Talking to other ALTs in Japan and reading their blogs has inspired me to create a bit of a list. This isn’t a bucket list, as these are not things I want to do before I die. No, I will die if I don’t do these things (ok, clearly I’m being dramatic but whatever). So here it is, a relatively short list of things I must accomplish while in Japan. Don’t laugh!
1. See, touch, play with Japanese macaques. These little guys live all over the country, so I shouldn’t have to travel far to see them, and I cannot wait to see them in real life! Woo!
2. Nara Park deer! This one may actually be number 1, but the monkeys are easier to see where I’m going. Like the monkeys, these deer (sika to Americans, but in Japan, shika means deer) are everywhere, but I’m particularly drawn to Nara Park.
3. Go legit shopping in…well really anywhere. I love Japanese fashion. It fits me. Over-sized sweaters, shorts, and boots. Oh man!
4. Like almost everyone, climb Mt.. Fuji. Or any Japanese mountain. Though I like clothes and dressing up, I really am an outdoorsy country girl at heart. And climbing/hiking in Japan is supposed to be magical.
5. FREAKIN’ HANAMI. For those of you that don’t know, hanami means cherry blossom viewing. I like flowers and stuff.
6. Visit the Nagasaki & Hiroshima Peace Parks. I’ll be honest, I pretty much hate war history. It’s boring. However, my grandfather loves war history, so I think a few pictures of the sites and maybe some WWII souvenirs would really make him happy.
7. Visit most, if not all of the prefectures. There are almost as many Japanese prefectures as there are U.S. states, but there are lot smaller and closer together, so that one shouldn’t be too difficult.
8. OMG DO EVERYTHING. This list is already long, and I’d love to continue, but there are just so many things I want to do. I want to make local friends of all ages, I want to go to the Sapporo Snow Festival, I want to watch Japanese movies and shows, I want to go to the Studio Ghibli Museum, I want to be able to speak nearly fluent Japanese, I want to try ridiculous foods that I would never eat in America but will eat in Japan because I want people to like me. I definitely want to explore my city, and wear a kimono/yukata, and learn ikebana and tea ceremonies, and EVERYTHING.
It’s hard for me to explain to (most) people why I am so drawn to Japan because there are literally too many reasons to count. Of course, I hope that over time I will be able to show you what interests me (and which of the things on my list I can cross out), but for now let’s just say everything. Everything about Japan is interesting. Even squat toilets and mukade.
P.S.-If you have been to Japan or have ever researched things to do there and what to suggest something, let me know!