As kid we never really travelled much outside of the Netherlands due to my mom not being able to withstand really hot temperatures. I’ve tried to make up for that during my teens and early 20’s with lots of city trips and short vacations to Norway, Sweden, Tenerife, Mallorca, Portugal and Italy. I’ve also been to Paris, Berlin and a part of England.
I love touring around Europe and I think one of the next places I want to visit is Barcelona or Valencia in Spain. However I also have a few dream trips that I want to do now that I can still enjoy them seeing as I’m young and I have a decent amount of vacation days to spend every year (thanks boss!).
I’ve had a few destinations in my head that I really want to visit and on top of my list is Japan. I’ve been considering it for a while now to just take the plunge and go and yesterday I finally made the decision and booked a 22-day group travel arrangement for March 2020. It’s still a very long way away but I’m already very much looking forward to going. I’ll be going with a big travel agency and we will be going with a group of around 10-14 people. The journey will take me from Tokyo via Kyoto to Nagasaki. All hotels and excursions are included, as are the flights, and one night we will even be staying at a temple where we will eat dinner and breakfast!
It’s one of my dreams come true and a big motivation for me to work on getting fit again because I obviously want to be able to do all the things and not be left behind because of my poor stamina and condition overall. One of the reasons I picked the end of March is because it’s going to be cherry blossom season (or sakura in Japanese) and I really, really want to see all the gorgeous pink trees and take tons of pictures of everything. I’m also hoping that I’ll be able to go to the Eorzea café and maybe a Pokémon café. I’m definitely going to a Pokécenter store and maybe a few other anime themed stores and retro gaming stores. There’s just so much you can get and do there that you don’t have over here and I can’t wait to explore everything.
The one thing that kind of scares me a lot is that I will be going on this journey alone. I will be grouped up with a bunch of strangers and will basically have to fend for myself in a country half the world away where I don’t speak the language. I think it’s going to be one of the hardest and possibly most rewarding trips I will ever take in my lifetime and I’m 100% sure I want to do this. Yet I’m also terrified. What if anything goes wrong? What if I get sick or have an accident or my luggage gets lost? I know that I will be with a group and that we have guides who know Japan and can help where necessary but still these things go through my head.
All in all I have over half a year to prepare for this trip and to look forward to it. It’s going to be the first time that I’ll be on a plane this long and it’s going to be the first time I will travel on my own anywhere outside of the Netherlands where I won’t be meeting up with friends abroad. I’m mostly hoping that my dream trip will be just that. I guess we’ll see when I get there!
Exciting! I’ll share all the necessary information with you when I come back 😀
Defo! We’ll book a lunch 🙂
My sister recently took my daughter and a friend to Japan for 10 days. They were able to get by fine using English most of the time, as English is a required course in Japanese school, so even if it’s not really used day to day, most people can “get by” in it if they have to. And on a tour like you’ve booked I’m sure they’ll have guides who can speak Japanese and Dutch or whatever too, so you should have that kind of resource available to you also.
I think you’ll do just fine.
Yeah we have a guide that can translate stuff so that will help. It’s more on the days that we’re “free” that I’m a bit concerned about everything being in Japanese etc. I’ll manage 🙂 it’s just a huge step for me to do this on my own.
I took a trip with my in laws last year to Japan and it was one of the best experiences of my life. Getting exercise in is a good idea, some of the older members of our party were certainly getting pooped out at the end. Speaking English will get you quite far in Japan, especially if you’re primarily staying in the bigger cities. Nearly every restaurant in Tokyo had either English menus or menus with pictures you could simply point at. The most important signs in the city and in the train stations had English equivalents. The machines to purchase train passes even had English options and were not particularly difficult to navigate. The only difficulties I remember were when we took a different railway system all the way north to Misawa and had to get different passes, but even that was resolved when they brought in an employee to help us figure it out.
Japan is so well organized and is so used to tourism at this point that I don’t think you should really worry about anything. I think you’ll have a ton of fun.
That’s really good to hear! I know Japan isn’t say… Rural China but still. I think I may learn a few common Japanese words to get around better.
I’m not really worried about the big cities like Tokyo and Kyoto but we will be visiting some smaller communities aswell… So just hoping that a bit of hand and feet and pointing will get me where I need to be 🙂