It was the trip I was so afraid to take. The notoriety of Japan as an expensive destination hovered over my head for the longest time. Even when airlines offered bargain deals for flights to Osaka, I was reluctant to book. Not only was I worried about the visa not
In 2012, I traveled solo for the first time in my life. I still remember how scared I was before the trip. With only a small backpack, a Neil Gaiman book, a thousand dollars, and a will to get out of my comfort zone, I boarded the plane to Bangkok.
It’s interesting that, given the proximity of Kyoto and Osaka from each other (less than half an hour by train), each city radiates a distinct vibe that distinguishes itself from the other. I noticed it as soon as I stepped off the train station: while Kyoto is all about heritage
If you ask me to enumerate all the things that I love about Japan, you’ll probably not gonna hear the end of it. From its simple but sublime cuisine to its rich but action-packed history to their gentle but efficient way of life, Japan has always captivated me since childhood.
There was no more refreshing way of ending my half-day walk around the Arashiyama District than with a bowl of something cold and sweet. In the Philippines, I always end a tour with a tall glass of halo-halo. Here in Kyoto, Japan, the halo-halo is unheard of, and in its
I felt the love in Arashiyama’s Bamboo Forest. The giant stalks seemed to take a bow as two lovers walked past us. Holding hands and wearing traditional kimono, they strolled deeper into the bamboo groves.
The moment that sushi graced my palate, I knew I had been mistaken all this time. I was known in my circle as the guy who hated Japanese food. Well, ‘hated’ would be quite a stretch. I was just not a fan. At lunch or dinnertime and a friend would
Bang! I didn’t realize just how much of my early years had been taken over by the Japanese until I was standing in the middle of the movie park. I may be a foreigner here, but everything around me looked and sounded mighty familiar. There’s a ninja statue clinging on
A wind of optimism hugged me as I emerged from the train station, but it went away in an instant. I was at the center of Kyoto’s Geisha District and the birthplace of the Kabuki theater. But I had a hunch. I had this awful feeling that I won’t see what I
There were four pictures hanging on a wall just outside Tenryuji Temple. Each frame showcased the visual character of the site per season — clad in the fiery colors of autumn, dressed in white snow in winter, adorned with the pink glow of cherry blossoms in spring, and, finally, drowned
Every time I entered a restaurant required a leap of faith. Meals in Japan are expensive by Filipino standards. Before going in, I would stand by the doorway, check the menu too many times, and stare at the prices as though they would change if I look long enough. Blame