- 9 min read

What I Will Remember Most

A month interning with Japan Travel

Interning for Japan Travel for one month between June and July 2015 is the best thing I have done and I am proud to have done it. I had wanted to come to Japan for as long as I can remember, it was obviously inevitable that one day I would. Being accepted onto the intern program made it even the more sweeter to come though, as it is one thing to say you travelled in Japan but another to say that you have worked there.

I was able to fulfill a dream of experiencing this beautiful country; while at the same do what is close to my heart – writing and photography. It is a great feeling to have had articles and photo stories published on this very popular website and while doing so I have met many people and have memories that will last a life time. I have so many, but for the sake of the length of this blog post I have narrowed them down to the following:

The first night

I landed in Haneda airport very late at night and straight away had a unique experience in the airport. I have never been to a country whereby you have to have your fingerprints taken along with a photograph when going through immigration; I knew it was going to be a special month. I walked out of the airport and then saw my first ever Japanese taxi. The man who greeted me was in a very sharp suit, looking more like a limo driver than a taxi driver. ‘Good evening sir, where are you going?’ I couldn’t believe how cool the driver and vehicle both were and inside was so comfortable. Welcome to Japan.

Watching the sunset from Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building

<p>Watching the sunset from Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building&nbsp;</p>
Watching the sunset from Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building 

A sunset is beautiful no matter where it is, but seeing it from so high up and with Tokyo’s abundance of skyscrapers and buildings, it was simply taken to another level. It was such a special sight, a red sky of fire with Mount Fuji in the background. When darkness fully took over the capital exploded into light, with what seemed like more lights than stars in the sky.

The friendliness, helpfulness and politeness of Japanese people

I had a rough idea of how the people would be before coming out but I was taken back on a few occasions by just how nice and helpful so many people have been. There have been times where I have been at a train station and looking a little lost, someone will come up to me and ask if they can help. I have stopped quite a few people in the street showing them Google Maps and they have always been so kind and helpful. The politeness is something else, everyone is so respectful and I have seen on the trains that phones have a ‘manner mode’ – incredible. Also while photographing a few girls in Harajuku they bowed afterwards and said thanks to me, I couldn’t believe it, such sweet and friendly girls. Too much politeness to mention! Japan makes you feel so human.

From Nagoya Castle

I love Japanese traditional architecture, there is nothing quite like it. As the grounds that surround it are so vast it took a while to finally lay eyes on it as I walked towards its location in anticipation. The moment it was unveiled to me I will always remember. It is simply a mesmerizing and beautiful castle.


Of course always on the cards whenever I made it out to Tokyo. I have seen it in many Japanese films and it was mentioned a lot in my favorite Murakami book Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage. Being in Shinjuku Station, which attracts more visitors a day then anywhere in the world, is wonderfully hectic. I loved walking around Shinjuku itself, particularly around the Sumitomo building with so many smartly dressed people; I like all the ladies in their business clothes!

The modernity in this place is sensational, but it also has a beautiful park in Shinjuku Gyoen, showing how it lives harmoniously side by side with tradition and nature.

How clean Tokyo is

I can’t believe how clean this place is. For a capital it is simply pristine and this is a true credit to the Japanese government and all of the Japanese people. This, along with so much more, is why I admire this country and its people.

The balance of modernity vs tradition

To me Japan has a perfect balance of tradition and modernity. It is such a futuristic place at times, but has been able to excellently preserve its beautiful culture. There are a lot of examples of this but I will give two: on many occasions I see ladies dressed in intricately designed and beautiful Kimonos walking through stations, no one batters an eyelid as this tradition is still a welcome and normal thing. Adverts - I see a lot of adverts that are very eco and traditionally friendly. One with a woman in a Kimono on a tatami floor with a modern hoover next to her, another with a lady sitting down reading a kindle with a lovely traditional Japanese garden in the background. This is done to show how modernity and tradition can live side by side happily. Japan has progressed so much as a country with technology, but it is so true to its roots and is fantastic with the environment. This is something I really admire.

Tokyo Streets and People Photo Tour

One of the most beneficial and fun things I have ever done. Walking through the streets of Harajuku and Shibuya, overflowing with interesting people and so much fashion, was so exciting and it is the perfect place for street photography. I love how much colour you can see in Tokyo when just a small crowd of people walk by. There is so much creativity and individualism here, so much beautiful freedom of expression. During this tour I learnt so much about my camera, which has provided me with a great foundation to build upon thanks to my very helpful and friendly teacher on this tour.

Tranquility Tea Ceremony

I have spent quite a lot of time in China and have visited other parts of the East, Hong Kong quite a few times and also once to Thailand. However, this is the most I have ever felt connected to Eastern culture and history. It was a beautiful and spiritual experience, sitting in a black Kimono, with three ladies in colourful Kimonos, sharing a bowl of green tea amongst each other, drinking from the same bowl to provide a feeling of mutual respect and harmony. I learnt so much about the history and customs of Japanese tea ceremonies.

The convenience

So much seems to be done in Japan to make life easier and for everything to flow more smoothly. There are so many things that I can mention, but for now I will just mention a simple but yet brilliant thing; a place to hang your umbrella next to urinals in toilets.

See-through umbrellas

Oh the see-through umbrella! What a simple but amazing invention, I can’t get enough of them. I also shot through them a couple of times with my camera and got one of the best photos I have ever taken. People will think I am crazy for how much I like them.

Akihabara in day and night

The heart of anime culture in Japan, I loved this place. The anime billboards and paintings on various walls are superb. I had a lot of fun here and also got some brilliant and memorable photos at night. Tokyo is just so photogenic.

Yakitori alley and Ginza

Ginza is probably my most favorite place in Tokyo; it is a kaleidoscope of colour. The tight, smoky alleyways of Yakitori were a thrilling experience to walk through. Radiantly glowing lanterns with smoke floating around their vibrant aura, cramped little restaurants, different changes in light and people walking through made for an intoxicating photographic environment and pulsating walking experience. The smell of food and the noise of people, with so much going on, was a very special urban ambience, an unmistakably Asian experience.

The above memories are just the few of many as I walk away with so much to cherish from doing this internship with Japan Travel.

Unfortunately all good things come to an end and times flies when you are having fun. Even though the month went so quick, I have managed to really appreciate my time here and savour so much out of the experience of finally being in Japan. I have been to quite a few countries now, many in Europe, been to America and spent time in other Eastern countries. I can hands down honestly say though that Japan is by far the best place I have ever been to.

I can’t wait to come back; there is so much I want to do. I want to couch surf, climb Mount Fuji, witness the beautiful cherry blossoms and travel all over. I will certainly be coming back as soon as I can. I want to study Japanese for a year before I come back as I believe you need the language to really immerse yourself and get the most out of the country you are in so this is what I will do. I can speak good Chinese, I aim to be fluent after one more year there, so I hope this will help me with learning Japanese. There are not four tones like Mandarin so I hope it will be a bit easier to pick up.

I love the sound of Japanese, it is so exotic and I am very keen to learn it, hopefully I will be OK at speaking it within a year. Then I am coming back, hopefully to work as I reckon I could live here permanently. However, if I can’t find work in a year, one day I will make it happen, I will come back in a year just to travel more and practice the language.

Thank you Japan Travel and Japan for the greatest month of my life. Sorry for the long post!

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Yolanda Marta Kartika 8 years ago
Nice memories to be shared :) I am recalling back my memory about Japan now huhu
Daniel Vesey Author 8 years ago
Thanks for reading and glad it has helped recall some good memories ;)
Sarah Endarastya 8 years ago
Oh my god, it brings my memory back. I hope I can visit Japan again. Soon! :(
Daniel Vesey Author 8 years ago
Thanks I hope I can go back again very soon too :)
What a great memories! Thank you for sharing. It makes me wanna comback visit Japan again and again. Hope I have opportunity like you Daniel! Really hope for that to explore Japan deeper.
Daniel Vesey Author 8 years ago
Thanks for reading Odilia. I hope you can visit Japan soon!
Anne Lauenroth 8 years ago
Thank you for sharing your best memories. It's been almost half a year since I've last been to Japan - can't wait to go back. :-)
Daniel Vesey Author 8 years ago
No problem I am glad that you liked the post! Haha I bet that you can't wait, I really want to go back too. I miss Japan and haven't experienced it enough yet
Jerome Lee 8 years ago
I'm glad you had a great time Daniel! I remembered doing mine last year as well - one of the best things that ever happened to me. Guess we all share that love for Japan!
Daniel Vesey Author 8 years ago
Yeah I guess so! Thanks for all the help!

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