I think sometimes, when you are so focused on making it, you don’t realise what’s around you and how well you are doing in the present moment.
I’m guilty of this. But I’m getting better at it.
As I’m writing this, in a Starbucks in Japan with a smile on my face, I can truly say I am happy with what I have done so far and what I will continue to do.
September 3rd marked one year since I joined NJPW, which gave me a chance to sit back and reflect on the last year. I don’t think anyone could have predicted how this year would go, but like I previously said, all part of the journey.
I was thinking back to this time last year, experiencing Japan for the first time with my boys Karl, Clark and Alex. Such a good time, I miss those guys a lot. I remember the first day we had off in Tokyo, we took the train all around and just explored as much as we could. I haven’t seen anywhere near as much of Japan as I would have liked this year, so I think I’ll talk about what I got to see on my first tour.
I was in Japan from September 3rd to September 23rd. I’m trying to remember the exact details, but we were in Tokyo for around 7 days before leaving to tour the south of Japan. It was mine and Alex’s first tour, Clark & Karl’s second, so Shibata San took us all out for dinner on our off day to see Tokyo at night. I’ve been in love with yakiniku ever since. I remember always seeing Japanese wagyu beef on The Food Network videos, but after trying it I can confirm it’s the nicest food I’ve ever tasted. Daaaaaaamn that was so good.
After 7 days in Tokyo we headed to Fuji for a night, and then onto Osaka. I’d seen Mount Fuji a lot in movies and in pictures, but seeing it in person for the first time was breathtaking. The way the clouds sit on the top of it is an image I’ll never forget.
Osaka felt very similar to Tokyo in a lot of ways. Big city, lots a great bars and restaurants. I remember the people being super friendly too. We were walking through an arcade late at night and this guy ran up to me and said “You guys, America?!” He then proceeded to sing Party in the USA by Miley Cyrus. Started a little street party, dude was JAMMIN’.
Also, if you are ever in Osaka, seek out some Kushikatsu. Fried skewers of meat and vegetables fried in panko breadcrumbs. MECHA OISHII NE.
From Osaka we drove to Yamaguchi > Oita > Kagoshima.
I’ll be honest I don’t remember much about these towns bar how far south Kagoshima was. I remember looking on the map and realising we were closer to South Korea than we were Tokyo.
Kagoshima > Matsue > Tottori > Kyoto > Kobe.
Still to this day, Kobe is my favourite city I’ve been to (so far) in Japan.
Some really beautiful temples in the city along with easy to find shops/bars/restaurants. One night, me and the rest of the LA Dojo boys found a all you can eat Gyoza restaurant. I think we all had something daft like 48 each. Well worth the 2kg I put on in weight.
Me and Karl were walking round one of the nights and stumbled across this bar that seemed to have a special night on. We walked up to this place on the 3rd floor and walking into an African drumming band jamming out. One of the best live music performances I have ever seen. I didn’t take any videos, didn’t even think to take out my phone I was enjoying it so much.
Once that had finished, the owner was speaking to us and took us to her club literally next door. No word of a lie, I walked in and there was a man, in his 50’s playing the bongo drums to ASAP Rocky. SCENES JOHN.
All my photos from this trip are on my old phone, but I’ve managed to find a few that I put online. I’ll post them here.
I couldn’t have asked for a better first tour. I got to see so many beautiful places and met a lot of great people. A great introduction to Japan.
This diary entry’s track of the day: Losing It – Fisher.
Thank you for reading!