JUST JOSHIN WITH YA DUDES! HAPPY APRIL FOOLS 9 DAYS LATE!! (think of this as a belated hoax that isn't funny at all). The photos above were actually taken at a bookstore in Sydney's CBD called Kinokuniya, which I am a massive fan of. Due to the fact that it's Japanese owned, there are sections dedicated to all things Japanese. You literally feel like you're in a department store in Japan, minus all the over-enthusiastic salesgirls in Japan that scream at you to come buy their clothes (irashaimaseeeee, irashaimaseeeee), and the fact that on the other side of the store, it just seems like a regular Angus and Robertson. At Kino, they sell stuff ranging from Japanese fashion magazines [which are seriously the bomb], to manga, to really cool gadgety stationary, and books about Japanese craft and knitting, with happy, well dressed cute Japanese babies on the front of them (cue the awwwwwssss). Looking at the glossy magazines and flipping through them, you can't help but love the vibrancy and super modern vibe of Japanese pop culture.
I must admit that every time I step into Kino, I end up feeling a little nostalgic. Memories from my experience being an exchange student in Nagoya back when I was in Year Ten, and the not so recent high school graduation trip with my friends at the end of 2011 totally come flowin' back to me. During that graduation trip we travelled all around the country via bullet train--and I swear on behalf of my love for FroYo, that I have never had to leg it so quickly from platform to platform lugging a massive oversized suitcase--stopping and staying in major cities such as Tokyo, Hiroshima and Kyoto. We also stayed overnight in a traditional Japanese inn, in a tiny town/UNESCO world heritage site called Shirakawa-go.
(PS: Note to anyone who wants to go to Shirakawa-go, it's an absolutely stunning site, but it takes you endless hours to get there. I can't even remember how many times we changed busses and trains, it's just all a massive blur to be honest.)
(PPS: Also, if you stay in an inn that provides meals, don't be ashamed to eat the whole thing. Yes, it is massive, but the shame and endless teasing resulting from eating the whole meal is totally worth the tastiness of it all.)
Travelling between the main cities and small towns, you can never escape Japan's rich culture. On one hand, you have the cities that are filled with vibrant neon lights and billboards, masses of people and insurmountable amounts of Purikura stores (Japanese sticker photos.) In complete contrast, Japan is filled with beautiful temples, shrines and towns that are filled with great historical tales. I just wrote this post, because flipping through my photos from my trips (totally not done whilst