Manuel’s Trip to Japan for the First Time:
I recently went to Japan, the homeland of rich culture and birth place of some of my favorite art forms such as, anime and arcades. I met up with the amazing people at ili to pick up the translator, which saved my life in so many situations, some were so stressful I couldn’t even think about recording the event. The biggest life saver was when I went to a remote island that had a gate right off the coast and I was able to efficiently communicate and was able to figure out the times and which ferry to take, even if we missed the second to last ferry.
Though my favorite moment I used ili was when we went to the Chureito Pagoda, which is the Pagoda that overlooks Mt. Fuji, which requires over 400 steps. It was a difficult walk but, on the top, we met a couple of friendly guys with these giant signs on them that said “English in-training.” We started talking to them and they only knew very small phrases in English but I wanted to learn about their story. So I used ili to communicate with them and I found out that they just got a job as electrical engineers in a local power plant and the company wants to train them for management position but in order to be any form of management in this company they need to learn English, so every day on their breaks they climb this huge hill and walk all the steps so they can practice their English. This was just mind blowing, the sheer amount of commitment to this company was just crazy.
We quickly became friends and they started to show us around and became our personal translators, while we taught them different English phrases they were able to translate the different texts from the shrines that we had no idea how to read. We had the power of ili for a short time and the power of Japanese literacy. As our day in Mt. Fuji was coming to an end we quickly grew to miss them cause not only we missed their vibrant personalities but their literacy skills.
Next we went to Hiroshima, it was a rainy day and there were these steps on the river side and of course my adventurous side kicked in and I decided to go down these steps. There were signs all over saying “caution” or “slippery dirty steps don’t be an idiot” as we were going down and some guy was yelling at us, I’m assuming to stop. But as you might be guessing we were unaware of the warning signs and the inevitable happened and we all fell on this one specific step right before the final two steps as if it was mocking us. Three of us took a comedic dive on these steps one by one we all started tumbling down getting covered in mud and to add insult to injury we had an audience across the river laughing at us that only intensified as we all took a dive into the muddy steps of Hiroshima, that is something I would never forget. Covered in mud, bruises, and a broken lens (yes, I broke my lens) we luckily had ili to help us find a place to clean up get some cheap clothes.
We had a ball taking a dive and so did the locals. I’m just glad that we had a one-way translator to figure out what we need without being made the butt of joke. These are lifelong stories I got to experience with lifelong friends. All in all I had an amazing time and it was elevated with having ili tagging along in the fun.
Hi, I’m Manuel Izquierdo but my friends call me Manny. I’m a traveling film maker and photographer; you can find me on Instagram @mannys.travels and on my website. I love going to new and exciting places, learning the culture, hearing people’s stories and getting a small capsulation of those individuals lives. Most of my time, I’m working on creating amazing content for different brands’ social media feeds.