Oh, Japan!

That impossible place, we made it possible.

I still don't really know how but things fell into place in a very magical way. I usually, partly joking, and partly seriously, would tell Artur, "when we go to Japan..." and he'd respond very seriously: "you're crazy, Japan is so expensive." That was until one day, while we were in Vietnam, a country we fell in love with, he said: "there's a very cheap ticket to Japan", and you'd never imagine the look on my face, and my shout of happiness either. Coming from Argentina, Asia is just so far away and that makes the trip there so expensive, so being closer geographically made it more affordable, and we couldn't let that opportunity slip away. We purchased our tickets and prayed that while being there we would not have to spend every penny we had.

As you see, this is a trip that we plan on the go, we don't plan on our destinations ahead of time, sometimes we don't know where we'll go until the day before we set out on a new trip, and doing things this way sometimes feels crazy, but most of the times it has these kinds of advantages such as leaving a place and set out to travel to the place we've always been dreaming of.

Is Japan expensive? yes, but it isn't impossible to visit for that reason if you're willing to eat out at the "Family Mart" food chain day after day, and gain a few pounds. The truth is that we survived on junk food during our whole stay in Japan, although we did have the luxury of eating out at a one star Ramen restaurant for very little money.

We rented out very tiny apartments through Airbnb, which was a real saver! The rents were more expensive than what we were used to paying, but it wasn't something unaffordable either. We always made sure that the rentals had a kitchen, this is something very important when traveling with kids, it proved to be important to us because by the evening time our kids only wanted to be home to unwind and play.

Girls from an excursion school.

Girls from an excursion school.

The joy I felt while in Japan is hard to describe, it's one of those places that I had always heard about, so when I got to be there... what I felt can't be put into words, because everything is so different from what we're used to. Everything seems to work perfectly, but in a perfectly amusing way. There's no litter, people seem to do what they're supposed to do, It was the place in the world where we felt most safe. People leave their bikes unattended and with no locks anywhere and nobody takes them. Children as young as 6 years old go to school on their own!, could you picture yourselves telling your kid: "bye peanut, have a good subway commute to get to school", not me, not even close. Well, in Japan you see them walking around the city, on the subways, on their own, such munchkins!

A girl returning from school to her home, by subway, alone.

A girl returning from school to her home, by subway, alone.

Their subway system is amazing, it can take you anywhere, and you could spend hours on end traveling underground. And, that's when I saw them for the first time, The Geishas, yes, they deserve to be highlighted and mentioned in bold letters. I had not seen them while in Osaka, which was our first destination while in Japan. When we were in Kyoto, the second city we visited, the rain would not let up for days, and while I was about to 'google' "where can I see geishas in Japan," and I swear that was my thought at the time, and all of a sudden I saw them, a him and a her, and I know there must be a different name for each, but of course you must realize that there wasn't a precise guide to find this information because really, I'm one of those people that learns more through exploration and by experiencing things, than by researching about them. I saw them, for the first time, it was a couple, and my smile was that of a child who visits Disneyland for the first time. Of course, I asked them if I could snap a quick picture, and as soon as we stepped outside the subway station the place was full of Geishas, all dressed up, as if they had been there waiting for me, they looked perfectly dressed as if they were souvenirs, I asked all of them if I could take pictures, and those were our days in Japan, seeing Geishas everywhere, I love them, I really do. It was raining cats and dogs, and still, there they were, delightfully dressed in their Geisha dresses, their toes separated to fit into those traditional shoes, their hair-dos adorned with flowers, immaculate, so traditional and so so beautiful.

Fushimi Inari Taisha, a must.

Fushimi Inari Taisha, a must.

Let me not bore you by telling you more about them, and let me go on to tell you that after visiting Kyoto we headed to Tokyo, wow, yes Tokyo, overwhelming, marvelous, extravagant, traditional, modern, there's something for every taste. During our stay in Japan, we didn't stop, and that was my entirely my fault because I didn't want to miss a thing of the place I loved so. Still, we had so much left to see, so many places to go to, so we'll have to go back. We visited museums, temples, castles, we walked through streets, we walked and walked, we rode the subway, we loved Japan and we were exhausted by it, but we really want to return.

Camila Lavori