Saturday, July 12, 2008

A Traveler's Journey

(Winner of the Middle School Group, Teen Essay Contest 2008)

by Anna Skovajsa

Imagine, being able to travel to many places on a hot summer’s day or cold winter’s day. Instead of just being at home playing video games, or watching television, imagine yourself traveling to far away, exotic places that can be both pleasant and horrific for you. A traveler has to both give up their time to go travel to these places, and may carry so little things with them, or lots of things. Travelers are very lucky to go traveling and meet new friends, or even just to taste delicious foods they never had before. They can have it very tough, although it may be very exciting.

I have traveled to Japan, the country where my mother is from, and it is very beautiful there. They have good food, cool monuments, and even wonderful places to shop all you want! Traveling is very exciting, and very fun but is very tiring since in order to go to Japan, it takes about ten hours to get there. After a while, you get used to the long flight, but the first time I went there, I could not stand it and wanted to get off the plane. Excluding the plane flight, when you get there, you land at: Tokyo, Osaka, etc, you can go shopping after a long plane flight, and get something yummy to snack on as well.

Japan has a lot of history behind it, and has monuments that are over 100 years old! Like other Asian countries, Japan contains primarily a Buddhist religion, and a little bit of Christianity. Japan also has temples, that have Buddha in them, and there is this one temple in Kyoto that is famous for touching Buddha’s belly to grant you a wish if you are being good. Green tea, a famous tea in Japan, is very healthy for you, and originally comes from Shizuoka. Kyoto is famous for a lot of good green tea, and as well as sweets that go well with the tea. Not only does the tea in Japan sparkle, but the entertainment is so towering, it can blow you away starting from Rakugo, a Japanese comedy. Kabuki is a theatre performance, and people participating in this event, wears heavy white makeup with red makeup all over their faces. The costumes of kabuki are very elaborate and sometimes can show emotions like anger, sadness, or happiness.

Now, to the shopping or mall experience, you need to have myriad amounts of money on you, or you will miss out on things. Everything in Japan is so cool, that you will want to buy it; you will spend your money on things that you may not even use, but think it’s so cool, so you buy it. For example, there is everything “smelly” there, like a smelly pen, a smelly eraser, markers, and pencils, high lighters, led for led pencils, staples, and things you can’t even imagine. The clothes there are funky, and groovy, and not so much like American outfits, but is very cool. Nail salons usually have long lines outside of them since a lot of the nail salons hold fake nails that every Japanese female would want since it is the “in” thing in Japan, currently, Anime, or manga stores sell many comic books, and is really popular in Japan; likes in America, manga and anime is very popular, that they sell out as fast as Japan does these days. The shopping is pretty tiring after a while, but it’s worth it because you can get many things that you have never seen before.

When you’re too tired to go shopping, and look at things on sale, why not just relax at the restaurants, or cafés? Again, the restaurants and café’s are excellent, but are pretty expensive. There are things like cola floats, melon floats, gigantic parfaits, cream puffs, gelatin that can refresh you on a hot summer day in Japan. Sushi is really good, but don’t just look at the sushi course, but you should try the “donburi” course. A donburi is basically a rice bowl with numerous amounts of toppings, likes eggs, chicken, fish, etc. There are many restaurants that do special things on your birthday, graduation, and many other events and even special things like eating near the window from the 13th floor, and enjoying the magnificent view. There are many famous restaurants that have “all you can eat buffets” that are kind of different than other country’s buffets because in Japan, there are lots of them that you can make your own ice cream, or sweets, or eat all for a very low price like $5! Make sure to stop by at the little booths at the cellar of Japanese malls since there are booths filled with food that have free samples for everything they sell. Don’t get too carried away, or the power of food will swoop you away into being full.

When you are pretty tired from all the hard shopping, and easing, or traveling alone, there is always wonderful hotels, and resorts to stay in. The spas in Japan can put you to an ease from a long day. The hotels are gorgeous, and room service can be enjoyable. Some hotels even have a special thing to them like having a raffle to people who stay in the hotel the longest, and many more.

When you know you loved Japan so much, and don’t want to leave, you know that you have to leave; you can store memories from there. Whichever season you plan to go there, each season is very wonderful. Traveling is really fun, and can be tiring, but it’s worth it, and instead of just staying home and not wanting to do anything but watch TV, traveling can be very educational at some point, and can put smiles to the faces of each family member. Talking about traveling makes me want to go somewhere even more! Sayonara, a Japanese word that means goodbye, I say to you, and hopefully you can enjoy the fantastic experience I enjoyed; all you need to do to travel is to get a suitcase, and some family members to enjoy it with or alone, along with a traveling ticket, and a great attitude!

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