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Transcript of JAPAN
By Becca and Laura
Day 1 In Tokyo...
WE'RE GOING TO JAPAN !
Dear diary ...
Finally ! The time has come , after months of planning the day has finally come when we are going to fly to Japan ! We are going for 10 days and are going to see as much as we can ! The excitment is uncontrollable right now , but we have to go and pack for the 3 very different climates , I just hope my bag isn't too heavy !
Packing The Bags ...
Dear diary ...
Packing for 3 very different climates is so hard ! And I take back what I said before , my bag IS heavy. Oh well , I need all the stuff in there ! I've packed all my essentials , such as my wash bag , clothes , towels , extra water bottles , camera and obviously lots more. I can't really go to Japan and live off that now could I ? Oh , and money of course ! We have had to change all our money into something called Yen , that is the Japanese currency. We have quite alot of Yen , we're going to need it. When we get there we are going to visit so many amazing places , I cant wait ! Anyway the taxi will be here soon , so I guess I'll write more in Japan !
FLYING HIGH !
We're flying high ! Or you could just say on a plane... Anyway, w'ere on our way to Japan ! The flight is long and tiring time , 10-14 hours to be exact. We're not stopping half way , we're going straight there , a direct flight. We're now into our 7th hour , so not long to go really , the flight attendants are being so nice to us all , always checking up on us and everyone on the plane. So far I'm enjoying this. I might go for a little sleep to pass the time , I can't enter Tokyo with sleepy eyes ? Its such a vibrant happy city and I don't want to spoil it!
It is day 1 of our trip to Japan, and we have just landed
in Tokyo which is the capital city. It is much different
here than in Newcastle! The fashion is just out of this
world and the chains of restaurants are extraordinary!
We are starting to think about the places to go and what we want to see, so far we have got Mount Fuji on our list and maybe to go to a peaceful resort and relax for a day or 2. We are'nt quite sure yet.
Welcome to Japan
We've got our list for places we want to go in Tokyo, Mount Fuji , Disney Land , a Manga and Anime Shop , and Harajuku and Omotesando , the shopping street. Since it is only 11am here in Japan , we have a full day spare , were going to go to the Manga and Anime shop. But first , we need to unpack. We sort out our bags in the Hotel Niwa , we have such a beautiful room ! It only cost £66 per person , but since were staying here for 3 nights. We each chooose a bed and begin to unpack our bags for the days ahead.
Unpacking The Bags
Unpacking is such hard work ! Since were going to be visiting 3 different parts of Japan whilst on our visit , the bags are big , heavy , and full of a range of clothes for each climate. But atlast , the bags are sorted and we can sit down to fully think about the places we would like to visit. Definatley Mount Fuji though ! After long and hard thinking , we have decided on a Anime and Manga shop , the Harajuka Fashion Street and Mount Fuji.
Since it is only 1pm , we have decided we would go to the Anime and Manga shop today , can't wait !
Anime and Manga Shop
Today has been just amazing ! When found the sign for the shop , we realised it was located underground ! We thought that was just amazing , you don't see many places like that at home do you ? We started to walk down the flight of stairs and at the bottom were these big red doors , we pushed them open and he sight was astonishing ! It was all cartoon , everywhere you looked. The walls were lined with beautiful Anime and Manga drawings , from the very first one to the most recent. To the left , there was a little shop , where you could go in and buy some of the very first Anime and Manga drawings , books , and even the short animation films which were made ! The workers in the shops were dressed up as some of the characters which were displayed on the wall , it was just an amazing place to be !
What is Anime and Manga ?
Truthfully , we had no idea what Manga and Anime was untill we heard our friend talking about it a few weeks ago, and she told us we should look into it abit more. I had seen all the drawings and books before my friend mentioned it to me and Laura , but i didn't ever know the name of it. Basically , Anime and Manga are cartoon drawings of usually girls , sometimes boys and animals , or even mythical creatures like dragons and unicorns. Each cartoon character has its own name and way to dress , own hobby and their own interests. People sometimes compare themseleves to the characters and even go as far as to dress up like them ! But these aren't like normal cartoons , they are very detailed ,, and take lots of time and focus to draw, People learn how to draw certian characters and draw them for fun , some even make up their own character to reflect on their own personality.
Drawing Our Own ...
After about half an hour of walking around the shop admiring all the well done drawing that had been done over the years , a woman who worked there came and asked us if we would like a go of drawing out very own Anime drawings ! Of course we jumped at this oppitunity and agreed , we followed her into the little door at the corner of the big room , which had a sign above saying "Anime Is Where The True You Comes Out". I guess that its trying to say when you draw Anime , your personality is reflected in the type of character you decide to draw. Once we get into the room we sit down at a table with about half a dozen other people and we wait for the instructor. When she arrives , she gives us a tutorial on how to drw the main features and some types of clothes , she then told us to draw our own and see what we would come out with...
Summary of the day ...
When we look at eachothers final results , some of them are amazing ! Some of the people must do this on a day to day basis , whereas mine and Laura's , well , they weren't the best. But they were good for a first attempt ! The woman thanks us for taking part and we thank her also , she rolls up our drawings and puts them in a little tube for us to take back home. We have another little walk around the shop and decide to buy a Manga book and a drawing of our friends favourite characters. She'll love it ! We take a slow walk back to the hotel room and callopse on the bed from the long walk. Well , todays been amazing ! Arriving in Japan , going to the Anime and Manga shop , it was an unreal place and the walls were beautiful ! Getting to draw our very own Anime character had to be the best part though , i'm quite proud of mine aswell ! Just walking home from the shop was amazing , all the street lights , resturants , the fashion , i'm liking Japan more than I thought I would !
Day 2 In Tokyo ...
Today is going to be amazing I can tell. Why ? Because today is the day we are going to Mount Fuji ! We have heard so much about it , but only from people on the internet and reporters , since none of our friends have been brave enough to climb it themselves , we will be the first ! Mount Fuji is located on Honshu Island , and is known as one of Japan's "Three Holy Mountains". It is a very special place because it is the highest mountain in Japan at 12,389 ft ! I didn't know what to say when I found this out ! We have to use one of the highway buses in Tokyo to get there which usually takes about 2hours and 10minutes max.
We have to leave at 8am , so we have enough time to get there , climb , and get back to the hotel before
its too late.
Climbing Mount Fuji
When we finally arrived at Mount Fuji , we got directed to a locker area to put any spare clothes or essentials that we might need after the hike was finished. There was lots if tourist shops around the bottom of the mountain , including some little fast food places , where lots of people seemed to be eating noodles. We payed 100 yen for the locker. Many people seemed to be buying walking sticks , we thought it would be best to aswell so we payed the 1000yen (50 each) and set of climbing Mount Fuji ! We decided to stay in a group hike so if anything were to happen to us we would be safe. Also , the group leader would know the best route for sights and the most perfect views. We are taking the Kawaguchi
route, and from what i've heard this is
supposed to be the best !
Starting the hike...
We are in a group of about 20-30 people , most of them are tourists but a few are people from Japan themselves ! We are climbing in the group of people we were on the Highway Bus with , so they're not completly strangers. We have 3 group leaders , one for the front , one in the middle and one at the back of the chain of climbers. We've decided to stand in the middle of the chain so we can walk at a steady pace , not rushing to get a ahead or trying to catch up with everyone else. The pathway is lined with overgrown trees , hanging low over our heads. Its such a beautiful sight ! Were close to our first break point now
where there is a little shop.
When we get to the break point , some people stop to get bottles of water or some souvenirs , but we want to carry on walking then get some tings for people on the way back down. Walking up the mountain is beautiful , but when we finally reached the clearing thats when my heart stopped , the sight took my breath away. The landscape was just amazing , I could see all the clouds , then below was the lake and the green grass , the transport on the roads seemed like tiny little toy cars , it was astounding. We have only went half way up the steep mountain as we need time to get back down and too the hotel. On our long 4hour walk back down , we see many once in a lifetime things , and we realize
how privlidged we are to live in such a
Going home ...
When walking back down the mountain we stop at a rest point , while most people sit and relax , me and Laura are looking around the gift store for things to buy for our friends and family. We choose a hand-made post card with the mountain's view on , and a badge that says "I Climbed Mount Fuji !" on , we have decided to put these on out bags since we are proud of our achievement. When we finally reach the bottom after our long 4hour hike back down , we find our way to the bus which will take us home. Our legs feel like their burning ! I could just collapse at any moment. When the bus sets off , we begin to look through some of the picture we took whilst we were up there. Some of them are beautiful ! The 2hour bus journey back to the hotel seems to fly by , and before we know it , its 9pm and were back in our cosy hotel room with soft big
beds. They are all we need right now !
Summary of the day ...
Today was pretty busy ! Going to Mount Fuji was very tiring , but worth it. I would have changed none of it for the world , the views , the people , the whole around experice was breath-taking. I wouldn't climb it again , as they say "Your smart to climb Mount Fuji once , but you're a fool to climb it twice." It was an all around amazing day , the pain my legs are in now is worth the sights we saw today. All the people we so kind , and the group leaders kept us on track and kept us informed as to where abouts we were on the mountain and how high we were. It was a long and hard 8 hours climbing but it was worth it ! I can't wait till I go home and tell everyone that we climbed Mount Fuji ,
i'm so proud of myself !
Day 3 In Tokyo ...
Today is out last day in Tokyo! But we aren't finished yet , we till have one place to go to , and that plave is the Harajuka Fashion Street ! This is the one plce we have been excited to go to the most. Our flight doesn't leave till 9pm , so we might end up going our for a meal tonight I don't know. When we went to the Anime And Manga Shop ono the first day , we asked a local where it was located. The told us it was just a quick 10minute walk down the road from the Anime shop. Atleast its not that far , hopefully we won't get lost ! We put some money in our bags , and start to
walk down towards the fashion street.
What Is Harajuka Fashion ?
Harajka Fashion is a way the Japanese people use to express themselves. Sometimes , they will dress up as movie or book characters , sometimes like Anime and Manga. They don't have to drss up as an actual person though , they could use their favourite colour or animal , to express themsleves. Or whatever they feel comfortable in, This type of fashion is usually quite outrageous , and you wouldn't see many people dressd like this in the UK. The Harajuke Fashion Street and a street lined with shops dedicated to this type of fashion , each shop will have some sort of theme to it , and whichever applies to you , is the shop you will go into. Male
and female people dress like this , it is mostly
ages between 14-27 though.
At The Fashion Street...
When we reached the street (without getting lost !) ,we were amazed at how busy it was ! Nothing like we expected it to be , some of the shops we outstanding !
Not everybody was walking around wearing Harajuka fashion , some people we in normal clothes , mostly the tourists like us. The shops were so small , some had things like bags and umberellas hanging from the signs above the doors. Some shopkeepers had out their things on the pathway so people could see what type of shop it was , which we thought was quite a good idea ! Some of the girls walking around the streets looked like human dolls , which was abit scary, Some of the
clothes people had chosen to wear were very pretty,
some outrageous , and some very dark and dull
which was little bit creepy.
We couldn't come to the Fashion Street without buying anything now could we ? We didn't want to buy anything too outrageous since we knew we would never wear it. So we look for a colour shop , so when we go in we could pick something from our favourite colour. When we finally find one , we walk in and the sight takes our breath away! Looking from the outside the shops look really small , but when you get inside they are quite big ! The walls are covered in things to buy , the biggest most colourful headpieces to the smallest most detailed handbag there is. Each colour has its own section in the shop , we find our own favourite colours and search for something to buy. Luckily , since my favourtie colour is Pink and Lauras is Purple , they were right next to eachother!
Buying some things...
There is so much choice in here ! Bags ,shoes , dresses , head pieces , makeup , hair dye , the list could go on ! As i'm looking through , I see a cute little pink bow what you clip into your hair , it has a little diamond heart in the middle and has "Express Yourself" written on the back of it. Its really pretty , so i've decided to buy that. Laura has decided to buy a pair of purple hi-tops , which have a sort of quilted look to them , over the tounge of the shoe it has a black flowery net , which white laces also. They are really nice , I might borrow them off her ! Anyway , we buy what we want then have a look in some o the other
shops. We buy some things for our friends back
home , and even try on some of the big and
weird clothes they have !
Out For A Meal...
When we check the time , it says that it is 4pm ! We didn't expect it to be that late , time flys doesn't it ? Were both quite hungry by now since we haven't ate since breakfast , so we decide that its time we should go out for a meal. With our bags in hand , we leave the Fashion Street and go searching for a nice resturant. But we don't need to look for long , their everywhere ! Rows and rows of fast food places , posh resturants , cafes , so hard to choose ! When we decide on one , we walk in and sit down with the menu. We are going to have to have something quite filling since were flying tonight. We order the same thing which is Miso Soup and a rice ball. Niether of us has had Miso Soup before , but we've heard great reviews about it ! A rice ball is just rice wrapped in
seaweed and have a filling , which is usually
pickled japanese plum. Once again , weve
never tried it before but it sounds
Summary Of The Day ...
Well , for our last day in Tokyo its been amazing ! Seeing the fashion street and even buying some things aswell , this has just made us feel more in with the culture of Japan. The shops were extrodinary , the whole atmoshphere of it was ! Just to see how poeple dress and how we woyuld compare their style to people back at home in Newcastle , or England all together. Trying the Miso Soup and Rice Balls was a good part too , its actually really nice ! Might get some in Lake Ashi , our next stop in our journey around Japan. Overall , Tokyo has been an amazing place to visit and i'm so glad that we climbed Mount Fuji and did loads of
other little activities. I would definatley come back!
Going To Lake Ashi !
Next stop on our tour of Japan ? Lake Ashi ! We are going to be getting there at 5am , so we have enough time to get to our hotel , have a little sleep then go out the next day. We can't waste our days sleeping when theres so much to do ! Lake Ashi is located on the Honshu Island , and from it you can see Mount Fuji ! It is in the Hakone National Park , and attracts many visitors every year ! When we get there , we are going to go on a boat trip and vist the Great Boiling Valley. Can't wait !!!
Day 4 In Lake Ashi
Today is day 4 in our trip around Japan , and were now in our second location ... Lake Ashi ! Were actually only spending one night in the hotel here , because for the second night were going to be staying on a boat ! We have booked a overnight boat trip , that takes you right around Lake Ashi and shows you all the sights and tells you about the history of the lake and some stories about Japan in the past. Its had great reviews , so we thought why not ? Our first day is going to consist of going to the Great Boiling Valley , where we are going to try
one of the boilded eggs there !
Great Boiling Valley...
For the first day in Lake Ashi , we have decided to go to the Great Boiling Valley. It is a volcanic valley with active hot springs and vents. It is mostly famous for "Kuro-tamago" , which means Black Egg. The eggs are boilded in the hot springs , which causes them to turn black and have a little bit of a sulphuric smell. It is said , that if you eat one of the eggs it will increase your life by 7 years , and eating two and a half will increase it by 17 ! But , eating a whole 3 eggs is highly unadvised , as it can be harmful from all the sulphur.
Trying The Black Eggs...
We decide to travel to the location by bus , since its only a quick 15minute ride away and its cheaper than the train. We get dropped off right outside of the entrance , which is handy for us. When we walked in , the sight was just mind-blowing , their was loads of little valleys around us with smoke rising from them , some men were walking down into one with big baskets in their hands , most liking witgh the eggs. First thing we decide to do is try one of the black eggs , before we go and explore the rest of the site. We sit down at a little table and a woman brings them over to us on a little paper bag , one for each of us. Their is a little knife on the side , which we have to use to take the shell off with. After the struggle of getting all the shell off , we tuck into the boiled egg. The taste is very different , I can't really describe it. You can definatley tell its been in the the sulphur though! We
only have one , becuase its such a big place and we
want to see it all !
Seeing The Valley...
After we finished the eggs , we decided to walk around the valleys and take it all in. We saw lots of men walking around carrying baskets full of eggs , some walking down into the valleys full of steam and some coming out. The smoke at steam seemed to rise up forever with no end , it went right up to the top of the mountian , white smoke was coming from all directions. When we stopped and took time out to look at it fully , it was actually a beautiful sight , and not a mess that consisted of smoke and people rushing around. Some of the men who were carrying the baskets were telling some crowds about the history of the place , and how it became to be the tourist
attraction that it is now. Some of the stories
were facinating !
Summary Of The Day...
Today has been a good day ! Arriving in Lake Ashi then getting to visit the Great Boiling Valley. And an extra good thing about it is that we now have 7 years longer added onto our lives thanks to the black eggs ! Seeing all the valleys had to be one of the best parts though , just to hear all the stories from the men who had worked their for years and years was amazing , nothing like I expected it to be at all. The whole atmosphere of the place was just sensational
I can't imagine any other place in the world
to be as good as what we saw today.