A Life-Changing Trip to Japan

Sanjusangendo Temple in Kyoto, Japan.
Sanjusangendo Temple in Kyoto.

I am back from Japan.  The trip was an amazing experience from start to finish.  I saw so many incredible things, ate so many delicious meals, and took so many pictures.  I am still overwhelmed by the trip and will likely take a few days to process everything I experienced and felt in Japan (not to mention get rid of my jet lag from the 14 hour time difference).

Meiji Shrine in Tokyo, Japan.
Meiji Shrine in the heart of Tokyo.

I visited the Meiji Shrine within the forest in the middle of a city, watched hundreds of people cross the street simultaneously at Shibuya Crossing from one of the world’s busiest Starbucks locations, ate at one of the best sushi restaurants in the world at Tsukiji Fish Market, listened to thousands of baseball fans chant in unison at the Yomiuri Giants game, ordered ramen from a vending machine, rode a bullet train at nearly 300 mph from Tokyo to Kyoto…

The Kinkakuji Temple in Kyoto, Japan.
The Kinkakuji Temple (“Golden Temple”) was my favorite.

… Saw 1,001 life-sized bronze statues of the deity Kannon, watched a traditional Buddhist ceremony, experienced thousands of commuters in transit at Kyoto Station, ate at a traditional (yet Michelin-rated) kaiseki restaurant, admired a 17th Century castle complete with two moats, saw a gold-painted temple on a pristine lake, walked through the forest on a trail lined with 40,000 Buddhist torii gates, and avoided Typhoon Guchol by mere hours.

Wandering around the Chishaku-in Temple in Kyoto.
Wandering around the Chishaku-in Temple in Kyoto.

Part of me felt like I was in Japan for a quick second.  The other part of me felt like I’d been there forever.  So much of the country was foreign, yet so much was familiar.  It was an incredible feeling to be so connected to my cultural heritage, yet experiencing everything for the first time.

Over the next few weeks I’ll share all these stories and more.  Stay tuned!

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