The place I’ve been wanting to visit since forever is Japan primarily because of my fondness for anime. It was while I was in college when I became an otaku (Someone obsessed with something, primarily with anime or video games.). I attended alternative classes with anime as topic. I memorized lyrics of certain anime songs. I would get my hackles up whenever cartoons on TV would be branded as anime when they are not. I would set aside a part of my baon for anime merchandise. I would troop to Kamias Road in QC to a place which rented out anime VHS. I have yet to join an anime cosplay but have been to several as a spectator. I have triedgetting an interview with Filipino anime dubbers for a term paper. Didn’t know what happened to my letter of intent.
From anime, I found myself liking other things Japanese. My sister and I thought it would be cool to understand a couple of Japanese words. Sitting on a bookshelf in my sister’s room are two dictionaries: a Japanese-English and a Japanese-English English-Japanese. I have purchased one in college. At that time, I would coax my classmate who was taking Japanese language electives to teach me how to write in katakana, hiragana and kanji (Japanese systems of writing). My sister got the other one when she herself took Japanese language electives in college.
My sister and I like sushi and sashimi very much that we have named some of our cats after sushi and sashimi ingredients and types: Maki, Ebi, Unagi, Kani, Tuna and Salmon. My sister’s pals at one time dubbed her sushi.
Japanese stuff have been accumulating in my room. Moreso now that we have that Saizen here. Vying for space are pouches and keychains which are supposedly made from kimono fabrics, neko statues, bento boxes, stoneware and koi flags. Of these, the pair of geta I purchased from a Japanese store in Singapore’s my prized score.
Over the years, we have also been getting pasalubongs from a generous distant aunt (my mom’s cousin) who works there. From green tea to condiments (she explains what they are for since we don’t understand the labels) to instant noodle packs to Hello Kitty stuff . I’m not very much into Hello Kitty (Sorry Kitten!) since there are already lots of people who would adopt her if ever she ends up in an animal shelter.
A trip to Japan is really long due. While practically a teenager, I wanted to go so I could get my hands on authentic anime merchandise and manga (Japanese comic book) since years ago there weren’t enough of these in Manila. The reason gradually evolved in the years that followed. I want to see Tokyo and Mount Fuji. I want to soak in hot springs. I want Japanese meals in bento boxes. I want to visit a Japanese shrine and a real Japanese garden. I want photos and souvenirs. I want to experience Japanese culture which I have only gotten a glimpse of through anime.
A friend already expressed that she’d been wanting to go there herself so company would not be a problem. I’m sure too that my sister would be tagging along. I’ve also learned that a certain budget airline we usually take flies to Osaka and thus the airfare’s damage to the wallet would not be to big. So Japan, will I finally meet you this 2011?
February 2 update: My aunt went home and spent her Christmas here in the Philippines. She had dropped by our house whilst I was elsewhere. She told mom that she’d be happy to send us invitation letters for our trip. Oh, and the giveaway winners have been announced here.