If you follow me on Instagram or Twitter you will have seen a lot of photos from my recent trip to Japan. I want to make sure I document my travels as I intended when I first started this blog back in 2011. Unfortunately jet lag and germs have been a bitch this last week and held me up on getting my posts organised. I have 3 posts planned, but have decided to add this on is as a fourth to get the process started and because it doesn’t require me to have been through all my notes and photos from when I was away!
As an introduction I have wanted to visit Japan for a really long time. Probably over 10 years, but the cost of going has always been a barrier. Then when I got a promotion last year I decided to use the extra cash to pay for my dream trip and booked it back in October 2015. I decided to go with Exodus as I really rate the company after being on a number of trips with them (Tibet, Peru, Amalfi, Cross Country Skiing) and knew it would be really well organised. It also made it really simple as it was going pretty much everywhere I wanted to go and meant I could just sit back once it was booked and focus on my new job with the trip to look forward to.
Upcoming posts will break the trip down in these sections:
- Kyoto, Nara and Hiroshima
- Takayama, Matsumato and Yundanaka
- Tokyo and Hakone
For this post though I thought I would focus on what I bought home – THE SOUVENIRS!!!
Kit Kats are huge in Japan, but not an everyday sweet purchase like you find here, but instead for all the different flavours available. I found a few as I went round,but I know there are even more depending on where you visit as they do flavours by regions. I then found a counter in a big department store (think Selfridges) and found some small boxes of posh versions. The at the airport I found a couple of big boxes to bring home enough to take into work. I haven’t tried them all yet, but I can say the sake, melon, apple, and green tea ones taste exactly like the flavours, which is amazing!
I actually didn’t buy too many things while I was away. Sure there were things I saw and would have bought, but then thought about having to carry them around. But I knew I wanted to find some new Starbucks mugs! I found special versions of Kyoto and Tokyo and also a mug celebrating 20 years in Japan. We did end up in Starbucks quite a few times as it was the only place where we could easily get English Breakfast tea as close to home as possible (my mum is not a fan of green tea). So I also made sure I tried the Matcha Latte and their seasonal Nectarine and Peach tea, both of which were nice and different to what we get here at home.
I also knew I wanted to get a Maneki-neko known as Japanese lucky cat. However I got a bit overwhelmed when looking as there were so many different ones. In the end I found a small one that looked cute and had purple on it. I am going to look up all the different meanings again and work out what it all means.
Something I hadn’t thought about buying, but when we were there it made total sense was some chopsticks. I love using chop sticks and as I definitely want to cook more Japanese style food at home they will come in very useful. I chose the winter Mt Fuji set and was able to get my name in English and Japanese engraved onto them. Our guide carried his chopsticks around the whole trip so that he didn’t have to keep using the disposal ones at restaurants so I also bought a cloth case to carry them in.
This little Mt Fuji plush toy was an impulse buy as I just thought he was super cute and was less than £5 so I couldn’t resist. He will go somewhere where I can see him when I work as he always makes me smile.
I also bought back another Starbucks find as I was intrigued to se what they would be like at home. I haven’t tried them yet, but I’m sure you’ll see them on my Instagram when I do!
Another impulse buy from the Japanese equavilent of the pound shop – a Hello Kitty headphone case! I’ve broken two sets of headphones this year form keeping them unprotected in my bag, so when I saw this I again could not resist!
Lastly I have a couple of sake cups that we had to buy to do some sake tasting. I kept an eye out for a nice sake bottle and cup set, but did not find any I really liked.
I had such an amazing trip and the time flew by, but it also felt like a long time between starting in Kyoto and finishing in Tokyo. As I said I am going to go into much more detail of my trip and all the places I visited in the next few posts. I am looking forward to going through all my camera photos that I haven’t shared with anyone yet. I’m also looking forward to reliving everything I did even just for a few minutes as I right. That is what I love about writing this blog as it makes me spend a little time reflecting and appreciating what I’ve been doing and that makes me very grateful.