I'm taking a long overdue holiday in Japan! I'll be posting my adventures between March 21st - April 16th. You can read my itinerary and how to follow my journey here.
As I have alluded to once or twice in the last few months, I'm heading off to Japan for 4 weeks. I'll be travelling all over the country, looking for inspiration and relaxation away from home.
During this time, I'll be writing updates periodically, which will appear both here, and on Otaku News - a Japanese pop-culture site run by my good friend Joe Curzon, which I occasionally write anime/manga reviews for. It's worth keeping an eye on my Twitter feed too, for photos, tips, and witty observations.
I've been in love with Japanese pop-culture since I was very young. Shortly after I started high school, anime became popular, with series like Pokémon and Card Captor Sakura airing on terrestrial television channels. Though I had dabbled when younger - catching the odd episode of Dominion Tank Police or Fist of the North Star (which.. aren’t really kid friendly), it was now that I was able to make the distinction between ‘anime’ and ‘cartoon’.
Even before I made the conscious association, the consoles and games I’ve played since I was old enough to hold a control pad: Super Mario Bros., Sonic the Hedgehog and Sparkster to name a few - all originating from Japanese companies.
It's been 7 whole years since I was last in Japan, and I've been longing to return ever since!
I have quite the adventure planned, travelling by train between accommodation in Tokyo, Hiroshima, Osaka, Nara, Kyoto and Hakone during my trip, as well as taking journeys out of each city to really explore properly.
I'm looking forward to revisiting places I've been to before, particularly Kyoto, but I'm also looking forward to seeing Hiroshima, Miyajima island and Nara for the first time!
One of the big events I have planned is attending Anime Japan as press for Otaku News. It's likely to be the biggest anime event I've ever attended, and I'm really excited to be going!
I'll be able to preview and report back on lots of great new films and TV shows! One thing that caught my eye in particular, Cencoroll 2 will be promoted by Aniplex at the event. Significantly, I picked up the original on DVD when I first visited Japan, and I love that it was all written, animated and directed by one person. Atsuya Uki is possibly more well known for his more recent work on Digimon Adventure Tri. He's an incredibly talented person.
I'll be travelling fairly light, taking my mirrorless camera (smaller than my DSLR), clean clothes for 4 days and staying in Airbnb apartments so I can prepare food and keep on top of my laundry. I don't want to get bogged down by carrying so much that travelling itself becomes burdensome. I want to enjoy my time there, and leave as much of my everyday detritus at home as I can.
Thanks to Vicky Tsai for the beautiful new art piece featuring Rinny! It's the perfect look for my lovely mascot whilst I'm in Japan during cherry blossom season.
You can find more of her art, and links to her other projects on her Tumblr blog.