It’s been 10 years since I landed in a foreign country alone for the first time. I went back almost every year since, expanding my destinations as time went by, and posting nearly daily on my blog. It became so huge I had to have side-blogs as archives, and one article was even referred to by a Japanese news website at some point (waking up to tens of thousands of visitors was weird).

I posted in French on THIS BLOG, for my family and friends, and for the few followers I had. But I have quite a bit of non-French speakers friends who had to struggle with Google translate, and actually did, so I think it’s time I created a second blog.

I will be updating it when I update the French one. I currently have 2 trips planned: Japan, in March/April 2017, and Japan again, at the end of the year or in early 2018. I will also post old stories in the Stories section for anyone who is curious about the best/worst/funniest times of my past adventures. I will also post tips in the Tips section, and you can find hotel/airline reviews in their respective categories.

Some things to clear up:

  • My blog title…in Japanese, ebi means shrimp and kutsushita means sock. I’ve had this blog title for a decade so I’m keeping it.
  • Why Japan? If you check the Stories list, you’ll see how many times I went there and you might get scared so, let’s count this differently: 42 (not the answer to the universe). Between 2007 and 2012, that’s how many weeks I spent there as a tourist, only 4 of these weeks being dedicated to a language school. For a long time, I considered the country a second home, and I couldn’t stay away for too long or I would get homesick. My decision to go there for the first time started it. I’m finally going back in 2017 because I miss my friends, the food, my habits, and the way my brain melts after seeing so much weird stuff constantly.
  • I don’t exactly speak Japanese. I know enough to get by. I can read and write both alphabets as they have been drilled into my skull 5 hours a day for the first week of my first trip (the language school one) and have then been memorized thanks to karaoke. At the height of my Japan craze in 2011, I knew about 400 kanji (the characters adopted from Chinese). This is now immensely reduced, and I either know what they mean, or how to pronounce them, but rarely both at the same time. Not very useful.
  • I’ve been pretty much all over the country and my favourite spots are definitely not the most touristy places where foreign tourists flock, so if you ask me for advice on trip planning I’ll always try to get you to go elsewhere even if nobody speaks English (which is way more common than you might think. You’re not “safe” in business hotels, and you’re not “safe” in Tokyo either)
  • My trip to China was a private guided tour, so I don’t have tips outside of hotel/places reviews
  • My trips to South Korea and Taiwan fell in the middle of my longest trip to Japan and I was exhausted, so don’t expect greatness in that category because I barely left my room.
  • Trip 1 to the US was a road trip that was mostly taken care of by my amazing friend Ally so, again, not many tips to give
  • Trip 2 to the US was a Disneyworld vacation
  • I will still be telling stories of all these other places too, just don’t ask me for help because I’ll suck!