How to Spend Your Weekend in Japan

One of my favorite things about Japan is that there’s never a shortage of things to do.

For example, I recently spent the day on a bus tour with my host family. Early wake up aside, I had a great time trying out lots of fun things such as picking grapes in the countryside, taste testing locally made wines, and visiting a shrine on Mount Fuji. Though it was a long day, it was a really exciting experience.

Earlier this October, I also met with some friends and traveled to a part of the Tokyo prefecture called Asakusa. Known for their older architecture, Asakusa is a throwback to the more traditional Japanese style. As a result, it’s quite a popular spot for tourists such as myself who want to see something a little more historic. While there, I spent a good part of my Saturday exploring the Senso-ji Shrine, meandering through some souvenir stands, and having lunch at a ramen shop near Tokyo Skytree.  

https://flic.kr/p/2nVryWd – A photo of the walkway to Sensō-ji Shrine

https://flic.kr/p/2nVvC3N – Entrance of Sensō-ji Shrine

https://flic.kr/p/2nVwykw – A picture from the ramen shop

Most recently, I also spent an afternoon in Yokohama. Though my trip was fairly last minute, the weather was perfect for a day out. I spent time sightseeing in Yokohama’s vibrant Chinatown and had a very enjoyable lunch at an all-you-can-eat restaurant. Later in the day, I also went on a boat tour of Yokohama Bay and saw some really cool things such as a giant gundam robot and the Yokohama ferris wheel. 

Surmise to say, Japan certainly has no shortage of fun activities available to fill up my free time. These experiences have resulted in a number of great memories, photos, and souvenirs for me to bring back home. Though I’m often busy due to a mix of travel, class, and homework, I’ve been able to try out many new things, even when I least expected to. I’ve also started to realize the importance of making the most of my time. Now that my semester is close to halfway through, there’s much more incentive to do what I can while I still have the time. 

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An Introduction to My Time Abroad

When I was in high school, I would often think about what my college experience would look like. Japan, interestingly enough, was often one of the key players in my mind. I’m not sure where this interest came from, but for years I’ve been curious about experiencing Japan’s culture and way of life firsthand. That’s why, when considering my options for study abroad, Japan was one of the top contenders. Now, here I am a month and a half into my stay in Tokyo, and I can safely say I’ve made a good choice.

Since arriving in Japan, I’ve experienced culture shock in a number of ways. For one, I was surprised by the smaller size of, quite honestly, most things here. Many restaurants in the city are built to accommodate no more than 10 people, and as a result you’re often left eating side by side with complete strangers. Additionally, many of the cars here are small and square-shaped to accommodate for the common one lane roads and lack of parking spaces in some more crowded areas. Food here is also quite different, but not in the way I expected. In a lot of ways, the food available is similar to America, and I often see familiar restaurants such as Denny’s, Baskin Robbins, and Krispy Kreme. On the other hand, many cafes and restaurants have menus altered to fit a season or holiday. Mister Donut, for example, is one of my go-to spots when I’m craving something sweet after class. Currently, it has a multitude of Halloween-themed pastries and seasonal flavors such as sweet potato, pumpkin, and mont blanc. 

Like all things, life in Tokyo isn’t perfect and I’ve certainly had my fair share of great days and not-so-great days. However, I’m happy with this variety because it gives me a chance to grow as a student and traveler. I’ve learned a lot within this past month and I’m sure that I’ll continue to progress overtime. My moments of uncertainty have given me motivation to reflect and grow, and I’m looking forward to other changes I’ll experience throughout the rest of my semester.

Thank you for taking the time to read about my semester abroad! If you want to stay up to date about what I’m doing or check out some photos I’ve taken, please feel free to check out my profile on Instagram! @eg.webb