After the 13 hour flight, I was ready to get off the plane. In addition to the long plane ride, I did not understand anyone. I was so scared that I was going to get lost since we had to go through customs in an unknown country, Japan. I was full of jitters after sitting and being unable to move since I was surrounded by my mom and brothers, envious of my dad and grandma, who were relaxing in first class. Walking from the airport to my great-grandmother’s house was a life experience. Many people in Japan had never seen a blonde hair blue eyed girl before and stopped to look at me. The house that we stayed at was going to be torn down in the next few months and my parents wanted my brothers and I to experience living in an “old-style” Japanese home.
We arrived at the house we were going to stay at which was near Tokyo, one of the major cities of Japan later than anticipated. I was expecting that I was going to be exhausted from all the traveling, but I was wide awake. When it was time to go to bed, no one was able to sleep, except Yaeko, my grandma’s sister who lived in Japan. Even with the lack of sleep, everyone got up early to walk to Tsukiji, the largest fish market in the world. We spent almost the entire morning in the market looking through all the different types of fish. There were huge tunas all the way to tiny fish, but you are surrounded but fish and all different types of seafood. The workers at Tsukiji handle about 2,000 tons of 400 different types of seafood every day. I watched men fillet freshly caught eel, which was a new experience for me and my whole family.
The next day, we walked to a local supermarket to buy some food. We bought these amazing rice cakes, rice crackers, and souvenirs. After stopping at the little market, we watched a man make tofu and we were able to try a little that he already made that morning, delicious. Later that day, we went to visit the zoo. My brothers were so excited since they are very interested in animals and know all the facts. When we went, there was a huge group of school kids there and I was hard to see into all the exhibits, but what my favorite animal was the Red Panda. Although it was just sitting in a corner eating bamboo, it was a very unique animal.
The days that we were in Japan, we mostly walked around the town and visited small, antique shops. We visited the Ginza, where we would look through all the different, old buildings with the pagoda-styled roofs. Yaeko owns her own shop where she makes dog leashes and small replicas of whatever you want her to make out of yarn. While we walked around, I would hand out American money such as pennies and nickels to some people as gifts or omiyages, which is Japanese for gifts. I had an amazing time in Japan and still remember like it happened yesterday with the smells, sights, landscaping, and people that tied everything together.
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