Let me tell you this first, I’ve been watching anime since I was teeny tiny toddler (I didn’t know anime was, didn’t even know it was made in Japan because local TV networks before localize them by changing everything from names to OP & ED songs). Once I got older, like elementary school kid older, I finally knew that type of ‘cartoons’ I watched are called anime, that they were made in Japan, and that’s why the culture is different from the American cartoons I watched along with it!
Knowing that thing I’ve been so fond of came from Japan made me hyper tuned to distinct cultural differences. And as I got older I became more and more into it that my love for it expanded from fictional animated stories to the real deal! I mentioned before when my classmate was selected as an exchange student I told myself that one day I will visit Japan too! I have to visit it! Then four countries later, I finally able to go there!
Such a long introduction isn’t it? Haha, but if you don’t know or haven’t read this post, then y’all should know that Japan is the number 1 country I’ve been wanted to visit ever since! I’m big fan of manga and anime so I want to experience the real deal y’know! But of course, I didn’t expect it be like anime-landia (like I’ll be inside anime, goodness, no, I have very good sense of reality and fiction) but I do occasionally watch documentaries (ones I stumbled across on NHK) so I want to immerse myself in the culture even for a few days.
We went there second week of March, it was still winter but wasn’t really, really cold. I only wore a thick sweaters and a bulky jacket and I was able to resist the cold. We decided to go to Fukuoka instead of popular series like Osaka or Tokyo (at one time we almost booked flights to Nagoya but I think we were destined to visit Fukuoka first—first I say, ‘cos I’m positive that this is the first of hopefully many adventures in Japan). But we didn’t get outside Fukuoka prefecture, and because of that we only had such limited time so we tried to roam around as much as we can (these legs are not made for long walking but it can’t be helped) and as much as we can afford!
We visited as many temple and shrines that we stumbled across! Fukuoka has lots of shrines and temples—like I said here, these are places of worship therefore it’s sacred to them but I can’t help admire the architecture of these places. Those priest and priestess that I only get to see in TV? I got to seem in reality! (I was taking picture of the shrine and the priest halted on his track to allow me to take picture, I bowed to him as a thanks, he made the same gesture back! I know, such simple thing but that’s how respectful they are!) It’s amazing! I sorta witnessed traditional Japanese wedding, too! There’s so much to immerse into even simply visiting shrines and temples.
Aside from the weather, I loved that Japan has clean places you can just stay still and relax for FREE! Fukuoka has lots of parks—parks that are almost non-existent here in the Philippines because we are plagued by capitalist erecting more malls than we need to!! *coughs* anyway, back to the topic, parks are free to visit, I liked Ohori park which we visited on our way to Fukuoka Castle ruins and Gokuko shrine. I think because I’ve wanted to visit Japan that I find even just walking on the roads and just feeling the ambiance (the clean, cold air!!!!) that I was in fact here made me feel happy already!
We also tried the food; we went to Canal City, then we ate ramen! We also checked out Kawabata Shotengai and my mom and sister bought home souvenirs there. We didn’t get to try yatai stalls though (bummer!), our AirBNB apartment was near Canal City/Tenjin, I heard it’s near Nishi Park. We also made a short trip to Hakata Station before we went to the airport and bought home some daifuku and hakata torimon. While I bought myself some souvenir for my little niece! I think we also bought some rice cakes with different flavors (I’m not sure what it’s called), and of course a box of green tea! I love green tea!! (Actually I love tea in general!)
I find this experience worth reveling even if it last just a few days! I love Japan, the people are super nice (very thankful to the personnel on the subway and the bus that helped us) Like I said before this trip is one for the record book! As manga and anime fan, being able to be in the country where your favorite stories originated sure is a big deal! If you’re fan like me I implore you to visit Japan! It’s super worth it!