Travelogue: Impulse solo trip to Japan

9:25 PM claire 0 Comments

I love Japan. The people are polite and friendly, food is AMAZING and there's just so much richness in their culture and way of life. Soaking in hot spring water that cures ailments and rejuvenates your body? Yes, please. Learning about Geishas and Maikos who entertain their guests with performances wearing a kimono which is really hard to breathe in? Yes, please. Those are just the tip of the iceberg why I keep finding myself drawn to Japan's mysteries and wonder at how the Japanese ladies stay so fair even though I pile on sunblock all the time.

This end April trip was to be was fourth trip to Japan, and though I only have really basic Japanese conversational skills which were enough for me not to get lost, it would be a challenge even just getting on the right train. I asked a few close friends if they were interested and could travel on such short notice, but they couldn't.

So I decided to be brave and book solo return tickets to Japan! I booked my flights on a Wednesday evening, and I was slated to fly on Saturday night. Talk about spontaneity and impulse! I was sooo excited! I had flown to London alone before (which is a 13h flight) so flying for about 7h wasn't a big deal to me, as long as there wasn't much turbulence.

I've made a number of friends in Japan since the beginning of university, and I reached out to them via Facebook (god bless them!) and arranged to crash at their places during my stay. There was a lot of good luck involved as golden week was the week after, which meant many people would have gone back to their hometowns instead of remaining in Tokyo.

Getting a data plan was a priority for me, but as I did not buy a prepaid sim online and it was too pricey to rent a wireless router since I was swinging solo, I decided to just leech on any free wifi spots I could get. Bigggg mistake. There aren't many free wifi spots in Japan, the most famous one being Starbucks but even so, your initial registration requires you to click a link in your email to activate. Which defeats the whole purpose?! Thankfully I had a Japanese friend with me when I was at Starbucks so she created an account for me using her email.

Being the last minute person I always am, I only started packing on Saturday! Okay, granted I was working til 1-2am that entire week, so I didn't have much time to get ready. I packed pants, long johns and long sleeved tops, remembered to throw in a nice outfit or two just in case, and brought a spring jacket and boots. Seeing cherry blossoms was on my bucket list, but I knew that the time for viewing cherry blossoms was usually in March to mid April so I was just going to try my luck without much hope.

My shopping list was short. I only wanted to get undergarments, socks, makeup and eye drops. My to do list consisted of meeting friends, eating delicious food and experience what it's like to be a Japanese.

Armed with only a positive attitude and a quest for adventure, I checked in and boarded my plane. People are afraid of traveling alone for fear of the unknown, but I wanted some me time and having the freedom to roam around to explore the city. Tokyo and Nagoya, here I come!!
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