn't even see the castle in Osaka. However I did eat myself silly and do what I do best, wander. No plans set in stone, those hardly ever work out. No rushing to the next "sight" to see - I did not have enough time to even try. But I saw a few important things and appreciated the time I was able to spend aimlessly exploring these new places. 

I was able to experience a temple stay in Koyasan. I'm actually writing the majority of this blog while listening to the croak of frogs in the garden underneath my window as I lounge in my Kimono style robe planted right in the middle of a Japanese style futon and drinking green tea. Yes, it is as perfect as it sounds.

 In Japan I was reminded what it feels like to really travel. Anxious about figuring out public transportation, waiting for trains, trying new food, hearing a new language, walking to no where in particular. I missed that feeling of being in action. Although I've been in Korea for over a month, It has been much more living that it has been exploring. I think back to my three months backpacking through Europe last year and think to myself, "HOW DID I DO IT?!" After 6 days in Japan I was well spent.

With that being said, I am happy to be home - especially because home is Korea. Which is still, in my eyes, a massive adventure. But being away made me realize how much it already feels like home. I missed Hangul. I missed saying annyeonghaseyo and kamsahmnida. I missed kimchi so much I went and bought A KILO of it when I got home (mainly because I didn't know how to ask for less). I missed my bare apartment and am so excited to fill it with pictures and memorabilia from Japan. I am so comfortable here. 

Traveling alone and having time to reflect on the craziness that has ensued since I moved to Korea was well needed. Every since I've been here, I have been on the go. Exploring here, eating this, meeting new people and adjusting to the culture.  It has put a lot of "life" things in perspective. I was able to take a step back and look at how lucky I am. My dreams are coming true on an (almost) daily basis. I have had so many opportunities and experienced so many different things in the past few years of my life. I am excited about the direction I am heading and all the adventures that are to come. I am so thankful for my ability to have a positive, no fear attitude when it comes to most things. So many doors are open and available to me - and I'm gonna keep on opening them. 

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