After months and months of saving and planning, in just under two weeks time I’ll finally get to tick “Travel to Japan” off my bucket list. It’s somewhere I’ve always wanted to go. From a very young age, I developed an interest in Japanese culture without even realising.

It all started when I got a SNES for Christmas, back in the early 90’s. I was brought up on Nintendo – Super Mario Bros. being my introduction to Video Games. My collection included classics such as – The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, Street Fighter II, Star Fox, Donkey Kong Country and much more. These games were my bread and butter and I sunk countless hours into them as a child. Through my friends, I got introduced to Pokemon, which was a complete phenomenon through the 90’s.

I have vivid memories of how it literally swept the nation and the world for that matter. It was incredible. Everyone was collecting and trading Pokemon cards, watching the TV show or playing the games. I used to watch Pokemon every Saturday morning and weekday nights along with Dragonball/Dragonball Z. I picked up a Gameboy with Tetris, which I still have to this day. I remember the day I got Pokemon Yellow, I went into town with my Mother and little brother. We bought it from a now discontinued gaming store. I came home and spent the rest of the day playing it until the batteries in my Gameboy died. Such great memories.

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Nintendo and PlayStation are my go to platforms when it comes to gaming.

As I got a little older I transitioned to PlayStation, although I still held a strong love for Nintendo. Video Games began to get a little more mature and I began to realise that games weren’t just a pastime for young children. Metal Gear Solid was the game that brought me to that realisation. The story gripped you, the character arcs were incredible and it felt like more than just a game. Final Fantasy VII evoked the same emotions. It was my first introduction to a deep story-driven JRPG, and I absolutely adored it.

You may begin to see a pattern starting to emerge – all of these Video Games, TV shows and various popular culture originate from Japan. This was something I wasn’t aware of at a younger age. The same pattern continued throughout the PS2 era and around the dawn of the PS3. I started to become aware of just how much of an influence Japanese gaming had on me. If it wasn’t for all of these games, I may have never been into gaming as much as I am now. I never knew that I was a fan of Anime, or that I even used to watch it and as I became aware of it I began to watch more of it. The older I got the more I developed a love for Japan, along with its history and culture. It soon became the country I wanted to visit most but it always seemed like a pipe dream. A few year ago my girlfriend and I conceived the idea of visiting Japan through the form a guided tour, but the price just seemed inaccessible and my dream of visiting Japan seemed to wither.

Luckily things changed, we decided to scrap the idea of paying for a guided tour and plan things ourselves. Finally, the dream of the Video Gamer pilgrimage to Akihabara was alive and well. Apart from the usual tourist destinations, Geek culture wise, I plan to visit the Pokemon Centre(s), Animate – The 8-floor Flagship store for everything Anime and Manga related, Nanako Broadway and many others. I’m open to any other recommendations as to where to visit if there are any readers who have visited Japan before or have heard of anywhere that’s recommended?

I’ll be documenting my trip through photography, blog posts and youtube videos. All of which will be done when I get home. Although I will be live updating on Twitter and Instagram while I’m there, if you’d like to follow those feeds. I have a lot of content planned with this trip in mind, I know I have a large number of followers who share this interest of mine so I hope you guys look forward to what will be coming to WhatRhinoSaid over the next few month.

/ CR

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32 thoughts on “I’m going to Japan!

    1. It’s definitely worth it. Mt first blog post about the trip will be going up today with many more to come after it. I used many different sites – http://www.japan-guide.com/ – great for planning what sites to see, also Tripadvisor – mainly to find out what was worth seeing and what was worth missing, I used Google Maps to make sure everything was in walking distance of each other or at least had good public transport. Youtube is a great resource too, typing in a place you want to go or even typing in “Tips for travelling to japan” brought up a ton of great resources. I’ve been putting up pictures of my trip on Instagram, if you’d like to follow me to see more https://www.instagram.com/whatrhinosaid/ Hope this helps!

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Oh wow, that’s an awesome trip You’ve got planned. I know what you mean about getting to appreciate the culture through video games. Years before I wouldn’t even have looked twice at games that even had manga-like graphics, and now I love ‘m!
    Have fun and enjoy every minute of it!

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  2. Your blog is awesome thanks for liking mine it’s a work in progress 🙂 are there any tips to remember while traveling I have everything covered I think but it’s my first time over to Japan and I think I am going to go complete fan girl :p

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    1. Thank you! 🙂 It’s my first time in Japan too! I plan to take a couple of journals and write down my experiences everyday so I can remember everything, I’m also taking my DSLR Camera to capture the moments. I just want to soak up as much as possible. I can’t wait!

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      1. My countdown has already begun and I have close to only a week left before I depart for Japan I want to write as much as possible while over there I’m super excited 🙂 I was pretty upset when I read that the studio ghibli museum was closed did you manage to find out where there store was by any chance??

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      1. You know, I think apart from going to the classic destinations (such as Shibuya, Asakusa, Roppongi…), which you should- I’ve realized that what seems to be working well for me is to look for the narrowest alleys, they always have the best food and drinks. These places are often tiny, with capacity for about 5 ppl. This for me is the most Japanese experience.

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  3. Hey! I saw that you came to check our site!

    So we came to see what you’re all about. SaechaoCirculation hopes you will have a safe and enjoyable trip to Japan, Rhino!

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  4. Wow so excited for you!!! I still remember the first time that I landed in Japan, after years of wanting to go. It was magical! I hope that you have an amazing time. I would absolutely recommend eating at “Ootoya.” I think of it like Japan’s version of Panera. I know that might sound like a weird recommendation. But I think it can be fun to experience everyday eats in Japan. The food is yummy and well priced. Plus, it is a great place to eat by yourself, often there is counter seating for solo diners. Have fun! Looking forward to hearing your adventures, Jessy

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    1. Thanks Jessy! I hope I have a similar experience when I touch down in Tokyo. I’ll definitely add that to my list. Is it a common restaurant or just a one off place? Thanks! I’ll hopefully be able to get a lot of footage and content which will be going up on the blog!

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      1. Ootoya is a national chain in Japan. There are a bunch in Tokyo! Here is a Google Map search for Ootoya branch locations in the Tokyo area- http://bit.ly/1VVDKWu. In particular, there are a couple near Ikebukuro Station on the Yamanote Line (quite a big station, and a major train line in Tokyo). I went to one of those locations. Enjoy! I am looking forward to all your future content! Jessy

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      2. That’s great, I’ll be adding it to my Tripomatic account and visit one while I’m there. I’ll let you know how it works out! Thank you, there will be a lot to come once I’m back in June! 🙂 if you would like to follow me on Twitter and Instagram @WhatRhinoSaid then I’ll be posting live updates from there! 🙂

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  5. I’m so excited for you to be living out this dream! Japan is indeed awesome and has become a mecca of sorts for anime and game fans. You have some good destinations set. If I may offer some suggestions, the Ghibli Museum is a very fun look at the history of the studio’s creations. It has some life-sized recreations of characters from its movies too! There’s at least one Shonen Jump theme park that’s probably worth looking at. If you like One Piece, there’s tons of related theme parks, shows, restaurants, and even something within Tokyo Tower. Depending on when you visit, there is sometimes life-size giant robot like the giant Gundam that I was able to see when I visited. You probably have a lot of other destinations lined up already, so consider these additional suggestions. Either way, have an awesome and safe trip! I look forward to seeing more from your trip!

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    1. Thanks, Mr. Panda. Indeed it is. I can’t wait. It feels surreal in a way. Somewhere I’ve wanted to go all my life and it’s only a number of days away. Can you believe it, The Studio Ghibli Museum was top of my list, but it literally closes the day we arrive for Periodic Maintenance up until June 😦 I was gutted. I’ve heard there’s an official Studio Ghibli store somewhere near Asakusa though, so I’ll hopefully visit there. I was gutted. The visit to the Gundam is on my list, although I’m a little disappointed about where he’s placed. I know he’s been moved round over the last few years. He used to be in a prime spot for photos, with a cityscape as his backdrop. Now he’s in front of a big building. I’ll more than likely pay him a visit though.

      Thanks for your suggestions though, I’m open to any. I’m in Tokyo for 4 days, Kyoto for 4, Osaka for 1 and then a few other places such as Nara and Koyasan for the last few days. Great to hear you’ve been before and loved it. I hope I enjoy it too. I want to get as much content as possible for WhatRhinoSaid. Thanks for the comment!

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      1. I was searching for Naruto Manga 🙂 Just keep writing all the time. Make sure your posts are something you would want to read. Think quality over quantity and stick at it. That’s the best I can give 🙂

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