卒業旅行(4)/Graduation travel(4)


For my graduation trip from the end of February to the end of March 1992, I stayed mostly in youth hostels, in shared rooms of 4 or 6 people, and I think Japanese people tended to stay in the same room with other Japanese people, and we exchanged information about our trip there. Sometimes I stayed with Germans, I remember feeling lonely because I could not express what I wanted to say in English even though they spoke in English. I think the price was about 2000 yen per night.


In London, I was attracted by a flyer I received at the train station for a cheap hotel, and when I entered the room, I saw a woman. I thought I made a mistake and rushed to leave, but was told that it was a shared room with men and women. Whenever the woman came down from the bed above me, I felt something strange. I was afraid of other guests also, so I remember sleeping with my luggage as a pillow. I don’t think I’ll ever stay in a hotel with men – women shared rooms again.


Following the advice in the guidebook about the dangers of carrying a lot of cash, I think I took dollar traveler’s checks with me, and when I was about to run out of money, I cashed the checks at the bank and exchanged them for local currency. In 1992, EURO was not yet in circulation, so I used various currencies such as French francs, German marks, Austrian shillings, and Italian lira. Looking back now, I realize that Europe has changed a lot before and after the EU and EURO. I think traveler’s check is now no more circulated, I think I had precious experiences.


After leaving Venice, I went to Florence. I remember being very impressed by the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, the view from there, Ponte Vecchio, Uffizi Gallery, etc. It was a city full of European history. I thought the combination of green and pink was a bit strange, but it was artistic. Thinking that Italians has number one artistic sense. Florence was really a wonderful city. I left Florence to Rome.


After getting off the train at Termini station in Rome, I felt a little scared because it was so crowded. The clothes of the people on the street were somehow flashy and cool, and there were tourists from all over the world. My previous itineraries had somehow been dominated by Japanese, but Rome is by far the most popular tourist destination in the world. St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican, the Spanish Steps, the Colosseum, the Trevi Fountain… the sights are all extraordinary, and I can understand why Princess Anne said that Rome was special in “Roman Holiday. I remember feeling both envious and embarrassed when I saw a Japanese couple riding a Vespa, who seemed to have been influenced by the Roman holiday.


I think I had something to think about. I changed my itinerary and took the night train from Rome to Vienna.


I’m going to make the next blog about my graduation trip the last one.


卒業旅行/Graduation travel


In Japan, almost all university students go to travel before graduation. I am not sure still there is such culture or not, however at the time I graduated from university, definitely there was. I went on a graduation trip at the end of February 1992, when I was 22 years old.


Some of my friends went on overseas trips during their summer vacation, on the other hand, I belonged to a sports club, so I spent my summer vacation practicing/training, that’s why my graduation trip was my first trip abroad. Further more, I had never even been on an airplane before, including domestic ones.


I’m ashamed to say that I didn’t study much when I was in university, and I hadn’t even finished my graduation thesis yet, so I was planning my graduation trip while somehow writing my graduation thesis with a word processor. There was no Internet, and I remember very vividly the time when I made plans by looking at European train timetables (Thomas Cook) and guidebooks, even though it was almost 30 years ago.


The three of us from the same sports club left for London. We decided to travel separately from London, I and Mr. K planned to meet up with in London about a month later, and Mr. M had to go back to Japan after two weeks travel. Anyway I started traveling alone.


I could barely speak English, I didn’t have enough money (at Heathrow airport, I was asked at immigration how much money I had), and in hindsight, it was a really reckless trip, but I can definitely say that it is still a great asset to me.


1992 was the year of the Barcelona Olympics, so a lot of Japanese university students visited Barcelona, especially Sagrada Familia. However, as a cynical person, I decided not to visit Barcelona just because I didn’t want to do the same thing as everyone else.


The itinerary was to travel to 7 countries in 28 days: England – France – Switzerland – Germany – Austria – Italy – Belgium – England(again).


I didn’t have much money, so I stayed at a youth hostel instead of a hotel. I remember having a hard time finding a hostel because they were not located in the center of town. I think there were so many Japanese students on their graduation trips at the same time. When I tried to ask for directions, I was asked to show them the travel guide book which almost all Japanese students have. I met a lot of my Japanese friends during travel.


Big Ben in London and Neuschwanstein Castle in Germany, and so one really impressed me a lot. I cannot write all of my memories in one day, so I will leave the rest for next time.