I left my heart in Tokyo…

November 2008.
I’m standing in Tokyo
as a huge parade comes up
a street in Asakusa.

I can barely breathe with excitement.
(I am in Japan! I am in Japan!)

I stand at the back of a crowd and try to peer
over people’s heads to see the parade…

Someone glances round, smiles at me,
says something I don’t understand,
then gestures for me to move forward,
then another person does the same,
and another, and another…

Until I’m right at the front,
with people smiling at me,
nodding, being so lovely
that it almost distracts me
from taking pictures.


It’s now 2012. And I can barely breathe with
excitement… because we’re going back to
the land that invented washi tape!
And I can’t wait! Here’s why:

If you’ve ever seen Lost in Translation,
you’ll have an idea just how magical,
mysterious, zany, crazy and cute Tokyo is.
Except in real life, it’s even better.
It’s overwhelming but in a brilliant way.

There’s just so much colour everywhere in Japan…
from old shrine gates in Kyoto to paper
cranes in Hiroshima to this little girl in Tokyo.

Even the signs are cute…
yes, those are helpful raccoons
telling you not to get your hand stuck!

And the randomness… a calendar based on brushing your teeth?
Well, of course! Diet tights? Yup, you can get those too.
And an arcade game based on zombies… and eh typing?

As well as Tokyo, we spent time into Kyoto…
with its cute trains, Golden Pavilion, and the Geishas.
Wherever we went in Kyoto, I seemed to attract lots
of school children who wanted to take my picture…
We suspected this was because of my 2008
inclination to dress like a children’s TV presenter!
I have never been so excited to go back somewhere…
Honestly I’ve been causing myself near heart failure
while trying to plan this next trip.

My number 1 tip for Japan is to wear slip on shoes,
not Converses. I swear I spent 1/3 of our last trip,
lacing and unlacing my trainers.

Oh and this time, if I can, I’m drawing a fox wishing plaque
at Fushimi Inari (possibly the most magical place ever)
and buying a giga pudding. (It has the craziest video ever
and was everywhere we went in 2008!)


Maybe once I’m back from the trip
I might do a proper guide?
If anyone has any recommendations
of places to go, I’d love them!
Or if you share my love of Japan,
do let me know! *Super excited!*


{P.S.} Ok, not so much of a P.S.
as an extra bit of this blog post…

I have so many weird and wonderful
stories from my last trip but I wanted
to share this one… it’s pretty much
my most embarrassing story EVER!

Here goes:

If you’ve heard of a traditional Japanese onsen,
you might have an idea where I’m going with this…

It’s a Japanese bath, that you bathe in naked.
With strangers. Naked. So far, so unBritish.

As the onsens are segregated,
I’m going in on my own. Naked.
(Did I mention the naked thing already?)

I’m determined to be cool about it.
In fact, I’m doing quite well at being cool
until a 90 year old little woman decides that
she will instruct me on the ways of the onsen.

Cue much pointing from her, lots of directions in Japanese…
which seem to mean that I’m using the wrong kind of soap
and not scrubbing vigorously enough apparently!

It’s hot, I’m scarlet and naked.
Did I mention she was naked too?
I have never felt so British. Ever.

So this time, I think we’ll do a modern onsen!
Or I’ll learn the phrase, “Thank you for your help
but I can manage on my own!”

P.P.S. If anyone has any embarrassing travel stories,
do feel free to share… so I’m not alone here!