Wednesday, 26 September 2012


This is the first of my Japan series of blog posts! I do hope you enjoy!

When you think of Japan, you think of bright lights, udon noodles, fish markets, huge department stores and packed out streets. Before I visited Japan, the images that popped into my head that are associated with Japan were just these things. But after living for three months in an a small urban industrial town, I began to see how the real Japan worked. 

I went to Japan for three months to stay in a little town called Takarazuka (famous for it's women-dressed-as-men dancing show at the town theatre). I was working here with a fellow volunteer called Zena who is now one of my most trusted friends. We worked at a Leonard Cheshire Home for mental and physical disabilities where we looked after 50 residents whom only two could walk. Tasks were sometimes challenging and often only rewarding when you see that it made a positive difference to one of the residents.

I was situated in the Hyogo prefecture which was between Kyoto, Osaka and Kobe. These were my favourite places to be at the weekend.

 Firstly, Osaka.... for all you shoppers, it is the place to be. There is a shopping district called NAMBA which is lined with shops from all other the world including a huge H&M and a Uniqlo! If you think a big Boots is good in the UK, wait until you see the HUGE beauty department stores, often three or four floors high, filled with hair care, makeup, moisturisers, everything a girl could dream of.  Osaka is in the top five cities for being most expensive and as I was volunteering, money wasn't exactly falling off trees. If I saved up some money I was able to buy an occasional Japanese lipstick or mascara but all I could really do was drool at all the products on display. The place is amazing. Although a little hectic and busy. I was stopped in Osaka H&M for being 'Kawaii' (cute).  

Dōtombori is the liveliest place to be where good nightlife is of priority and flashy food restaurants are a must for those with a little cash to splurge. There is a bridge here where you can take pictures of the streets either side of the river below. It looks like a scene from Blade Runner. 

Just outside of the city centre in Universal Studios theme park, which I couldn't miss. Although I ended up going alone, I had a great time and met fellow tourists there! Lots of western food to be eaten and lots of rides to scream on. I thought John Lewis was big, and I hadn't learnt that everything in Japan was bigger and better, the department stores like ' Hanshin' were huge, and although Zena and I couldn't afford anything in store, we had a little look and then scurried to use the posh toilets. Oh yes, I forgot, Japanese toilets are an experience. They sing songs, they wash bottoms and you don't have to touch a thing. 

Here are some of the pictures relating to Osaka and general Japan, tomorrow, I will be posting about Kyoto, naked hot spring baths and a load of Japanese  food! 


sweetaholic-beauty said...

Can't wait to read your next post! I've been to Japan myself but only for a short period (ten days!) where I visited Hiroshima, Kyoto, and a smaller town. It was a fabulous experience!
It sounds like your experience volunteering was rewarding, how did you find out about that and get it all happening?

Charlotte said...

Looks absolutely amazing, I've always wanted to go! x

Leslie Hernandez said...

Wow this was amazing loved it. I sound like Japan was awesome can't wait to read the next post on it.

Martha Woods said...

Hi, new follower here! Love all of your Japan posts. The pics are so pretty and it looks like you had an awesome time. :)

Anonymous said...

Wow it looks amazing, love your boots BTW

Stories of an English rose