top 10 highlights of my trip include magical moments that have less to do with the what, when and where and more to do with a specific moment in time. these are the ten moments of grace that made my recent trip unforgettable.

top 10 highlights

10. i got bitten by a toothless piglet. i was in a pet store/hotel in ebisu, tokyo. they had every animal you can think of on sale, from the usual suspects to monkeys and owls and ferrets. they also had some sort of a tiny petting zoo going on. i played with a cute little kid with 10 cm horns and watched a ferret sleep on its back! a little black piglet bit on my finger, but there were no teeth so i left still feeling the funny ripples of the top of his snout on my finger. cute!

9. i finally took a picture of mount fuji. although it is omnipresent in almost all japanese pictures, the famous mountain is actually quite elusive in real life. i couldn’t get a glimpse of it no matter how high were the buildings i climbed in tokyo.

the only other time i saw it was from a speeding shinkansen, two years ago. but this time around, we took a day trip to hakone, a national park in its neighbourhood. even if the vantage point was amazing, 30 minutes after i took my pictures, the peak had been obscured by the clouds again.

top 10 highlights

8. i toured an island on an electric bike. at first i was reluctant to the idea, as the road had many ups and downs. but as soon as i hit the power button, i was hooked. it was the extra boost i needed and it made all the pedaling much easier. imagine standing on a hill top and looking down on a little land and a lot of water. unforgettable!

top 10 highlights

7. the sakura shower in towada. it was almost the middle of may, so sakura couldn’t have been further from my mind. but when the bus dropped us, all i could see was a wide, long avenue lined with blossoming cherries. and the ground was covered in petals, as it had been raining. a beautiful surprise due to the fact that towada is so up north!

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6. aomori ken. this is the main reason aomori was one of my destinations. i like yoshitomo nara a lot and this sculpture of his just stayed with me. i will write about the experience in a dedicated post so this picture will have to do for now. i hope you like it as much as i do!

top 10 highlights

5. the towada art center. i will write all about it in a separate post. suffice to say that the collection was unbelievable, the location remote but the experience was wonderful. i will only tell you one thing: the first room of the museum was inhabited by ron mueck‘s 4m tall standing woman. a day to remember!

top 10 highlights

4. i pet a robot dinosaur and he liked it. it was a store in an osaka mall. it presented new technologies and ideas. it was where i saw a salary man trying on dresses in front of a “mirror”. there was a trick: there was a camera included somewhere so the “mirror” would show you wearing the dress you’d selected. you could even twist and turn to see how you looked with the dress on!

the dinosaur was the size of a medium dog. and people could pet it. i stood in line for my turn. when i started petting him, he started responding by complex body language, just like a real dog would. i felt a connection. well, if you don’t interact with a robot in japan, where else, right?

3. i drank with the rockabilles in yoyogi park. i was in yoyogi park and i realized i had a left over bottle of visinata. it’s a romanian drink made of sour cherries. and i thought: what else can i do for the rockabilles? i had watched them peacock and dance and strut as they do on every sunday. and instead of getting my picture taken with them, i went over with my little gift. i talked to their charismatic chief. we shared a first sip and then they circulated the bottle. and my friends did take my picture with them anyway!

top 10 highlights

2. i drank tea in a bamboo forest. it was extraordinary although it doesn’t sound like it. imagine a bamboo forest behind a secluded temple. the trees are so close together it’s quite dark. in the far end corner, there is a tea house. it’s only a wooden platform with all its little benches facing away towards the forest. you can only hear the leaves rustling in the wind and the little waterfall on your left. everybody sips on their very bitter, super green matcha and they suck on their candy. and they relax with the silence. because this is the perfect place for that. zen!

top 10 highlights

1. i fed a flock of hawks on a beach in kamakura. no, there’s no mistake! i know they are dangerous predatory birds but they are also awesome and i got along with them very well.

i started throwing pieces of bread high in the air to catch their eye. they picked up on that immediately. and they started circling me, a few meters up in the air. they took turns and clawed each piece i’d throw. very few pieces fell on the sand. and when that happened, a fast dip and clutch would fix it. i was super happy!

until a local came to tell me it was illegal to do it, as they sometimes attack people for food. auch! sorry!

top 10 highlights

so these were my top 10 highlights. i apologize for the poor quality of the pictures and for the fact that some of the entries have no pictures at all. i hope that you can understand why i chose living the moment over photographing it!

what were the moments that made your trip unforgettable?

photo credits: little aesthete. google search