My friends think I’m crazy because I am so obsessed about Japan. Well then, I’ll tell you guys how it all started.
It all began when I was nine years old. Japanese animations used to air on the television and as soon as I used to come home from school, plop down on the couch and switch on the TV. I didn’t even bother to change my uniform or with my evening supper. The channel used to show animations one after another and I spent the evenings watching them. Japanese ‘cartoons’ are not your standard ‘cartoons’, their what the Japanese call ‘anime’. I never liked it when people used to (and still do) call them cartoons. Japanese animations is much more than just a silly cartoon. But let’s not get sidetracked. This was when the beginning of my fascination with the country started. As I grew older, I learned more, such as the Japanese celebrate “White Day” on March 14th which is the opposite of Valentines day where boys give chocolates to girls. I mean come on! Which other country does that? I became a person who loved Japanese animations and a person who the Japanese call an “otaku”which literally means a geek. But my interest in Japan didn’t just stop at animations, it expanded beyond that. Their language, their culture, their history – it was all of these that I wanted to learn and experience.
Over time, I have come to learn a lot of new things. The traditional dress women wear aren’t just kimonos. There are different types of kimonos – the one that is worn on summer is called a “yukata”, which is a light kimono and in the olden days specially during the Heian Era of Japan, women used to wear 12 layered kimonos called “Juni-hito” but it could be up to 40 layers! A very heavy and extravagant kimono that is very hard to handle and used to be worn by court ladies during that time, it is still worn by women even today during special occasions. A normal kimono is very difficult to wear itself, let’s not think about the 12 layered one. The patterns and color that different kimonos can be found with are just gorgeous. I wish to own one someday and I will!
Festivals celebrated in Japan, let me not get started on that. On second thought, I will share some interesting festivals that the Japanese take part in and I want to be a part of in the future. I specially want to be a part of “tanabata” (star festival) and “hanami” (cherry blossom viewing). The star festival, tanabata is celebrated in the summer and there is a lovely fireworks show every year while the hanami is celebrated when the cherry blossom trees are in full bloom (which is around spring).
When it comes to places, I want to visit Akihabara – the paradise for otaku’s all over the world and where AKB48’s theater is located!!! :) I want to try sukiyaki. I also really want to see a traditional Shinto wedding and go to an onsen (hot springs).
So there you have it. Even though it is the world’s most earthquake prone country, the country is full of rich culture and traditions. Japan is truly a place where there is something for everybody.