For some reason, it seems like the fates were conspiring against my sister, my mother and me every time we tried to take a trip out to the Pembroke Springs Retreat. We were originally supposed to go in May however work and weather got in the way. When we finally were able to get together and take the drive down, we were hit with a tornado warning 30 minutes before reaching our destination. At that point, we had come too far to go back home. Luckily, we only had to deal with the bad weather for ten minutes until we arrived at our destination. The road there wasn’t easy though. We drove through the winding path through a pretty wooded area. Thank goodness there were no cars coming in the opposite direction as the way was almost too narrow for two cars to fit. When we reached the clearing at the top, though, my anxiety immediately disappeared as I took in the gorgeous view.
Japan was an amazing experience for me and I would love to go back there and visit for longer to really experience/eat more. For those that haven’t read the About Us section, I am in fact half-Japanese. I moved to the US when I was just a year old and 2010 was the first time I had been back since I moved. While I don’t necessarily feel like I was “coming home” it was an amazing experience. There is so much that the Japan has to offer from the deep cultural traditions and religions that are ingrained into the Japanese society to the crazy new technology. It’s really an almost perfect combination of old and new and a little weird. I didn’t take as many pictures as I wanted, namely because my camera batteries were running out and I forgot to bring my charger. Still, below are some of the best pictures of Japan.
If you are ever in Japan, it might be a little overwhelming deciding what to do. I was lucky enough to have some one guide me through the areas and also fortunate enough to stay with family. While some of my favorite memories of Japan are of the food that I ate, there’s a lot more to the country than just eating…I think.
6. Visit a Shrine
You don’t have to visit all the shrines in the area, but there are definitely some amazing ones out there. If you’re in Kyoto during the fall, the Kiyomizu-dera temple is a sight to behold. It’s a bit of a climb, but the view is definitely worth it. One of my other favorites was the Ise shrine in Honshu. Like most of the shrines, the Ise shrine is surrounded by nature, but there’s just something incredibly mystical about the area. Maybe it’s because the shrine was built to worship Amaterasu, the sun goddess, or maybe it’s the fact that we saw a very rare ceremony occurring that day. Either way, it was definitely worth the bus ride and wait.
When I decided to go to Japan, one of the things that I wanted to do was go to a Maid Cafe. For those not in the know, maid cafes are pretty much like regular cafes except the waitresses are dressed up as, you guessed it, maids. It makes a certain amount of sense that the place famous for the Maid Cafes also happens to be the techie/nerd area of Tokyo, Akihabara.
There are literally dozens, if not more, maid cafes to choose from. There were the standard maid cafes, a working lady cafe, a cat maid cafe…the possibilities were endless. It seemed like there was a cafe for every type of fetish. My mom and I checked out a couple, but the majority of them required membership fees to gain entrance. The one we finally decided upon was a rabbit maid cafe called the Hand Maid Cafe – Usagi no Mori (Rabbit’s Forest).
“Hi Jasmine, do you want to go to Japan, I’ll pay for your airplane flight?”
It had been a couple months since a bad breakup from my ex and I was looking for any reason to get my mind off it and to get out of New York. Travel to Japan with my mom, a native Japanese? HECK YES! I wasn’t really sure what to expect, neither my mom nor I are good planners when it comes to travelling, but that’s part of the fun. I had no idea how cold it would be over there in November, but I packed my favorite (and only) leather jacket, basic necessities and, of course, my camera. It was the first time since I was born that I would be going back to my “home country”. I was pretty excited. During the time, I was working as a bartender, so it was easy enough to find people to cover my 5 shifts and besides, a lot of people owed me. Passport? Check. Toiletries? Kinda check. Clothes? Check. Was I missing anything? Oh most likely. I was more or less ready for my 10 days in Japan.