My name is Alisa, and since I was very little, I have always been infatuated with Japan and the Japanese culture.
Why is this, do you ask? Did something significant happen to you in your early childhood that lead you up to this obsession?
In fact, there was never one big thing that really pushed me in this direction. There were many different small things, all accumulating into what makes me pine for more and more and more of Japan and it's culture.
It may very well be hereditary. My grandmother on my mother's side was always very much into Asian culture as a whole.
When I was super little, before I started schooling, my favorite show was a Chinese cartoon about rabbits. They lived in the trunk of a tree and had little X's for mouths. My mom would tell me how strange it was that I loved that show because I couldn't understand a damn thing they were saying, but I loved it anyway.
When I was less little I had the chance to dress as a geisha for a show my elementary school put on. The Kimono was red and long and heavy and wonderful, and my mother did my hair geisha style (which worked well, because I have a very large amount of thick, dark hair), and I got to wear bright red lipstick and fake eyelashes. I don't remember a lot of the show, but I do remember the feeling I had of being the only geisha in my class and twirling around with a fan and a gymnastics ribbon. I remember loving it.
Various trips to China town always had me arriving back home with Sailor Moon products. This was well before Toonami had come out on Cartoon Network and well before I knew that anything called 'anime' even existed. To me, the posters were just beautifully drawn-and-colored characters, smiling down at me in pretty dresses.
It wasn't until middle school, in fact, that I was drawn into the world of anime. I happened to come across a commercial for the Pokemon video game, Red and Blue, that I paused to watch the strange animated creatures. Once I finally caught wind of the show I was done for. I'd stumbled upon Toonami: Sailor Moon, Tenshi-Muyo, Dragon Ball Z, and Gundam Wing. These shows wouldn't just simply open up the super-nerdy side of me, but open up the unreachable world that was Japan.
Toonami had launched me, and I quickly spread my interests to other anime shows. Ah! My Goddess was the first series I started to collect, and from there Ranma 1/2 and Fushigi Yuugi and so many, many more. I saw for the first time in High school, Akira, which opened up the dark, horror side of anime as well. Movies like Ghost in the Shell and Princess Moninoke (I had watched Totoro as a child a few times, but didn't connect the two movies until later on) and Perfect Blue... I watched them all, and they all soaked in.
I learned simple Japanese phrases from anime, but the culture I really picked up when I got into Manga.
A girl in my freshman homeroom introduced me to my first manga series, Inuyasha. This was back when the US printed manga large, flipped for American readers and charged us $15 a pop. Ridiculous but worth it. I became enamoured with Rumiko Takahashi and her world. I was ecstatic to find out that she had also created Ranma 1/2, which I had been collecting in Anime form for years.
As I grew older and went away to college for the first go around (animation major), I became less and less drawn to the world of anime, and more and more obsessed with the yearning need to visit the country, to learn more and more about the culture and language. I'd become obsessed more with Lolita and Gangaru style, and with Japanese school and everyday life. I would swoon over my Gothic Lolita Bible and collect Hello Kitty products like mad.
Finally, in my 25th year, I decided to take the fateful step forward and get right down to it. My wonderful boyfriend has decided to take me up on the offer and we'll be heading to Japan for two weeks in late July.
I can barely contain my excitement. And so I've decided to keep this blog. Not only so that I might look back over and over again on this trip, but so that I can hopefully help out others on where to stay and what to eat and what to do. I'll be posting up here our plains as we make them out, how much it's costing etc., and I'll hopefully be posting from Japan as well once I'm there. :)