The days of fluffy rain are slowly coming to an end in the land of sushi, which means one thing, drunken parties in the park. These drunken park parties are more commonly known as Hanami and coincide with the blooming of the second most magical thing in Japan, cherry blossoms. Being a certified Japan expert, and having spent a total of one spring in Japan, I feel I am exceptionally qualified to give you all the insider hints as to the best cherry blossoms spots (how to see them and how to partake in a bit of public drinking). However, I’ve unfortunately only been qualified as a certified expert in the areas of Osaka, Kyoto, Nara, Himeji and Takasago. I wasn’t interested in taking the elective of Tokyo, so I only have information for there from google, which I trust you all know how to use. However ,despite from my lack of education in all areas of Japan, I do know about the best areas of Japan, so let’s jump right into Melissa’s Guide to Cherry Blossoms.
When it comes to Japan there is no greater symbol than the giant that is Mt. Fuji. Standing at 3776 metres tall, this monolithic volcano even has its own emoji (🗻). Not even Mt. Everest can make this claim to fame. For millions of people, this is a bucket list destination and, as I bought my bucket from the same 100yen store as those other people, it’s a place I’ve also wanted to visit. Well, 2018 is the year to make my dreams a reality, or some stupid resolution like that, so I went to see this mountain for myself. Here is Melissa’s Guide to Mt. Fuji.
A cooling breeze drifts through my open window, bringing with it the scent of the fragrant Kinmokusei trees and the distant strains of repetitive drum beats. This can only mean one thing, autumn has come to the land of the rising sun. Unlike the pictured Japan, autumn does not start with brilliant coloured leaves, but instead starts with something just as interesting, and just as worth seeing, Autumn Festivals (in Japanese – Aki Matsuri). For the first few weeks of October, instead of cars driving down the street, you can see massive Yatai carried by groups of scantily clad men. On certain days, you can watch elaborate religious parades, and if you’re lucky, you can watch a Yatai fight. Thankfully, I live in an area famed for its Autumn Festivals, and I consider them to be one of the best cultural experiences Japan has to offer. Therefore, I’m obviously going to provide you with a Melissa’s Guide to Japanese Autumn Festivals*.
USJ, which is how cool people say Universal Studios Japan, pulls out all stops to celebrate Halloween in style. There’s themed food, attractions and best of all, a zombie apocalypse after dark. Although this is a simulated apocalypse, I did pick up some handy tips for the day ‘I am Legend’ will occur and we’ll all be faced with flesh eating monsters. Welcome to Melissa’s guide to surviving a Zombie Apocalypse.
A few months ago, I was invited to a dying event. The exact invitation read;
Do you have an interest in dying? Would you like to join the Takasago dying event held on the 27th of August?
Obviously, I’m always keen on a bit of death, so I said yes. And if that invitation had been correct, I’m sure this would be a very different blog post. However, lost in translation moment, the invitation was actually for a dyeing event, not a mass sacrifice. That also sounded interesting, and came with less chances of arrest, so again I said yes, and yesterday attended the event.
The event was to showcase a traditional method of fabric dyeing using indigo dye, which was either invented in Takasago or somewhere nearby. I did receive an information pamphlet and even attempted to translate it (using the cheats methods of google translate), but I couldn’t understand it. Where ever it was invented, there is a group of ladies in town who still practice this method and were obliging enough to show a group of Japanese, and the token me, how it’s done. So here is a step by step Melissa’s guide to indigo dyeing, as guided by someone who actually knows what they’re doing.
“The solo traveller’s guide to taking the perfect picture (of yourself)”.
So, you’re in Japan and everyone keeps asking, have you worn a kimono yet? Why not? You’re getting a little sick of the questioning and therefore decide to bite the bullet and find somewhere to wear a kimono. Finding somewhere turns out to be fairly easy because during your wanders in Kyoto, every second shop seemed to be a kimono rental place. However, a new problem is raised, you don’t want to be the only white girl wearing kimono, because you already get enough looks for being white without going for the whole “Memoires of a Geisha” vibe. When your friend comes to visit from Australia, you therefore tell her we’re going to wear Kimono together, because it’s something everyone does in Japan.
Does this sound like a familiar problem to you? Well, probably not because you’re likely reading this because you think Japan is cool or because I titled this something really awesome and it piqued your interest but then you realised I click-baited you (I didn’t mean to, I swear). Or maybe you’re more like my friend, where you were interested in wearing a kimono but don’t know how to go about it without local help. Well you’re in luck, because this is:
Melissa’s super helpful guide to hiring (and wearing) a kimono in Japan.
Hi everyone and welcome to the newest section on my blog, Travel! This section has been created because I am moving to Japan on the 21st of September, 2016. This move has happened really suddenly but I wanted to share some hints and tips on how to live and travel overseas (you know, once I’ve actually experienced it myself).
The first post I have for you is how to save yourself some money by taking and printing your own passport/visa/identification photos. You’ll need a lot of these pictures if you’re planning on moving overseas, so any money saved here can go directly back into your travel plans.
Keep reading below for how I created these DIY passport/Visa photos.