Many Faces of Japan

16 03 2010

There’s a lot to say about Japan, but in a nutshell: it is the cleanest country on the planet; the people are pleasant everywhere in Japan, but more down-to-earth in the Kansai region; it has an amazing history; the best of electronics and convenience; AND the fashion is equivalent and maybe better than New York’s fashion. As it’s my second trip to Japan, including the Kansai region (Osaka, Kyoto and Nara) and Randy’s first, I feel like we covered a different part of Japan that became our own experience. During my first trip, my sister, Mailena, and her boyfriend, Justin, were great tour guides. Justin knew how to get around Osaka and Kyoto like the back of his hand, of course it helped that he knows the Japanese language. And Mailena took me to her favorite spots in their small village, Nishi-Iya, including onsens (Japanese spa), thrift shopping and ‘country’ restaurants. This trip was very special, as it was my sister’s first major move – out of the country and on the other side of the world – and it was my first major overseas trip, by myself. Although it was three years ago, this trip planted the seed to what I am doing now. Justin was teaching English with the JET program and I got to experience one of his classes. So, thanks Mailena and Justin for a wonderful first trip to Japan! And thanks for introducing me to a new world teaching English abroad.

Todai-ji Temple - the largest wooden structure in the world that houses the largest statue of the Buddha Vairocana

As for my second trip to Japan, I fell in love with fashion in Japan. It’s a little out there and I don’t know if Westerners can handle it, but Tokyo is definitely one of the fashion capitals of the world. Not only do the women dress to impress 24/7, but the men dress like they’re about to walk down a runway show. Tokyo is not just a huge metropolitan city with the most modern vending machines that include everything from cigarettes, beer and chicken, but it’s a place to go for people watching. We saw the craziest outfits on the most normal people. Every girl has the same make-up and hair, with fake eyelashes caked on foundation, eye make-up to the max and blonde or orange hair that is curled to the perfect wave. Shibuya is the place to see these women, of which I do not care much for the hair and make-up. But the men have their own style. It seems that every man just came out of an anime cartoon, with their spiked hair and either a suit or ripped up jeans and leather jacket. Enjoy the pictures below!

Harajuku shopping district

Anime-like men in Harajuku

Osaka men fashion

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One response

16 03 2010
Mailena

Shauna,
Thank YOU for making the long trip to see us during your spring break! I wish we could have met you in Japan again, but oh well…we don’t exactly have Spring Breaks anymore.

Hopefully we’ll see you in Vietnam!

Love you,
Mailena

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