If you would have asked me five years ago, (psh, even two years ago) if I ever thought I’d be going to Tokyo right now, I would have been like, um, no? Yet, here I am, on a 12-hour flight from Los Angeles to Tokyo, combatting sleepiness (seriously what kind of air do they pump through airplanes) while watching a rerun of Phineas & Ferb in French.
To me, Asia was always the next level when it comes to travel. You put a Westerner in Europe or the Americas and he or she’ll probably probably figure it out. You put a Westerner in Asia, where the language is incomprehensible, and boom: your mission, shall you choose to except it: survive. Good luck.
So far, I’ve extensively traveled throughout Europe, the USA, and parts of Latin America, but Asia? I mean the closest I’ve ever even gotten to the idea of me going to Tokyo was almost buying a Tokyo coloring book (I bought Paris) in this video, which then provoked the thought that maybe 2016 is the year for me and Asia.
The more I sit down and look at my life – what I enjoy and don’t enjoy – the more it makes sense that I’m off to Japan. If you look around, the Japanese culture has influenced our lives a lot more than many other countries’ cultures, and in ways that I personally really enjoy – from Nintendo to Yoshi to Pokémon, from sumo to karate, from ramen to sushi, from Muji to Uniqlo. Even Gwen Stefani and Nicki Minaj got us all singing about Harajuku girls.
So fittingly, when I found a cheap round-trip flight for 12 days to Tokyo, I booked that bad boy and decided to prepare by channeling my inner Japanese boy and doing the following:
Downloading Meditation Apps
Every guidebook and blog you’ll read tells you that Japan is the country of contrasts. How is it that the world’s largest metropolis, with the brightest, flashiest lights and trains packed so full the train system literally employs “pushers” to pack people in, has become synonymous with finding your zen and keeping the calm? They’ve clearly got both extremes figured out.
And they must have them both figured out so perfectly because I’m over here completely intrigued by the highlighter-colored signage in foreign hieroglyphics and the constant state of what looks like organized chaos and also by everyone’s polite nature and tea-sipping, onsen-relaxing culture.
I’ve always been big on minimalism and mindfulness; Aside from the occasional self-help book I’ll read every few months, I look forward to the end of every yoga class when you lie down while the instructor rubs essential oils around your nose and basically hypnotizes you with those strong key words like “you can find it in yourself” or “because the universe has a way of connecting these things.” It’s always something like that. The whole point is this: you wake up rejuvenated, like you really feel alive, which is what our lives should feel like if we’re awake, or in today’s internet slang, woke af. That’s a feeling I’m trying to experience every day, hence my downloading of a few apps.
So much of our day to day is clutter, but when you take a second to pause and reflect, you’ll feel more in tune with yourself and your life path. Now I sound like the yoga instructor.
I’d be lying if I said I’d never thought about it. 😉
Learning more about electronics
Panosonic, Toshiba, Kyocera, Sony: all Japanese brands that are household names in America. As a full-time travel vlogger and blogger, I almost feel like I haven’t been taking this part of the “craft” seriously enough. How is it that I’ve made this my job, yet a high school photography student probably knows more about my camera than I do?
I guess that goes to show you that you don’t need the fancy things to get started doing what you love. I also know that part of progress is bettering yourself and improving your skills – hence why I have upped my electronic game in typical Japanese fashion. We invested in a new camera, slowly started to get the hang of Photoshop, and I’ve even upgraded to the premium versions of a few apps on my phone that I, yes, had to pay for.
Side note: why are we so hesitant to purchase a 99 cent app we use every day, but so ready to go spend $15 at a restaurant?
I know Japanese fashion is part harajuku girl, but the other half seems to be super minimalist and…beige? If it’s not beige, it’s white, or gray, or black, or brown, or any color really, but in a pastel shade. Colors that always compliment each other. The Japanese always seem to be looking au-naturel, from their wardrobe to their skin, and I love that about them.
That probably explains why I do 80% of my shopping at Muji or Uniqlo.
Have you ever been to Japan? Write your tips below!