Welcome To Japan, Gaikokujin (Part 1)
The Land of the Rising Sun was calling me, and I answered. Finally.
A long-time travel dream had finally turned into a reality – and in my case, that dream place was literally on the other side of the planet. So many places to go, so many things to do – so why Japan?
One thing about me is that I’m fortunate to know exactly what I want to do in life. And I wanted to go to Japan – immensely. Quite simply, it all started by being enthralled with cartoons as a youth: in the early 80’s, there was a cartoon named Robotech (Macross), among the cadre of other 80’s morning cartoon classics. I watched them a ton, and loved them as much. However, then the credits would roll, I was usually taken aback, left scratching my head. Tatsuo Mazahaski… Ryu Matsuzaka… Yori Suzuki (all fiction names by the way)… What kind of names are those? Where are they from? Well, many years and many animes later… I was there.
After so many years here in the good ol’ USA- and not particularly impressed by American art either (sorry), my aspirations of going to places I’ve only fondly read about just grew and grew until it began to drive me a bit crazy. Reading about it wasn’t enough anymore, I needed to have my proverbial boots on the ground. As such, the trip was planned, and tickets purchased. I decided to start my journey in west Japan since Osaka and Kyoto are so close geographically, and Tokyo would thus be my end point. And off I was. It was meant to be. Standing at the gates of Dotonbori, I felt a sense of accomplishment, awe, curiosity, and a huge weight off of my shoulders.
As a creative, curious human, I am continuously fascinated by the variation in looks, language, architecture, histories and culture of mankind. Japan, in my humble opinion, is arguably the most extreme contrast to what we call American culture (or lack thereof). As such, it is an infinitely interesting culture to myself and many others. For me, the beauty of people & places is that it’s all about the differences.
After arriving at Namba hub station, I took my cab two blocks (literally) over to Smile hotel. I had a friend in town. She worked in the touristy area known as Dotonbori, about 6 blocks north of where I was staying. PERFECT. So at 11pm I dropped my bags, swapped my gear, and headed out into the new unknown with google maps to meet my friend. And the rest is… next! Welcome to Japan, Gaikokujin がいこくじん (Foreigner).
Thanks for reading, look out for part two. Enjoy some more photos. All images are ©Edo Photography. Please do not reproduce in any manner. All images are available for licensing, feel free to inquire.