Japan – the perfect combination of distant, exotic and modern. It wasn’t until I started working at Wizards that I got an opportunity to visit, as part of doing event coverage for one of our big events (a Pro Tour) there. We stayed in Kyoto, which is kind of like “old” Japan in terms of history and general feel.
I had an amazing introduction to sake – our staff dinner was at a sake bottling plant where they gave us unlimited drink chilled in real bamboo shoots. I had an adventure through the suburbs – we tried to walk back from the venue and got lost in suburbs while Japanese schoolchildren pointed at us tall white foreigners and giggled. I had my first real karaoke experience, including the best Welcome to the Jungle performance I’ve ever heard, by a slender japanese woman. I saw an honest-to-goodness temple and castle, and toured through a good chunk of Japanese historical museum. And most importantly, I got to meet a huge number of extremely nice and very intelligent residents, Magic players and not.
I aim to return to Japan at least a few more times in my lifetime, and especially spend some time in the megacity of Tokyo!