Japan 2014: Tsukuba City

Passport? Check. Visa? Check. Plane ticket? Check. Winter clothes? Check.

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Yep, after months of living vicariously through manga and other people's blog, I was finally en route to the Land of the Rising Sun. I mentioned a couple of posts ago that I had this amazing, I-didn't-even-imagine-it-would-ever-happen opportunity to visit a university in Japan as the official delegate of my university... for free.

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We arrived in Japan at around 2:30pm and one of the first things that greeted us was this sign that says おかえりなさい which translates to "welcome home." I have to admit, I was internally blushing as I read this since I'm a beginner when it comes to the language. Oh man, I can't wait to actually become fluent at this!

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You can't tell from the picture, but my fingers were practically falling off from the 7 degree (Celsius) winds. Note to self: always bring gloves when traveling during winter.

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I was furiously snapping pictures of traditional Japanese architecture during the entire two-hour bus ride from Narita Airport to Tsukuba City. My favorite element is the roof tile patterns!

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Even though this trip was an academic affair, we (I was traveling with two other classmates, Nath and Angela) found the time to explore parts of Tsukuba and Tokyo. I took a lot of photos with my HTC One - sidewalks, random people, random buildings, food, Japanese signs, more food, etc.

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We arrived at our hotel at around 7:00pm. We stayed in the Daiwa Roynet Hotel and got the Ladies Room, which is basically a single room with lots of amenities for women like foot massager, facial steaming machine and skincare products.

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My sensei invited us to have dinner with her sensei at Ton-Q, a famous Katsu house in Japan. When in Japan, eat Japanese food. Om nom nom...

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We ended our day by walking around and looking at the lighted mansions (Japanese condominiums). We had to stop by a convenience store to buy some snacks for the night and our breakfast tomorrow. The quality of brands you can buy in a Japanese convenience store is way better than those you can find here in Manila. I actually bought something from the store that's now one of my favorite snacks!

I think that's everything from my first (non-full) day in Japan! Pretty boring since we just traveled the entire day but everything was a first for me so it was really exciting!

What's next?

Our first full day in Tsukuba City was the day of the University of Tsukuba tour! More on that and the city itself on the next post ;)

Have you been to Japan? What's your favorite destination? If not, what is your dream destination?