I’ve always had a thing about Japan – so much so that I wholeheartedly believe I was a geisha in a past life. But it’s not just the old culture, Harajuku clothing, anime and cat worship are equally important aspects of my life.
So last year, when my Nana offered to take me to any country I liked for my 21st birthday, I immediately said Japan and haven’t regretted it since. Being my first trip overseas it was an amazingly eye-opening experience. But I was also in the one place in the world I had always dreamed of visiting, and was overcome with a surrealist sense of excitement.
Japan was everything I imagined it to be plus so much more. There are things about the culture, miniscule details and tiny mannerisms that tug at your heart strings and make you fall hopelessly in love with the place. So, I’m extremely excited to be going back in A MERE FOUR DAYS, and have been researching insane things to do while I’m there.
When I first heard about Cat Island I thought I’d fallen into some wonderful dream. Alas, it exists. Unfortunately I won’t be able to make it on this trip, nor was I able to on the last, but one day I shall go there and assimilate with the cats.Awwwwww…
Populated by fisherman for many years, the small island in Ishinomaki has become renowned for its feline inhabitants. The population of humans is fairly low. There are around 100, and were as many as 1000 in the 1950s. Now, however, the population is overrun almost entirely with cats.
In the past the cats would follow the fisherman, trying to find scraps of food. The men always fed the cats, as they believed they were a lucky omen. Because of those kind souls, the cats have remained fairly domesticated to this day, despite being strays.Nyawwwwwww…
If you take a walk through the small isle you will find several shrines dedicated to cats, and will most likely be followed by a fair few. The island attracts quite a number of tourists nowadays and has a strict no dogs policy.
All I have to say is WHEN CAN I MOVE IN?!
Vending Machine Bars
Sadly I didn’t experience this on my last trip either, but Melissa and I are sure to do so. You might be aware that Japan has a bit of a problem with vending machines. A serious addiction. You can’t walk two metres without finding another one selling an array of things: drinks, alcohol, cigarettes, snacks, hot food, underwear…
But the beer vending machines are by far the most exciting. So much so that councils have placed several of them in the one place to form a kind of bar. It’s supposed to be a halfway point – somewhere you go to grab a drink on the way to somewhere else – but people find it too much fun and tend to stay there all night.
‘What are we doing this weekend, man?’
‘Aw, just chillin’ by the vending machines.’As you do.
Stay in a Capsule Hotel
Now this isn’t something I particularly want to do, but it’s sure to be an experience. Capsule hotels are budget friendly rooms (well I say rooms) for rent. The downside is that they’re small. As in, there is literally no floor space. There is a bed. In the wall. And a television.
It could be a fun and economical option if you’re travelling solo. If not, make sure you like your fellow traveller very much. Possibly not a good idea if you’re claustrophobic.Cozy…?
Harajuku on a Sunday
Harajuku is possibly one of the most amazing things about Japan. You’ve probably heard of Harajuku style clothing – well, this is where it all began. The suburb is renown for its trendy shops and cafes, regularly frequented by Tokyo’s youth. One street in particular, Takeshita Dori, is packed full of specialised boutiques, boasting the most crazy and unusual colours and styles you’ve ever seen.
Beware, it gets busy. I unfortunately lost my nana in Takeshita Dori and spent a great deal of time trying to rescue her. Nevertheless, the experience is amazing. From cat costumes (yeeeeee) to anime cosplay to gothic outfits, Harajuku caters to all.
Drop in on a Sunday and you will see the youngsters out with all their crazy gear. Sundays have become an unwritten meeting time for local teenagers to show up with their favourite outfits and parade through Takeshita Dori.
Located inside Tokyo’s Sunshine City (a big ass mall with 60 floors, an aquarium, theme park, museum and planetarium), Ice-Cream City is pretty self-explanatory. It is literally an ice-cream city. With hundreds of different flavours to choose from, foreigners might think they’re having a lovely day out sampling different ice-creams. Think again. That ain’t chocolate, bro. It’s cow’s tongue.
No, the flavours aren’t labelled in English, or any language other than Japanese. So beware of the squid, crab and wasabi flavours among many more. At the same time, though, it’s a hell of an experience.
Well, I’m pretty keen for the adventures to begin. Let me know in the comments if there are any other ridiculous things we should try.