My Time There

Note: The title of this post is in reference to a conversation I had with my friend AJ before I left which went a little like this:
Me: “‘Lost in Japan’ is such a good song and so relatable for when I go to Tokyo. I’m going to make a blog about my time there [Japan] and that’s gonna be the name”
AJ: “My time there?” That’s a stupid name.
Me: No, dummy, the name of the blog is going to be “Lost in Japan” why would I name it “My Time There?”

So, I promised him that “My Time There” would be the name of the final blog post – and admittedly it actually is a good title to wrap things up and reflect. I’ll also talk about the research I did here (since that really was the main purpose of this adventure after all!)

Also, thank you to everyone who read these posts over the summer! I originally made this so that I could share pictures with my mom and family (who aren’t on social media), but it’s cool to hear and see that other friends are actually looking at it too! Hope I didn’t get too annoying and that it was at least interesting haha.

Anyways, if I had to sum up my time in Japan, this would be it:

My favorites
-Places: Harajuku, Odaiba, Shibuya, Kamakura
-Foods: Crepes, everything strawberry flavored, unagi, tuna onigiri, salmon fried rice, tempura
-Things to do: DisneySea, Odaiba Onsen Monogatari, TeamLab Borderless Museum
-Stores: Don Quijote (Donki), Tokyu Hands, Muji, Uniqlo

What I wish I had done
-Try Shibuya honey toast (somehow never was with people to try it and it’s too big to eat by myself justifiably)
-Visit Tokyo Tower, Tokyo Skytree, and Tsukiji Fish Market (though tbh only feel bad because I feel like I was supposed to go)
-Hakone (again somehow didn’t get a chance rip)
-Tokyo Disneyland (though I don’t feel like I missed on too much since I went to DisneySea, “the best Disney park in the world”)
-More temples/shrines in Kyoto/Osaka (time just didn’t permit!)
-Mario Kart IRL (didn’t get the permit before I came because I didn’t know about it)
-Animal Cafe (didn’t do because I wasn’t sure how the animals were treated)
-Hang out with more international students. Unfortunately, most of them like to work in their labs during the weekend, so I didn’t get to do that. Shoutout to Annabel though for always been down to explore!

Research summary
My research this summer focused on investigating parameters to improve the quality and quantity of bio-oil produced through pyrolysis. It was a ton of chemistry, but overall went pretty well! Both my mentor, Li, and professor, Prof. Cross, were incredibly patient with me and helped me to learn a ton. Thought I am not sure if research or grad school are in the near future for me, the experience was great and at the very least confirmed what I already knew about chemistry: it’s not for me lol. This is the final presentation I made and final report that I wrote up (with no lab partner!)

Final random thoughts
-I can’t remember if I mentioned this in any previous posts, but when friends or couples go out, they do this thing where they match or coordinate outfits. At first it was so odd, but it’s actually pretty cute!
-The Japanese are pretty darn patient…and good at making lines.
-Backing into the train to squish and make it on instead of waiting for the next one is not the business.

What I’ll miss
-The convenience stores! So convenient and such cheap food, especially onigiri
-No one says “bless you” when someone sneezes and it’s great

-Clouds, the fluffy cloud watching kind
-Public transportation…kinda. It’s nice to keep cars off the road and all, but the freedom and flexibility of a car is hard to beat.

What I’m looking forward to at home
-FRUIT! It was so expensive here, so I mostly only got it when eating desserts
-Weather that isn’t humid 24/7
-In-n-Out, tried Shake Shack while here and it’s good, but the value just isn’t there
-Driving (and on the right side of the road)
-Starting senior year at UCSB!



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