Category Archives: Spring in Japan

A Potterhead Goes to Japan

You’re a wizard, Harry!

Hagrid, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone

Ever since I picked up my very first paperback copy of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone at a local bookshop, where I paid PHP 229 ($4.50) almost two decades ago, I have been a devoted fan. I first read about this book in a magazine. Then I saw it some time later at the bookstore and bought it. Thus began my love affair with J. K. Rowling’s magnum opus. Year after year, I saved enough of my allowance—being only a poor student then—just to buy the latest book. I just got my hands on the fourth book, the thickest one in the series at that time, when the first movie was announced. I was beyond excited. I was the one who introduced my family to the magical world of Harry Potter, and they joined in the fandom wholeheartedly.

Looking back at it now, I’m glad I picked up that first book, though I thought it was pretty expensive at that time. Never in my wildest dream did I think I would be lucky enough to visit the Wizarding Word of Harry Potter at Universal Studios in Osaka, Japan. Having gone through four rides already, I felt my skin tingle in anticipation for the first time as we were walking through the Forbidden Forest toward Hogsmeade.

Then I spotted the towering, majestic Hogwarts castle in the distance. I was instantly transported back to when I first read the book. Sure, I was way past my childhood when I discovered Harry Potter, but I felt like a kid on Christmas Eve about the open her presents under the tree. My eleven-year-old niece, who shares my birthday, was just as excited.

After the longest queue we’ve ever had (easily over an hour), we finally get to experience the ride. It was breathtaking! Though I understood very little as Harry, Ron, and Hermione spoke in Japanese the entire time, it hardly mattered to me as I was so lost in the moment. Much sooner than I would’ve wanted, the ride was over and the spell ended. Still, I spent my last remaining yen to purchase these ultra-expensive-yet-worth-it souvenirs:

I had such a lovely time overall in my trip to Japan, but the Wizarding World of Harry Potter attraction will always be my most favorite memory. One that I will cherish for the rest of my life! And just like “Mischief managed,” the adventure ended and I went back to being a Muggle.

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For the Love of Kit Kats

Mama always said, “Life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.”

Forrest Gump

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Ever since I first tasted Japanese Kit Kats, I made it my mission to sample as many of the 500+ or so flavors unique only to Japan as I could. When I finally made it there late spring of last year, I had my fill of them. Still, it wasn’t enough. So far, I’ve tasted around 20—technically, including the ones I’ve had from Singapore, Malaysia, and Australia. They are not as good as the Japanese ones, to be honest.

In my never-ending quest to get my hands on as many Japanese Kit Kats as I could in my lifetime, I’m like a Pokémon junkie with a strange addiction. “Gotta have ’em all” is my motto. So here are the flavors I’ve had in order of consumption (I think!):

Regular Green Tea
Cocoa Plan (dark chocolate)
Bakeable Sweet Potato
Raspberry
Pumpkin Pudding
Strawberry
Bakeable Butter Cookie
Special edition Almonds and Dried Cranberry
Matcha Green Tea
Ginger Tea
For Café
Premium Mint
Sake
Wasabi

From Malaysia:
Mini Mocha
Mini Cookies and Cream

From Australia:
Raspberry Cheesecake
Chocolate Mint Whirl
Mocha
Orange

With more than 400 flavors out there, I know I still have a long way to go. For those out there who truly know me, there’s only one way to make me the happiest person on earth—give me some Japanese Kit Kat bars I haven’t tried before. The weirder, the better (soy sauce, anyone?). Although I must admit, I’m partial to those elusive coffee-flavored ones and the cheesecake series. Wish me luck!

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