Why Travel to Japan?

The last time I did a post like this, I examined why I picked the Women’s Ultimate Fitness Challenge.  Shortly thereafter, I stopped doing it.  I’m still doing what I can to work out, but my push ups goal is seeing much more progress than the other fitness challenge is.  Luckily, our trip to Japan is booked, so barring any major disaster, I know that I’ll be seeing this goal through.

My husband and I have both noticed how many people respond to our trip announcement with some version of the question: “why do you want to go there?”  It got so bad at one point that I didn’t even really want to tell people that we were going to Japan.  I started to get very cynical as it seemed to be that unless you were Japanese, some of our acquaintances simply couldn’t fathom why we would want to go there.

As usual, after discussing it with my husband, I altered my attitude about how to handle it.  He took all the questions as an opportunity to share with people all the things that we’ve learned about Japan and Japanese culture and history.  I had simply taken it for granted that most people in our close acquaintance don’t know much about Japan and therefore wouldn’t be drawn to that particular country as a place to explore and experience.  After all, you can’t want to go somewhere unless you’ve heard something about it that interests you.

So, here is a brief run down of why I want to go to Japan (my husband’s reasons mostly align with these, but I’m sure he has a few of his own that aren’t on this list.)

1. Architecture – from pagodas to temples to castles to memorial domes

2. Aesthetics – bonsai and zen gardens to flashing neon street signs

3. Battle ready – the art and history of the samurai along with the rituals of sumo (we’re probably going to catch a sumo tournament in Tokyo)

4. Crafts – this one is probably more for me – fabrics, amigurumi, paper, funky jewellery

5. Parks and wildlife – I want to hear what Japanese birds say
6. Geisha – their art and traditions have fascinated me since I read Memoirs of a Geisha and I keep meaning to read other Geisha stories.  Now, I might get to snap a few photos of them in Gion.
7. Onsen/Hot Springs, Ryokan/spas, Minshuku/B&B – we’re looking forward to some bathing in hot springs, which should be quite a different cultural experience.  We’re planning on staying at a variety of different accommodations instead of the customary hotels (we might even sneak a night in at a love hotel).

Another reason that I want to go to Japan now is for cost concerns.  It is an expensive place to go to and right now, we don’t have kids, pets, or a dying car, so we can afford to spend quite a bit on a vacation like this.

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