I went to Japan at age 16 (Setagaya – I think – it’s Tokyo area, not far from Shibuya) to visit a girl who had come as a host student to our house the year prior. Her name is Erica. Her dad worked for a company that had work for him in the states for a while so she has excellent English. We were great friends and good pen pals so it was only natural to visit.
My first impression upon arriving was how oppressed it felt. Though I didn’t know a lot about the country nor was I that mature in my faith but I could feel the loneliness. God started to plant the seed in my heart for Japan not just my one friend.
I experienced my first earthquake within hours of arriving. It was a mini one but left a lasting impression. I felt so small. The earth literally swelled like a boat on the ocean.
While I was there I spent time in downtown Shibuya and met a tall white man who spoke only Japanese. I was so naive!
I visited Tokyo Towers where it felt like I could see the world. Mt. Fuji was beautiful that day and we could see Meiji Jingu Shrine
(which we visited later). They tell me that we rode the worlds fastest elevator.
I was blessed to be in Tokyo during the time of the cherry blossoms. For almost the entire trip the trees were budding out, ready to flower. People were everywhere with picnic lunches and lawn chairs. The city we were in had a huge cemetery called Aoyama and the park was full of the beautiful trees. Here is a picture on a Japanese site
. To this day the Cherry is one of my favorite trees. I was told that a strong wind or rain can ruin the buds so people wait for days to see the flowers.
I love Japan and someday I’d like to go back again.
Next time I’ll tell you about being a bridesmaid in a Japanese wedding. Maybe I can even dig out some old pictures. 🙂