Wednesday, February 17, 2010

List of Things That I Want to See In Japan Before I Leave in August

Here is the list of all of the things that I want to see and do before I leave Japan in August. There is a lot more things that I'd love to see (such as Osaka, Fukuoka, Sendai, Sapporo, and the memorial in Hiroshima), but I will most likely not be able to visit those places because of my relatively tight schedule (I'm here on an internship, and there is a paucity of three-day weekends here), so most of my trips will be relegated to the Tokyo area. I'll update this list and cross off the things that I've already done.
  1. Visit Mt. Fuji and possibly climb it. Now, before you get any ideas of me climbing a steep mountain with bungee cords and other tools and gear, climbing Mt. Fuji is not like climbing Mt. Whitney or other similar mountains; it's not very steep and is pretty easy to climb. See this page for more information. I probably won't climb the whole thing, but I'd love to at least visit and try it for a few hours.
  2. Visit Kyoto and stay for a weekend. Kyoto is a showcase of Japan's traditional architecture and provides a glimpse of what Japan looked like before the Meiji era and industrialization. I've always wanted to go.
  3. Ride the Shinkansen, the famed bullet train. Why wait until 2025 to ride a bullet train in California when I can ride one right now in Japan?
  4. Visit some of the universities in the Tokyo area, including the famous University of Tokyo.
  5. Visit Akihabara, Tokyo's famed spot for anime, manga, and computer geeks. While I'm in Akihabara, browsing the manga stores and checking out the computer stores, I hope to have lunch at this maid café. For those of you who don't know what a maid café is, you can read the Wikipedia article.
  6. Watch the sakura (cherry blossoms) at a beautiful park in the spring. Here is an example of cherry trees blooming in Tokyo.
  7. Visit the Pokémon Center in Tokyo, a store officially owned by The Pokémon Company that sells nothing but Pokémon merchandise. (There's also another one in Yokohama, which is closer to my dorm in Kawasaki, but I specifically want to visit the Tokyo one). If it weren't for Pokémon, I probably wouldn't have bought my little Japanese dictionary in 1999 and started learning the language, and I probably wouldn't be in Japan right now. Here is a clip of somebody in the Pokémon Center.
  8. View the Rainbow Bridge in Tokyo, during the day and at night.
  9. Visit the Shin-Yokohama Ramen Museum in Yokohama. There are plenty of ramen shops there. And, for those of you whose only experience with ramen is the instant kind, this museum deals with the non-instant kind, which is very delicious! Instant ramen is to real ramen as a frozen burrito is to a burrito straight from the kitchen in a taqueria. If you haven't had real ramen before, find a ramen shop near you!
  10. Visit rural Japan if I get the opportunity. It would be nice to explore the countryside here; I hear the culture and pace of life is different there than in the city.
  11. Sing at a karaoke bar. Once.
  12. Buy music. There are certain jazz albums made by American musicians that were only sold in Japan; I'd like to track them down while I'm here.
I'll add more things on this list as I think of them. And if you have any suggestions, feel free to comment!