Who did you take with you?
It was a girls trip! I set out on Mission: Cherry Blossom with my mom and my aunt. 💁🏻
What essentials did you pack & Why?
Essential number one had to be my LBRB, that's short for long black rain boots! I just HAD to give them a nickname because we became besties on this trip. Coming up at a close second was my clear umbrella. The transparency was crucial, otherwise I would've had to sacrifice getting wet to keep myself from bumping into people. My camo cargo jacket was another must because it was such a versatile piece that was perfect for on-the-go! Honestly, I don't know what it'd be best paired with; a classic graphic-tee-and-ripped-jeans combo or contrast with a cashmere sweater and a crystal statement necklace. And lastly, I'm shamelessly proud of my Dionysus GG Cherry Blossom Shoulder Bag that perfect fit the occasion, my OTP. Totes Kawaii! ✌️😊
How long was your trip?
It was a short 4-day adventure. Three days in tantalizing Tokyo and a one-day excursion to the quirky Kyoto. It really wasn't enough time for me to enjoy each city's unique atmosphere, especially with my two travel buddies wanting to 'miryenda' every 30 minutes. Good thing we had to walk everywhere or else my boyfriend would've had 10 more pounds to love when I came back! 🍣
What was your favorite part about Japan?
My favorite part was visiting Kyoto. First of all, the quaint little town surrounding the shrine had so much character and unique snacks. I drank orange juice from a straw out of an orange. I ate a moffle (mochi mixed with batter to make a waffle, duh) and I had scallops the size of my fist. It was all to die for! But you MUST find the strength to move past the deliciousness to get to the shrine. I was completely floored by the Fushimi Inari Shrine. There was a hustle and bustle at the base level of the temple, but once you started to climb up, it was as if everyone understood the sanctity of the area and kept respectfully quiet. As I climbed higher, it became cooler and with each step I clearly heard the bamboo creaking, leaves rustling and birds flapping their wings. I felt like I was in a trance the whole time. ⛩
What were you inspired by on your trip?
On my last day, I stumbled across a little kimono shop that was owned by a George Clooney looking Japanese gentleman. I initially went in to buy a couple vintage kimonos on the sale rack but he insisted on showing me it was to be worn. He lightly slipped the kimono up on my arms and onto my shoulders then delicately began to fold the fabric over itself to create an effortless but crisp waist design. As I watched him folding the kimono around and around, I couldn't help but feel like an origami. I was excited to see what his end product would reveal and as he pinned on a brooch for the finishing touch, the frock was truly transformed into elegance incarnate! I had thought I would board the plane from Tokyo thinking that Harajuku would be my fashion inspo of the trip. But this experience allowed me to respect the history of fashion as we know it today and try to preserve it. I'm embarrassed to admit my intention was to use the kimonos as bathrobes or cover-ups and probably forget they were from Japan until I'm asked. Cultural appropriation would've become quickly become cultural misappropriation. But now every time I use these gorgeous pieces of pure silk, I remember the day I bought it from the kimono artisan and I recognize the kimono not just as a fancy accessory, but as a garment deeply rooted in Japan's spiritual culture. 👘
What would you recommend for others to check out?
1. If you go to Tokyo, you can NOT miss the Shibuya Crossing. It amazes me how so many people walk from one side of the street to the other without being bumped. I was so stoked when I first walked across it, I superfluously went back and forth probably 4 times in a span of 15 minutes. And while you're in the area, I suggest going to Don Quijote! It's a 6-story (maybe more) discount store a couple of blocks down the street. They literally sell EVERYTHING you would want and need! Even if you don't think you need it until you see it, you'll find yourself slipping 3 packages of cushy toilet seat liners in your basket saying, "ugh, how did I ever live without you." 🚦🛍
2. I highly recommend experiencing an onsen in Japan. Think of it as a traditional Japanese spa. The onsen facilities are built around natural hot springs where the active volcanic components in the water are perfect for relaxing and detoxing your body. I can sit in the hot pool for hours with the brisk spring air cooling my face with the tranquil melting snowscape in the background. But be sure you read about the etiquette before you enter, it may be different with each onsen you visit. 💆🏻
3. The Sensoji Temple is the largest ancient Buddhist temple in the city. As you make your way to the temple, light a few incense sticks and burn them while you make a wish. Then once you plant the incense sticks in the mini pagodas, fan the smoke towards your face and body and say, "for good luck, good health, good wealth, and good love." Then climb up the steps into the temple to find your fortune. Shake one of the boxes full of sticks and concentrate on a specific part of your life that you want your fortune read about. Then invert the box and shake a stick out to match a character on the stick with a piece of paper that will tell your fortune. You may either take it with you as a souvenir or tie it with other fortunes on the wires around the temple. 🙏🏻
Was there anything new you learned on this trip?
I have always had this image of what Tokyo would look like in full pink fluffy bloom and had such high expectations. Thus the reason for this trip was to see Japan in the peak of cherry blossom realness. But when I got there I was sorely disappointed. We were told that as much as you can plan for this season, you never know what Mother Nature has planned. It was a blessing in disguise really because it allowed me to focus on the other beauties of the city that I would not have fully appreciated if I was looking up in the trees the whole time. Then something amazing happened! It was only when I finally accepted that the trees will stay "sleeping" the entire time I was there, that the weather suddenly cleared and became nice and warm. When I opened my eyes on our last day, I could see fresh cherry blossoms erupting from the trees lining the streets outside my window! You may call it luck, but I call it unmei. Fate. 🌸🌸🌸
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