2015 China Trip – Introduction

Being of Chinese descent, it has always been a goal for me to travel to China at least once in my life. I often get conflicted though, since my love for travelling around Japan often meant to China never reached the top of my “to travel to” list.

That changed however when one of my papers was accepted for a conference in Shanghai. I was able to join a research group from the local university to travel to China due to having sufficient travel funds left over. With the help of a close friend Robz, we planned a trip to explore other parts of China; such as Xi’an and Beijing. I also managed to arrange a stopover in Singapore on the way back in order to get the chance to finally explore that country at my own pace. It was also a much needed break from my studies as well.

The trip kicked off late June and lasted until mid July in 2015. During this time, we visited the Terracotta Warriors Museum, Zhujiajiao, The Great Wall of China, Forbidden City, and many other locations. Our travelling group numbers ranged from 7 to 15 people at various parts throughout the trip (significantly larger than my 2012 Japan trip); resulting in fun interactions among ourselves.

So, without further adieu, it is time to start up a new section in this blog: The 2015 China Trip!

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Terracotta Warriors (top left), Shanghai Skyline (top right), Zhujiajiao (bottom left), and The Great Wall of China (bottom right)

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2012 Japan Trip – Introduction

Welcome to my 2012 Japan Trip diary section of my blog! Before beginning, I would like to first give a quick background as to how the trip came about.

I had first traveled to Japan on a school trip in 2003, and loved it so much that I returned on yet another school trip in 2005. During this time, I had the opportunity to experience the life of a Japanese high school student, stayed with several host families, and visited some of the more popular tourist attractions. However, there was always a restriction on the amount of exploration we could do as we were still representing our school and had to abide to curfews and tight schedules. Nonetheless, I had always bragged about the amazing time I had there, so much so that some of my friends (Brownie and J.C) had wanted to travel there to experience Japan for themselves. We decided that we would go together after finishing high school.

Years flew by and we found ourselves busy with due to various circumstances at University and summer work. Because of this, we had to consistently delay the trip. We came close to organizing one between December 2010 and January 2011 but had to put it off due to time constraints. Shortly after, the city we lived in was rocked by a major earthquake. Many lives were lost, and our city has yet to recover from the damage. During this time, we realized how sudden things can change in our lives. We talked things over, and decided that we would make our schedules from January-March of 2012 free to finally go to Japan.

After six long months of researching, planning, and booking accommodation and transport options, it was finally time to head off to Japan. There, we spent 42 days travelling between 21 different cities/towns/villages within Japan, and even had a side trip to Singapore on the way back home. We had visited dozens of temples and shrines, cycled through the streets of Kyoto, watched a snowboarding exhibition during the Sapporo Snow Festival, walked along a beautifully lit path next to the main canal in Otaru, had a nice bath along a river in Kurokawa, and did so much more. It was an exhausting trip consisting of more than 3 days of intercity travels combined, but it was worth it.

During this trip, I had kept a very short diary of each day’s events. This, together with the thousands of photos and videos captured during this trip, brought back plenty of memories of the amazing trip we had; even three whole years after its conclusion. In order to keep these memories in words, I had decided to setup this blog to share my experiences with everyone. I hope that these entries would help others plan their trips to Japan, and encourage others to visit there one day.

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