Japan Trip 2023
by Andy Hall
“Travel opens your heart, broadens your mind, and fills your life with stories to tell.” Anon.
23 students, one parent, four staff members, one tour director, and 125 million others.
And there are many stories to tell. From the organized hustle and bustle of Tokyo and Osaka to the tranquility of Kamakura and Mount Fuji. From the in-your-face glare of the Akihabara District’s neon lights to the sombre reflections of the Hiroshima Peace Park. From busy streets to Bullet Trains.
Japan is a land of contrasts. It stirs a wide spectrum of emotions and has a palpable energy that can keep even the weariest of travelers awake.
We will talk for a long time about the street food, such as Fried Balls of Octopus or Chargrilled Squid, finished off by a blowtorch flame. Ramen noodles, conveyor belt Sushi, King Crab, and Wagyu Beef prepared and served in front of your eyes recharged the batteries.
Some hope that prayers and offerings made in Shinto Temples and Buddhist Shrines will come true. Some will see the cities of Tokyo and Osaka as a vision of what Toronto could be. Some will possibly return in the future, to explore below the scratched surface or to work in the world’s third-largest economy.
This trip has opened many hearts that the global pandemic attempted to grip. Minds have been filled by sights, sounds, tastes, emotions and excitement. The stories are starting to be told.