So this year, I was lucky enough to travel to both Japan and Russia, and was even luckier to travel with my family during this time. I thought I’d share some insights, fun things/things you can do, and things that I’d learned whilst on this trip. Hope you like the new format!
- The World Cup. One of the highlights of travelling to Russia was visiting it during the World Cup! Not only did I get to catch up with family and friends, but I also got to watch the soccer craziness unfold. As I live right next to one of the fan zones, when Russia won against Spain, I got to see everyone walking back from the fan zone cheering. It was one of the most surreal things I’ve ever experienced, and in my home country nonetheless. People were waiving huge flags around, cheering, and even leaning out of car windows to share the pride they have for their country with the world. If you ever have the chance to watch the next World Cup or any famous sporting event like the Olympics in your home country, don’t miss the chance to do it. It feels so different to watching it somewhere else.
- The food. Both Japan and Russia have amazing food. In Russia, I got to eat all the food I so desperately missed eating whilst studying in Australia, and in Japan, I got to try some new things. Some of my favourites included: the countless salads my grandmother made for me, some traditional and some plain; an onion pie made by my family friends we got to visit; a sweet, patty-like panfried dessert we call ‘сырники’ which is made from cottage cheese (sounds gross, but trust me, it’s delicious); a creme-brulee dessert I tried in Japan in one of the many small diners; the gyoza I had next to the metro station that we were staying near; and probably many other foods that I missed and can’t think of right now. ;P
- Visiting friends. In Russia, I still have some family friends that I visit nearly every time I go back. And this time, we were lucky enough to have a big “family” gathering with some of our oldest family friends. I got to catch up with people I haven’t seen in a year, and in some cases, for many years, and I am so incredibly greatful I got to share so many fun moments with them. I also visited some of my friends from school that I still keep in touch with from time to time (time zones make it difficult to stay in constant contact). And I am still so happy that I can rely on them and talk to them as if I’ve never left.
- Sightseeing. In Russia, some of the highlights were going to the Banksy exhibition, and exploring a nearby city with my grandparents and getting to experience their fan zone. In Japan, as we only stayed in Tokyo for about a week, we explored the parts there. Some of the things we saw were the Odaibo island (which has the Toyota museum, the giant Gundam statue, a huge shopping mall, and a new art museum that we got to see), the Shibuya crossing, Ueno zoo, a shrine near the Shinjuku station that my mum and I went to for an unplanned late-night adventure, and the Harajuku hedgehog cafe.
What I learned
- Don’t be afraid to change plans to suit other people’s needs more. There were a couple of times where the things we planned were getting a little too much for some. So some plans were changed around – and it wasn’t a bad experience! It’s more fun when you know everyone else around you is having fun as well. 🙂
- That being said, plan as many things as you can when going to see a new country. You don’t want to spend the entire time couped up in a hotel. So plan lots of things to do, with room for some change.
- If you have friends overseas, make sure to catch up with them (if you can). This is especially good if you don’t get a chance to see them very often. I’m sure they’ll appreciate it just as much as you do.
- Take lots of photos! Pretty self-explanatory, but don’t forget to take as many as you can. I’m sure it’ll be nice for you to reminisce on the experiences you’ve had 5 odd years down the track. 🙂
- But that being said, make sure to put technology away for a while to enjoy time with your family. This is especially relevant if you don’t get to see them all the time.
- Also work in some “me time” into the mix. You don’t want to be having a holiday on a tight schedule – have some time to yourself to read a book, play a game, binge a show – whatever.
And that’s about it! Until next time. 🙂
– RageCatBlogs =^.^=