Yeah so the story goes I went to Japan with a good friend of mine and wrote us a bucket list to make sure we did some crazy/fun stuff outside the normal temple sightseeing and sushi-eating.
We also went to South Korea but that bucket list went out the window, mainly due to alcohol and drinking games.. Every night. Our bad.
So here you go folks, I hope by reading this it will encourage you to make bucket lists for your holidays 🙂 and if you’re thinking about going to Japan, I highly recommend it. Its basically a country that is batshit crazy and proud of it, its definitely my kind of place hahaha!
BUCKET LIST FOR JAPAN
1. Dress up at an Anime Festival √ technically this is only half done as we didn’t dress up, but we did stumble upon one which had spilled out into the streets in Osaka. Wow. Suddenly all the costumes I’ve ever worn look like dirty old potato sacks compared to the Japanese costumes.
2. Stay in a Capsule Hotel √ we stayed in 3 different ones, two of which were wooden ones (have a bit of a coffin vibe, but are huge and awesome) and one was more of a futuristic ovens-in-wall type setup, but once again huge, with TVs and power plugs in there). Next bucket list will have ‘sex in capsule’ on it, because its totally doable.
3. See Cherry Blossoms flowering √ unfortunately we didn’t see any big gardens with cherry blossoms in flower but we did see the odd tree here and there and right as we were leaving, we saw a tree-lined street all flowering 🙂 beeeeautiful!
4. Meet a Geisha √ ok it wasn’t a ‘real’ one out in the wild, it was one at a Japanese Movie town (where they film a lot of their movies). But who cares, we still saw one all kitted up. I asked if it was hard to walk in her wooden shoes, she just giggled. Classic Japan.
5. Pat a cat in a ‘cat café’ √ holy crap, Japan is wacky. You can go to cat cafés and pay for an hour to sit around patting cats. I ended up going to two because the first one in Tokyo was huge, had like 50 cats, served beers and I was already drunk when I got there and thought it was hilarious. However the second one in Osaka was small, had like 20 cats and only served juice in Thermos flasks (?!).
6. Take a soak in an Onsen aka Hot springs × new tattoos (see 11) and water infested with naked people germs (and probably pubes) are not a good mix. And mixed ones aren’t very common in cities (I was travelling with a guy friend). I found a pretty nice looking natural hot spring up at the snow but it required a bus to get to, and that bus route was closed for winter (wtf?!)
7. Follow a day of snowboarding/skiing with a beer in a hot tub √ I didn’t have beer IN the hot tub, but I had a bunch of beers then lesbian sex in a hot tub. Let’s not split hairs people, I think that’s worthy of a tick. Oh yeah and she was the only other non-asian girl on the pub crawl (and also tall, blonde and great tits) so being up against a group of drunk guys frothing at the mouth should probably grant me an extra tick? 🙂
8. Drink a wasabi beer × I honestly couldn’t find any! There’s a wasabi farm but it was a massive effort to get to, we were in a hurry, very hungover and my butt hurt (girl from said hot tub was very enthusiastic to say the least..). I did however have a green beer for St Pats Day which was delicious.
9. Eat Fugu (pufferfish) √ and survived bitches! Westerners make it a big deal but apparently its pretty common over there; business men like to take clients put for fugu because its a more expensive meal. FYI it was only $30 Australian which is the same cost as a good cut of steak at the pub. They even had a tank full of them out the front of the restaurant, like fancy restaurants with lobster. Kickin it with the rich guys (while being a poor backpacker) and feeling close to death was pretty legendary.
10. Have a ninja/samurai/kendo/ lesson √ did a samurai lesson in Kyoto where they actually dress you up as samurais and teach you sword moves. And you get two toed socks! One highlight is making swoosh noises with your swords, but alas, in battle I’d be killed in 3 seconds. Or less. I’m hoping my prancing around in two toed socks would be a distraction and/or encourage pity.
11. Get a pokemon tattoo √ yeyyaaahhh we got matching pokeball tattoos! Tattoos are actually really expensive over there so although we wanted bigger detailed pokemon, we had to settle for small ones (which were still $100!)
12. Spot an awesome Engrish sign, the more inappropriate the better √ highlights include signage for towns called ‘Fukuoka’, ‘Takeshita’, food options like ‘pain’ and ‘hot bums’, but honestly the funniest thing I found was the first time someone actually said ‘engrish’ and to me. Call me ignorant but I thought it was just used as a joke to describe their English spelling mistakes. ‘Are you from engrand?’ Ahhhh so good!!
13. See a proper Japanese Garden √ all the temples we went to had amazing gardens, as did the traditional house we stayed at in Kyoto. Being a gardener as my day job I walked around with a metaphoric boner. Yesss indeedy, the Japanese are very into their gardens.
14. Tell a japanese person to ‘stop killing whales’ √ we made some Japanese friends and showed them the list, when they got to this one we said “yeeeeeeah you should really stop killing whales. Its pretty fucked.” They said its a tradition and the younger generations don’t like it or eat it. So once all the oldies die off, so will the whale killing. Hopefully before certain species go extinct..
15. Watch a sumo wrestling match √ sumos are amazing. I thought I’d seen some pretty big people before but these guys are bigger and near-naked. And flexible! Spotted a couple of westerners and youre not going to believe me, but a very fit and very hot sumo. Ended up doing bets with my mate, getting drunk, chatting up japanese girls next to us and one of them made us a proper origami paper crane. Well worth going!
16. Go to a red light district √ my mate hadn’t got a holiday root yet, so I offered to pay for him to get a bj which i found on one of the signs and by memory was only like $30. Maybe I’m getting these signs wrong as they’re not really in English, but the minimum time you could get for a bj was half an hour?! Maybe you get a massage first? Or a strip show? Either way he decided he didn’t want to be in there for that long and decided we should go get drunk instead. Yessir!
17. Go to a maid café √fuck going to one, we went to 5 in a row, making it a legendary maid crawl. They don’t allow photos but we did the sneaky and holy shit, in one of them a guy got slapped for not finishing his drink. I’d read about it and tried to get them to slap my friend or anyone in our group (there were 4 of us) but apparently they don’t slap girls or foreigners. Dang.
18. Tooo muuuchhh saaaakkkeeee :S √well that was easy. Tokyo cat cafe night we were already plastered when our Japanese friends took us to a restaurant where no one spoke English. I ate a whole bunch of weird things that made no sense nor did they look like any sort of animal I could recognise, then drank a lot of cocktails and ‘different’ sake. It all tastes the same to me; strong! No vomiting thankfully but we did get lost in the train station. And run across a road full of slow-moving traffic like frogger.
19. Recharge at a Poke centre √there’s one above Osaka train station but it was aimed at kids and didn’t have enough there for sale. It all focused around the same few pokemon, pretty disappointing 😦 if you’re a pokemon fan, and going to Tokyo, my tip is to go to Akihabara (electronics district) and look in the building above the station – I found a couple of aisles there with more variety 🙂
20. Spot an unusual vending machine (lettuce, dildo, balloon, used underwear etc) √well it wasn’t *that* unusual, but I did spot an icecream vending machine out on a footpath that had been violently punched. I guess they were desperate for ice cream.. Apparently they’re getting rid of all the ‘weird’ vending machines so that was harder than first thought!
21. Have a delightful canned coffee or beer from a vending machine √well the price was certainly right! A 500ml can of beer was about $2.50 and I had many a night/day/drunken adventure on vending machine beers.
22. Ride a bullet train √yes indeedy. We had a train pass that made the bullet trains free, so we caught quite a few of them as we travelled around. They go right above houses and fields, so there’s no need to stop or slow down, and I guess being so fast means you’d only hear them for a split second anyway. Such a good idea, I hope other countries crack onto to this!
23. Visit a karaoke bar √good god. One thing I said I’d never do. The other is bungee jumping. I’d literally prefer to sit in a bath full of scorpions than sing on a mic to a bunch of people. Anyway I got drunk, made sure me and my friend had a private room (even though we could hear all the other rooms loud and clear from the hallway), and refused to use the mic. And sang. To Nickleback. And Jackson 5. But there you go, ticked it off and will never admit to it or speak of it again.
24. Stay in a love hotel × in my ideal world, I’d pick up a sexy Japanese girl and go to town on her in the ‘caged’ room, but alas, we got the vibe that locals aren’t into one night stands. No chance of staying here with my friend because he’s like a brother to me, and staying in a themed-room hotel built for sex without *actually* having sex is ridiculous to me. Next time!
25. Do photos in a japanese photobooth (Purikura) √THESE ARE FUCKING HILARIOUS! Holy shit, they change your features automatically to give you big open anime-esque eyes, pink lips, rosy cheeks and a pointy chin. Because my friend is a guy, this looked so hilarious I almost wet my pants. Definitely a must-do if you’re ever going to Japan
26. Use a water-shooting-up-yer-bits toilet √nothing could explain that moment when you press the button for the first time. Actually maybe this will explain it – oh god I did it, why did I do that fuuuuuuuuuuuuck!! And then the water hits you and all is well. At least for girls. We have a fan-like movement whereas the boys have a “hot jet of water”. I became slightly lazy/addicted and even figured out how to use the air so toilet paper was totes unnecessary. I want one at home 😀
27. See Mt Fuji × Not enough time and it was out of the way to where we were staying 😦
28. Get a photo with a Harajuku girl √I thought they’d be everywhere in Harajuku but I only saw a few random ones walking around. Hit the jackpot outside a coffee shop as I was leaving, there was about 6 or so there to get photos with!
29. Sit on the floor to eat dinner √starts out being fun until you start losing the feeling in your legs.. Well worth ticking off though. I went to a place that had a hole cut in the floor for your legs which was much comfier and the ‘table’ was a big hotplate that you cook your food on. Love it!
30. Visit/stay in a traditional teahouse √Kyoto is where you want to go for this and although ours was about half an hour away from the city by bus, it was well worth it for the serenity.
31. Go to a strange bar/club/restaurant √So much choice, so little time! My personal fav was hanging out in a video game bar in Osaka, getting drunk and playing Mario Kart with a bunch of backpackers. And outside on the street there is the most amazing hamburgers. Its no 3am kebab, but close enough!
What we didn’t have on the list but tacked onto the end after doing them:
1. Play Pachinko. Its essentially like playing the pokies, but seeing as gambling isn’t allowed, if you actually win, you get a toy. I think winning would be pretty difficult seeing as its extremely loud, with flashing coloured lights everywhere and is completely smoke-filled with no ventilation. There’s always a shop next door where you can swap your toy for money. Sneaky!
2. Well I wouldn’t attempt this without being verrrry drunk but for the boys in the group, write your name in the snow. With piss that is.
3. While you’re at the snow, climb to the top of the top of the mountain and drink some sort of hard liquor and have a cigar. It’s fucking boss. And my snowboarding got a whole lot better after that (it could have gone either way.. So don’t blame me if you get worse afterwards haha!)