Trip Dates: July 20th-August 10th, 2017
Places Visited: Tokyo, Narita, Kisarazu, Sakura
Highlights: Visiting Naritasan Temple, Tokyo Skytree, Yokohama, Hiking up Mt. Tsukuba, Oarai Beach, Kimono Photoshoot, My Host Families ❤
I came to Japan hoping to discover the culture and traditions that created this beautiful country, and I think it’s safe to say I found it. In my three weeks here, I’ve learned so much more than I thought possible, and I owed that to the wonderful Lions Clubs (Sakura and Kisarazu Clubs) and host families (Uesugis and Namekatas) that welcomed me to Japan. I feel like I’ve gotten an authentic Japanese experience, and that is absolutely priceless.
I was able to learn all about Japanese culture by the places we visited. By going to many Shinto shrines and Buddhist temples, I was able to experience traditional culture and learn about the religious and spiritual beliefs that influence the Japanese people. When we went to Tokyo and Harajuku, I was able to learn so much about modern Japanese life and everyday experiences of Japanese teenagers. These very immersive experiences into the culture are something I could’ve never acquired through a history book or museum, and they are something I’ll never forget.
Visiting Japanese sightseeing places is another memory I’ll always cherish. From Chinatown in Yokohama to Mt. Tsukuba to the Tokyo Skytree, these sights allowed me to see the vibrant life that makes up Japan. They were also all beautiful!
The food in Japan is another thing I surely miss. I pushed myself to try everything that I can, and I’ve discovered so many new tastes and flavors. I found out that I absolutely love sushi and ramen, as well as tempura. I also love Japanese snacks like pocky and Calbee chips. I found out that restaurants in Japan are quite an experience compared to American restaurants, from the atmosphere to the seating, the whole meal is something to be remembered.
One of my favorite memories is doing a professional photo shoot in a kimono. Although the kimono was extremely tight and hard to breathe in, I had a blast! My photos are even featured on the photo company’s website! It was such a cool experience and I’ll never forget it.
I want to thank everyone that made this trip possible for me, my host families, my receiving Lions clubs, and of course my sponsor Lions club! I learned so much about the Japanese culture and people, and I am now much better able to appreciate their culture. I feel like a more informed and accepting of a person, because I’ve seen more and I understand more than I did before. This experience was once in a lifetime, and I am so grateful that I got to embark on such a life-changing journey.
Please enjoy those videos uploaded by the camp, and the below photos!
With love, Leonie