Welcome back to Feature Friday! This week we have the pleasure of getting to know Nicola, as she shares with us her trip to Japan. It was super interesting for me to read what she had to say, because I love hearing other people’s perspectives on places that I’ve been. As she was able to stay longer than I did, she visited several different cities, so it was cool to be able to experience them through her pictures and words! Come find out more about her trip!
1. Thank you for being a part of Feature Friday. Can you tell us your name and a little bit about yourself?
My name is Nicola and I live in Vienna. I was born and raised in a little village in Tyrol and moved to Vienna when I was 30 to start working in a company in Marketing. One day I received a camera and took a beginner’s course in order to understand the gear. And then it happened: I fell for photography. And then I started traveling. This year I quit my job as Head of Marketing for a beauty brand to set up my own business which will be photo workshops and photo vacations and marketing freelancing.
2. What country do you call home?
3. Which country did you recently travel to?
4. How long was the trip?
It was 2 weeks.
5. Why did you travel to Japan?
I had Japan on my bucket list for a while, but haven’t had any plans to visit the country so soon. The one thing you always read: it’s so expensive. Then a friend of mine which I haven’t seen for quite a while called me and asked to go on vacation together. Spontaneously I said yes and we both agreed to go to Japan.
6. What native dish was your favorite to eat?
Ramen. But here’s the thing: I’m struggling with people making noises while eating. In fact, I just can’t stand it. But in Japan it is common courtesy to slurp the ramen. That was a dilemma because I couldn’t really enjoy my dish with all the slurping around me 😉
7. What was the most unique thing you ate?
Another confession: I am not good in tasting unique things. I grew up in a small village and we never tried exotic food. I think I was 30 years old when I first tried fish. Can you imagine? Fish is not exotic at all! But for me it was. I’m trying to improve and taste, but I’m still not the foodie. So to answer your question…there was nothing really unique I ate. Unless you count matcha ice-cream unique?
8. What was your most unique mode of transportation?
When we left Tokyo and headed to Hakone, we first used the Shinkansen bullet train, then the idyllic Tozan train, the cable car and finally the ropeway. It was quite a long journey, but it was great to take different modes of transportation and the view from the cable car and the ropeway was stunning.
9. What was the weather like during your trip?
We had sunshine, clouds, grey days and pouring rain. But overall, it was good.
10. Where was your favorite place to go in Japan? Why?
We were in Tokyo, Kyoto, Hakone, Hiroshima, Miyajima and Nara – every place has its own characteristic and none of them can be compared with each other. I really like Tokyo because of its crazy and unique places but I also like the very famous sights in Kyoto like the Fushimi Inari or the Bamboo grove. Even though you know these spots from photos, I loved to explore them by myself.
11. What was the funniest thing that happened to you on this trip?
I was approached by a guy who said he wants to be my boy friend.
12. Did you learn anything during this trip?
Oh yes. I learned to never ever go on a trip again with someone you don’t know properly. I haven’t seen my friend for nearly two years and to be honest we didn’t know each other very well before. It was spontaneous and I love spontaneity so I said yes.
13. What was the best part about your trip?
I can’t really break it down to one thing. Well, finally seeing Mt. Fuji after a cloudy day was just great and I was totally happy. Being able to see many facets of a country is the best part about traveling.
14. What was the most challenging part about your trip?
Huu…definitely the communication with my travel buddy. It turned out that we had nothing to talk about. It never happened in my life before to have zero communication with someone. One might think there is the traveling together which brings up a lot of topics to talk about. At the end we only talked about the organizational things about the trip and went our separate ways.
15. What is your favorite picture you took on this trip?
It’s not easy to choose one, because I took about 1500. But I really like this picture of Fushimi Inari: the symmetry, the color and it was not easy to capture this part without any people. Recently someone asked me why I’ve chosen such an ordinary picture as the featured image on my Japan itinerary blog post. At first I was dismayed by the question, moreover about the word “ordinary”. She explained that an image of Japan which is not that characteristic than the Fushimi Inari would be more appealing to her. This is actually a good point, however, I love postcard images the same how I love unique sceneries. When I travel, I always capture both: famous postcard spots and less known places.
16. How does Japan compare to Austria? Were your expectations met, or did they differ completely?
Japan is totally different from Austria in so many ways. The culture is different. Japan is much bigger, the cities are much bigger and more crowded. But both countries, Japan and Austria, are blessed with beautiful nature and amazing architecture. My expectations have totally been met.
17. If you were to go to Japan again, what would you do differently?
I would visit some sights on different days or times to avoid the crowds. I would add another day in Kyoto and further explore this city.
18. If someone else was to go to Japan, what advice or tips would you give them?
Try visiting popular sights early in the morning or very late in the evening. Don’t worry about the language barrier. Don’t reject Japan because you think it is too expensive. In fact it doesn’t have to be costly if you do a little bit of research. Hotels are the most expensive parts.
19. Do you have any more travel plans lined up? Where to next?
Maybe Marrakesh in a few weeks…
20. Anything else you want to share about your trip?
Japan is a country everyone should visit once in a lifetime. It is unique and beautiful and crazy. The people are the most friendliest and cleanest on this planet!
Thank you so much Nicola for sharing about your trip to Japan! I recently went to Japan as well [back in November], and I definitely have to agree with you on Japan being the cleanest country I have ever visited. It was truly remarkable! I can’t believe how much you were able to do, and how many different cities you were able to visit. I’m also very impressed at your Fushimi Inari picture, because it is truly difficult to try and capture a shot without any single person in it – so awesome job! I am sorry to hear about your travel companion, but at least you were still able to experience the beauty Japan had to offer! Safe travels on your next adventure!
Did you enjoy what you read? Get to know more about Nicola!
Nicola is a photographer with a passion, and a traveller by heart. A beautiful landscape scenery lets her forget time, while a rocky shore + an ocean view make her day dream, and a road trip through a country gives her the utmost feeling of freedom. Connect with Nicola at the following: