Our trip this time was to China and Japan in Asia. It was a very educational experience, with lots of thrills and adventures as well. The first stop was in Hong Kong, China. This city is quite mountainous and green. The weather was very humid, I believe even a tropical in nature. I was surprised to see so many Americans and English-speaking people here. That was a pleasant surprise, to say the least. We visited a giant shopping mall with plenty American stores and products. It was very clean and filled with tourists seemingly from all around the world. We also took a tour which involved us going up a steep mountain (in a bus) and seeing the incredible views of the city from up above. One of the highlights of this city was visiting Jumbo Kingdom floating restaurant. This restaurant had many beautiful lights and an elegant atmosphere. The next stop in China was Guilin. This gorgeous city has amazing water-ways, rivers, and green cliffs in a misty and humid setting. It definitely was not as modernized as previous places we had seen. We learned a few Mandarin words and customs here. We also went on a beautiful tour that involved us being on a boat and witnessing all the splendor of Guilin’s nature. There were remarkable cliffs surrounding the river as well as buffalo and endearing sea birds. The next city we visited was Xian, China. This wonderful city made me have the impression I was visiting a whole new planet filled with exotic destinations and adventurous getaways. We saw the magnificent Terracotta soldiers, which date back over 2,000 years. The attention to detail is splendid in these soldiers. We also visited an enigmatic excavation site with holes in the ground and with some archaeology equipment scattered around. I knew I was on an adventure. We went on to tour some jade shops that also had pretty jewelry and vases. The next city in China we went to was Beijing. There were plenty of tall buildings here. We went on a tour that took us to the amazing Great Wall of China. Lots of tourists were there in addition to us. We also made sure to visit Tiananmen Square, eat at some nice restaurants, and see some amazing ancient temples dedicated to the Chinese gods of yore.
Our next stop was Tokyo, Japan. This is definitely one of my favorite places I have been to. I was in awe at the bustling city-life all around us. The streets were crowded with both tourists and natives of the amazing city. The buildings are tall and modernized. There are many neon lights and signs flashing throughout the city. I noticed that some people walking through the streets were dressed in gothic fashion. Tokyo definitely seems to be setting some major trends in technology, fashion, and culture in general. One of the main highlights of our visit was going to Mount Fuji. I have always been so interested in this beautiful mountain, and wondered what it was like to actually be there. It is absolutely incredible. It’s even more beautiful in person. There are wonderful cherry blossoms all around, and the very top of the mountain is still covered in snow. The weather was pleasant when we were there, and there was even a slight mist surrounding some of the mountain. We visited a shop that was there, where I got a Mount Fuji hoodie. Another great place we visited in Japan was Nara Park. Here, there were so many beautiful deer. They were graceful and so very peaceful. I even pet one and it was so wonderful. The entire park has an aura of peace and sacredness. We visited Kasuga Shrine, which is a Shinto shrine. It was really pretty and surrounded by flowering, green plants. There were plenty tall trees all throughout the park as well. We visited Todai-ji, which houses a giant Buddha statue. I would say it’s over four stories tall. We also went on a boat close to the park, which was fun. Another attraction we visited in Japan was the bullet train. We boarded several in order to get from some destinations to others, and they are extremely fast. I actually believe this is the fastest train I’ve ever been on. Also in Tokyo, we went on a tour aboard a boat on the Sumida River. The tour guide was very funny, and called himself “Sugar”. While on the river, he discussed the importance of many facets of Japanese culture, including anime. This practice of animation stems from mythological and ancient roots, and has evolved into a worldwide phenomenon. One of our final visits in Japan was the Hiroshima Memorial, which commemorates the important, albeit tragic, history of Hiroshima.