Land of temples and towers

Recently, I went to Japan.


I don’t usually use this as a personal blog-type thing, but I feel the need to write about how much I absolutely loved this trip.

Tokyo is an amazing city, the kind of place where you can get lost and not even mind, because everywhere you go there is something incredible to see.

It’s also the only place I’ve ever wanted to explore more at night than during the day, which says a lot because I am not a nightlife person at all. But I had so much fun walking through the neon-illuminated streets of Shinjuku and drinking sake out of funky glasses and admiring the red glow of Tokyo Tower from 52 floors up. These are the things I’m going to look forward to when I go back someday.

We took small trips to Kamakura (a beach town kind of like the Santa Cruz of Tokyo) and Kyoto, which is full of historic temples and monuments and also full of schoolchildren on field trips. One of my favorite parts was when we were asked (twice) by groups of kids if we could take a picture with them. They were genuinely excited to meet Americans, for some reason! Some of the kids were practicing English for school, and had a list of questions that they had written out to ask us. One of the questions was, “What do you like about Japan?” My immediate response was “It’s beautiful!” (an answer I certainly stand by), but I’ve had a lot of time to think about it, and wanted to share a few more reasons…

Reasons Nikki loves Japan:

  1. I’m half Japanese so…I love it by default.
  2. It’s so clean. I love clean places. There is zero litter and people sweep their doorsteps and wipe down their windowsills every day.
  3. It’s safe. Being a tourist usually means guarding your belongings with your life and constantly avoiding peddlers who try to take advantage of you. Not here. I felt like I could trust everybody.
  4. There are Japanese traditions that have been around for centuries, which are still upheld in everyday life, even in a huge metropolis like Tokyo.
  5. Getting around is so easy. Wherever you want to go, there is always a subway, bus, or train that will take you right there. And when you find yourself accidentally in the wrong car of a train, or your ticket doesn’t have enough money on it, you will be helped rather than reprimanded. Little things like that make a difference when you’re unfamiliar with a place. Along those same lines…
  6. The people in Japan are the most polite, helpful, and respectful I have ever met.

And in order to (kind of) relate this back to my blog, here are a couple of pre-made playlists that were the soundtrack of my trip. You know, in case you want to hear a little time capsule of what I was listening to in May of 2014 (let’s be real, I’m the only one who’s ever going to listen to these):

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