One Last Trip to Cap Off a Year in Asia

Hello again, San Diego State! This is my last blog since I will soon return to San Diego after a full academic year of living in Singapore. In this post I will show you my last trip before heading home to conclude the great year abroad I’ve had.

The reason I chose Asia as my study abroad destination in the first place was to visit Japan. It was one of those bucket list destinations that I had to fulfill. I waited until my spring break in Singapore so I could see the famous East Asian cherry blossom trees in full bloom. Well, the wait was worth it because this past spring I got to visit Japan for a whole week.

“My journey to the east is over. I am so happy that it happened but incredibly sad that it ended!”

I started in Osaka. Here is a picture of me at one of the biggest traditional Japanese castles. Even though it does not look like it, it was incredibly cold. Compared to Singapore I was freezing!

After that I went to visit the numerous shrines all around Osaka. Upon reaching one of them I was greeted with an early blooming of cherry blossom. It was truly a sight to see — even local Japanese people were stopping to take pictures!

The next day my mission was to head to Kyoto to visit a building that affected my childhood greatly. Here I am in front of this legendary building. Any kid from the 90s and early 2000s was heavily influenced by the products designed here.

Also in Kyoto is Japan’s most famous traditional attraction, which is the Fushimi Inari-taisha Shrine. This shrine is located on Mount Inari, adjacent to Kyoto. It is famous due to its multiple trails of thousands of torii gates. The climb is long but it is worth it!

The weather when I was there was fantastic. It was misty, which led to an incredible feel of mysticism.

After spending a couple of days in the lower part of Japan, I took the train north straight to Tokyo. There I saw multiple staples of modern Japanese culture. One most will recognize is Shibuya Crossing. Everyone my age remembers the iconic scene in “Fast and Furious: Tokyo Drift” when the characters drifted through this famous and crowded crossing. Unsurprisingly due to editing magic, the crossing is did not seem as big as the movie made it seem. But it was definitely amazing visiting an iconic place where the movie was filmed!

Next to Shibuya crossing is also the place where the famous story of the dog Hachiko took place. In remembrance the city built a statue to celebrate the loyalty of this dog! As a bonus, when I visited there were two kitties taking a nap beneath the statue!

Overall my trip to Japan was amazing; It was everything I wanted it to be and more! After coming back to Singapore it was time to prepare for finals and projects so I became incredibly busy (which is part of the reason I was not able to make this blog right after my trip).

Here is a video my dad made for the blog.

My journey to the east is over. I am so happy that it happened but incredibly sad that it ended!

Now, it’s time to go back to SDSU and finish my degree. Thank you to the Study Abroad Office at SDSU, to NTU, to my parents for waiting for me a whole year and to Be International for giving me the opportunity to share my adventures around Asia!

Be International — go big, leave home!

Martin Ahumada Padilla is a mechanical engineering senior. He is studying abroad at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore for an entire academic year.

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