Life @ U of T

Introduction

“Only” a Year: Making the Most of My Time Abroad

“Only” a Year: Making the Most of My Time Abroad

When I first told my Grandma the details of my exchange to Tokyo, she exclaimed “Only a year? That’s too short!”

Her reaction surprised me. A full year? I thought, if anything, that’s a bit long. But in retrospect, my Grandma was onto something. Although I’ve only been in Japan for about three months now, it’s hard to believe how fast the time is passing.

Before returning home, my goal is to check off all the items on my Japan Bucket List. It includes Japanese cultural activities, such as kabuki (traditional Japanese theatre) and tea ceremony; tourist destinations like Tokyo Disneyland; and more idiosyncratic places like a restaurant known for its extra fluffy pancakes. Last week, I was lucky enough to have a week off from school. I used this time to get to work on my bucket list!

A very beautiful pumpkin at the Yayoi Kusama Museum in Tokyo.

After months of anticipation, I finally got to see Tokyo’s Yayoi Kusama Museum. Ever since tickets sold out for Kusama’s popular Infinity Mirrors exhibit at the AGO last year, I’ve been dying to visit. While the museum itself was slightly underwhelming, at least I can now say “been there, done that!”

A seagull flying over the shore.
“I’m like a bird, I only fly away”

Later in the week, my family and I went on a road trip. While this was never one of my bucket list items, it definitely should have been! We drove an hour and a half to Miura, a small fishing town south of Tokyo. The scenic route along the coast made me nostalgic for the years I spent in California. If not for the Japanese road signs, I could have believed it was Pacific Coast Highway.

Broiled tuna head on a plate on a table surrounded by other small dishes.
This broiled tuna was even bigger than my own head!

Leave it to my family to drive an hour and a half for the primary purpose of eating! Miura is known for its amazing tuna. While there, we ate a delicacy called maguro kabutoyaki, broiled tuna head. No one in my family had ever tried it before! While photos of the meal definitely freaked out my friends on Snapchat, it was some of the best fish I’ve ever eaten. In fact, I’m a bit sad knowing that it’ll probably be years before I get the chance to eat it again!

Tuna meat on a plate. The meat has no fish skin or bones.
After being sliced, this is how the tuna looked. It was surprisingly boneless!

This seaside adventure was definitely one of the highlights of my time in Japan so far. It reminds me of the fact that sometimes the best things are the ones you don’t picture yourself doing. My week off was over much too quickly. But I’m glad that I still have many bucket list items to look forward to checking off my list.

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