When I was very young I remember watching 'Dragon Ball Z' on my TV and being truly amazed by the programme. It became a huge part of my childhood and I soon became extremely invested in the characters, so much that I sometimes had to be physically removed from my living room by my parents when it came to leaving the house.. I would scream and sob.
I also remember watching 'Sailor Moon' with my sister and we used to dance and sing to the theme tune every time, these are some of my fondest childhood memories.
I don't know what exactly sparked my love for the Japanese culture itself but I do remember being dressed in a Yukata around age 8 and it felt just...right. (I know that may sound strange but it's just something I remember).
At around age 15 I started to really get into anime, it all began with Naruto. I spent a whole summer watching episodes..I was truly hooked, I had a weird obsession with the character 'Gaara' and not long after I dyed my hair Red. I remember watching 'Death Note' and trying to sit and eat like the character 'L'..I would even hold my phone like him.
After Naruto and Death Note I continued watching lots of different anime, by this time I was completely and utterly in love with the beautiful Japanese language.
I found a restaurant that sold Ramen here in the UK and a place that sold sushi opened in my city, I was in my element trying the beloved foods that I had seen my favourite characters consume all the time and not to mention..the food was delicious!
As I grew older my love for all of these things only grew larger and I found a very special anime called 'NANA'. I was so moved by this anime and how they portrayed Japan, the animation was truly stunning and once again I found myself attached to the characters and music..
There is something about Japan in the snow,the small Japanese houses, the language, the mountains, nature and just everything that I found myself pining for more than ever..I absolutely NEEDED to go.
I was working full time at my old job last year and I decided to book a 2 week trip for myself to Japan, I booked a place to stay in Tokyo through the Airbnb website in April..although I was so extremely excited as it was all I ever wanted I was still a bit nervous to go alone but I am actually so glad I went!
Tokyo was a place of dreams and I was so amazed at how clean it was and how polite the people were. I only knew basic words of Japanese and how I wish I knew more, it would have been the only thing that made my experience better than it was.
I visited Disneyland Tokyo, many many great restaurants, Two cat cafes (I'm a cat lady) and a dog cafe! I met up with a big group of great people from all over the world from a website called Couchsurfing and we went on our own pub crawl in Tokyo, hosted by a Japanese boy named Shin, it was an amazing experience.
I met up with an lovely Japanese girl named Chihiro (also from Couchsurfing) who introduced me to Izakaya and Japanese Karaoke, we also got some great pictures in a photo booth at a Taito station.
I had a Two week rail pass for the very convenient bullet trains and I travelled to Kyoto for a day where I visited Daigo-Ji Temple which was absolutely stunning, I also visited another temple that I can't remember the name of right now..I kind of regret not staying in Kyoto longer .
I visited Osaka for Two days, here I went to the beautiful Osaka Castle which happened to be during a wine festival. My last day in Osaka and I pulled my back so I couldn't do much which was terribly upsetting but some very kind Japanese ladies helped me find painkillers and gave me their umbrella (cries).
I travelled to the magnificent Mount Fuji but instead of climbing it, I hunted down Aokigahara forest as I was curious to see it's strange beauty (considering it's dark history of suicides it was a beautiful tranquil place), also here I visited Lake Kawaguchi.
After two weeks I returned home feeling like a different person and ever since I have not stopped thinking about the place, hopefully in the near future I can teach English here and learn more of the language.
It is hard to put into words how exactly I feel about Japan, it is an enchanting world of many beautiful things and many wonderful people. I will continue to dream about it until I get back there.