Love letter to Japan

tokyo sky tree

View of the Sky Tree from Asakusa, Japan

OK, Japan, I’m writing this as I sit drinking the green tea I bought there, in Brazil, feeling nostalgic and looking at the photos from our last trip to Japan, in September 2016.

I don’t think you’re perfect, and I don’t believe such thing exists. I know a lot of your flaws and some of them are pretty big. My family couldn’t live there anymore, but you are a perfect vacation spot. You sure are. Food and accommodation are cheaper than a lot of places, it’s easy to get around with public transport and everything is awesome. Just like Lego Movie.

godzilla japan

A Godzilla was invading one of the malls in Tokyo

First of all, the food. Is there a place in the world with better food? Not very nice for vegetarians, though. Japanese food is my favorite of all. And no Japanese restaurant in the world, not even the ones with only Japanese staff, make food as good as yours. Not one. Trust me, we’ve tried a lot of them.
What wouldn’t I give for a proper ramen, a hijiki gohan (rice with hijiki, a type of seaweed), a honey seasoned umeboshi (salty pickled plum)?

But that’s not all.

Iga-Ueno ninja

A ninja van in Iga-Ueno

Wandering around the streets freely, that was awesome. We had no fear whatsoever, knew public transport was reliable, and that we were safe. It was great walking around with the kids at 11 pm and only worrying about the noise they were making. It was even fun being in some of the crowded trains.

And it was beautiful! Such a beautiful place, you are. It was amazing at any time of the day, but I loved you most from sunset until night, when the heat had subsided a bit, the lights were on and everything seemed like magic.

nara deer

Adorable Nara deer

You’re a small country, and yet, you contain so much inside that’s just crazy. Disney and Universal Studios, plus the tons of other crazy theme parks we didn’t even have the chance to try. Let’s keep them on hold, I’m not staying away for too long this time. Ghibli Museum is worth a trip to Japan on its own. There are mountains, beaches, rivers, lakes. There are castles, ninjas, samurais. Kawaii applies to almost everything and they’re really adorable.
Oh, and we didn’t even go to the Fox Island, the Bunny Island, Shirakawa-go, Okinawa….

omikuji

Omikuji, inside those little animals, is a piece of paper with your fortune. Would you break them to get it out?

The houses, I love them: small, functional and easy to live in. Although we had loads of problems understanding the addresses there, on the very few times we had to (without mobile data things are a bit more complicated), we were still able to find whatever we wanted or needed. It could take longer, but well…

The stores are almost always adorable, extremely organized and well attended. How can you do that? We all went crazy, even though we couldn’t take anything else because our bags were full. To be honest, it was such a pleasurable experience I’m going to stop complaining now.

Ghibli bus

Inside the Ghibli bus, in Tokyo

I also love how every cashier in Japan asked question after question, in Japanese, to everyone, even if the person was not getting what you were saying. It’s a sign of trust, I think. But it’s also a bit overwhelming to the people trying to buy stuff. It was fun to watch as Angelo went out to buy food and always come back with more than we asked for.
‘Would you like an apple with that?It goes for 20 yen with your order’
‘Yes’
‘Would you like a gift card?’
‘… Yes…’
‘Do you have a point card?’
‘… Yes …’
‘…. Can I have it?’
‘… Yes …’
‘…’.

universal studios japan

Hogsmead, The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, Osaka, Japan

Oh, the mobile internet really works. And it works almost everywhere. So awesome! I don’t know how many Pokémon Go eggs I hatched from inside a moving train. It was also great to research little things we always forgot to save, like which exit to use at the train station and the nearest ramen shop.

And you have my dad, my kids’ grandpa. We had a great week with him. Keep him safe there.

So, yes, can you tell we love and miss you? Because we do.

statues in Asakusa

Statues in Asakusa, Tokyo, Japan

We’ll see you soon, very soon!

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