Japan is weird. But so am I so it worked out shockingly well.

I’m dealing with a nasty case of jet lag (which Victor says doesn’t exist and is just an excuse for sleeping until noon and maybe it is but it is a very good one) but it was totally worth it because Japan was totally fucking weird, but in the best possible way.  I documented a bit on twitter and instagram but a lot of you asked me for my full itinerary so you could follow it if you go to Japan so I’m going to plop everything all here.   Pitter patter…

We went to a sushi restaurant where the food comes around on a little electronic sidewalk and it was awesome except that I don’t really like sushi so Victor and Hailey ate octopus and eyeballs and I ate french fries like a child.  They were delicious though.

Victor and Hailey did a lot of exploring while I hid in the hotel room and recuperated from being around people, but I was actually able to so much more than I thought.

View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Jenny Lawson (@thebloggess) on

View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Jenny Lawson (@thebloggess) on

View this post on Instagram

And then we found a river of flowers.

A post shared by Jenny Lawson (@thebloggess) on


View this post on Instagram

Cat Cafe. This is heaven.

A post shared by Jenny Lawson (@thebloggess) on

Went to this Cat Cafe in Harajuku and it was sort of awesome because the cats are weird and beautiful but also none of them wanted to be petted because I guess they were all petted out so instead they just hid and honestly, I could totally relate.

Also, this guy wouldn’t stop looking at me:

View this post on Instagram

Welp. I’ve found my patronus.

A post shared by Jenny Lawson (@thebloggess) on

We went to the Kawaii Monster Cafe, which I thought was going to be intimidatingly scary but actually it was like if Chuck E. Cheese and Rainforest Cafe went to Japan and did a lot of ecstasy.

View this post on Instagram

Japan is a weird fever dream. But in a good way.

A post shared by Jenny Lawson (@thebloggess) on

Each of us had one thing we insisted on doing.  For Hailey it was Moosh, a store that sells squishy stuff.

Then we had a day of traveling as we went to Fuji, Lake Hakone and Lake Biwa:

View this post on Instagram

Greetings from Japan. Wish you were here.

A post shared by Jenny Lawson (@thebloggess) on

That was anticlimactic.  Also we were supposed to go to a volcano to eat black sulfer eggs but we weren’t allowed to because the volcano was being volcany.  Instead we went here:

So I didn’t see Fuji that day but I did see it from a bus days later, and it was still worth it because…

We stayed overnight at the Lake Biwa Marriot, and there was a hot spring in our room which basically was just like a bath but with constantly running water.  It was awesome except that I kept waking up thinking that the toilet was overflowing and then I couldn’t go back to sleep without peeing.

We traveled to Nara, where the deer were once considered sacred but are now a cross between being adorable and bitchy as hell if you don’t feed them (relatable).  They will bow to you if you give them crackers but maybe don’t wear a dress because this happens.  (Didn’t make a joke about them being horny even though I totally wanted to.)

View this post on Instagram

How is this real?

A post shared by Jenny Lawson (@thebloggess) on

Inside the temple there is an enormous Buddha.  There’s a giant wooden stake with a hole in it that is said to be the same size of the Buddha’s nostril and if you can crawl through it you get enlightenment in the next life but there was no way I wasn’t getting stuck inside that guy’s nose and I’m not into getting fat-shamed by Buddha in front of 100 strangers.


Victor: Should we go to a museum?

Me: There’s a place in Tokyo where there are robot wars in the basement each night.

Victor: WTF Jenny.

View this post on Instagram

Tokyo is weird. But good.

A post shared by Jenny Lawson (@thebloggess) on


We went to the Tokyo Robot Restaurant, where I ate churros and french toast and drank Zima and had acid flashbacks and it was like being in college all over again.  But with robots.

View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Jenny Lawson (@thebloggess) on


A bunch of people told me to go to a TeamLab exhibit and the tickets were sold out for the borderless show so instead we went to Planets, which is supposed to be smaller but was one of the most amazing things I’ve ever seen in my life.

View this post on Instagram

Pretty sure this is what the afterlife is like.

A post shared by Jenny Lawson (@thebloggess) on

It looks like it might be anxiety-inducing but honestly it was so relaxing and surreal.

We went to a cafe where you could hold hedgehogs and I’m not sure why we had to use gloves because I have friends who have hedgehogs and they never use gloves but maybe the hedgehogs are germaphobes.

View this post on Instagram

Hedgehogs. Why don’t they just share the hedge?

A post shared by Jenny Lawson (@thebloggess) on

View this post on Instagram

Aqua Park Aquarium.

A post shared by Jenny Lawson (@thebloggess) on

We accidentally went to an aquarium and it wasn’t very English-friendly but it was still lovely.

View this post on Instagram

Aqua Park Aquarium.

A post shared by Jenny Lawson (@thebloggess) on

The one thing I wanted to see in Japan was the Parasite Museum…

I actually have a picture of the world’s largest tapeworm (which was in some guy until he pooped it out and was the length of a school bus) but it was a terrible picture.  (Of me.  The tapeworm looked fine.)


View this post on Instagram

I thought I posted this earlier. (TeamLab planets)

A post shared by Jenny Lawson (@thebloggess) on

And on the last day we went to the Oedo Tokyo Antique:

And then we got on a series of planes that were delayed so many times I lost track, but after over 24 hours of planes, we got home.

My depression is still in recession so far so I was able to do so much more than I expected.  I kept thinking that I was going to end up sick and exhausted but it never happened.  I told Victor how lucky people are who don’t have to deal with depression or chronic illness…and how they can’t really appreciate how amazing it is to be able to live without exhaustion.  But then I remembered how lucky I am to have a treatment that is working so far, and to be able to go to Japan at all, and to have you all in my corner.  I guess luck is relative.

109 thoughts on “Japan is weird. But so am I so it worked out shockingly well.

Read comments below or add one.

  1. I LOVE Japan, and I haven’t even been there yet. I have a close friend who has lived there (American who relocated for their spouse & career) and I’m so jealous every time I hear of the cool and weird stuff there. Though it will probably never happen, one of things on my bucket list is to visit Aokigahara … with several escorts, of course. Never alone .. at night, in the dark.

  2. Looks like y’all had a blast. Everything is so beautiful. I’m so happy you were able to go and enjoy yourself! 🙂 ♥

  3. I feel you on the chronic illness thing (I have Crohns, and am constantly exhausted, even if I get 8+ hours of sleep every night).

    However, JAPAN! Pretty cool. I’m glad you were able to do a lot of stuff there. Everything does look pretty interesting. I just went to Thailand a few weeks ago (for work!) and it was my first time in Asia.

  4. Wow wow wow!! The electronic fish look amazing, your patronus is hysterical, and it looks like you had an amazing time. I’m so glad you got to enjoy yourself!

  5. Tell Victor jet lag is totally a thing or to put it in sciency terms “your circadian rhythms are out of sync with the local diurnal cycle’.

  6. Fantastic. Thanks so much for sharing. I’d be glad you got to go, though, regardless.

  7. I never really had an urge to go to Japan until reading this. Maybe I should start playing the lottery….

  8. You went to Todaiji! It was one of my favorite temples to visit in Japan, just so surreal. I was about thirty pounds lighter and ten years younger at the time, but I made it through the hole in the column, cheered on by a very nice young Japanese couple who spoke no more English than I spoke Japanese, but I guess when Enlightenment is on the line, we’re all just human. 🙂

  9. You did a LOT! Great job, especially because it looks like you had such fun doing it all!

    When hedgehogs are startlwd, they hiss, jump, and poke out their spines. Wearing gloves can keep them from being dropped, as people who are stabbed with a thousand needles are inclined to do.

  10. Planning a trip to Tokyo in September. Thanks for padding my itinerary! Can’t wait!

  11. The way your daughter is able to laugh at herself SO HARD after falling off a chair tells me that you’re raising her right, and she’s going to go far in this world.

  12. Welcome home! You had a fabulous trip, we are all so happy for you. Now to cuddle with the cats and adorable Dorothy. Chill for a few and enjoy being home. Love ya. HUGS

  13. This looks like such an amazing trip. Your daughter’s face is just lit up constantly. I’m so glad you got to enjoy it with them!

  14. I had a friend who went to Japan and was obsessed with documenting every KitKat flavor she could find. Some sounded wonderful and I was all jealous of the Japanese people; others were WTF, and I was glad that I had no idea they existed until then.

  15. I’m so glad y’all were able to take the trip. What wonderful memories!!

  16. I don’t think I’d ever have the nerve to go, but what a great post! It looks as magical as I think it would be. I’d have to hang out at all the temples, etc. because I just can’t handle THAT MUCH light, sound, frenzy! Thank you so much for sharing and I’m OVER THE MOON it was such a great trip for you. <3 <3 <3 (P.S. The picture of the three of you is so fantastic. You all look so happy! And I LOVE the pic of Hailey just prior to falling off the chair. 😉 )

  17. Yes you DO deserve a medal (for not mention the giant ball thing and SO much more!). Also, Victor is WRONG, there IS such a thing as jet lag. When I come home from Europe, it took me 5 days to snap out of it. Don’t judge yourself. Rest and take some Airborne so you won’t get a cold. Welcome back and thanks for the pictures!

  18. The three of you look so happy in the photos! I’m so glad you were able to get out and do things.

  19. I’m so happy that you got to share this amazing journey with your family. Fuck depression, fuck rheumatoid arthritis and all the other crappy stuff you have. You sure showed those fuckers who’s boss (for now), and that’s all that matters.

  20. I literally cannot stop laughing at that patronus cat. What a fantastic trip! I’m so glad you were able to join them – it looks like such an amazing time. 🙂

  21. I’m so glad for you (and Victor and Hailey) that you were able to enjoy so much of the trip. It was awesome and courageous that you tried, not knowing how it would be, and even better that it paid off. You give hope that it can be better, as well as the comfort of knowing that you (and so many others) have been through/are going through similar things. It’s good to be able to share your joy, thank you.

  22. This made me want to visit a country I never had an ounce of interest in.

  23. YOU DID SO MANY COOL THINGS! Good for you. (Also, you and Hailey have the best dresses!) I may be living a little vicariously here.

  24. It looks amazing! I love traveling, but I’ve always been a bit afraid of going where the language doesn’t use our alphabet. Maybe I’ll go to Asia someday after all! I am thrilled for you that you were able to enjoy so much.

  25. The best part of your pictures and videos is seeing you out there with your family and not hiding in the hotel the whole time. You looked like you were having fun. Way to go, Jenny!!!

  26. So, I used to love to travel. And there are so many places I still want to go. But my depression has gotten BAD these last three years, and I was kind of afraid I’d never travel again. But my crazy treatment (ECT) is working like your TMS is working, and you have given me SO much hope!!! Thank you for sharing your struggles and triumphs. And thank you for sharing your spectacular pictures! You make my life brighter and more hopeful. Thank you for all of that!

  27. So glad you got to enjoy Japan–it is an amazing experience. It can also be sexist to the max so I am glad you didn’t have to deal with that.

  28. We have never considered Tokyo/Japan/that-part-of-the-world in our travels. Never had any interest. At all. Now I want to go ASAP, and I would like for you to send me an itinerary and contact emails for the places so I can get started booking it. And I know it won’t be a moment of trouble for you to do that, of course, so thanks in advance. (I don’t need to insert a wink emoji, do I?) P.S. Your travelogue made the entire trip seem 100% magical.

  29. That looks amazing! I’m so glad you got to go and enjoy all of those wonderful sights!

  30. Fantastic! You look great, and you did it! 😊😊🤩🌹🌹🌹🙃

  31. That looks like a fabulous trip! The fact that you were able to experience and enjoy so much makes my heart happy ❤

  32. Wow that looks incredible, especially the hedgehog cafe. It makes me want to go to Japan even more now. You must feel so happy you were able to do so much and have a normal family holiday for a change.

  33. I am so glad you had a nice vacation, Jenny! And, I am so glad you felt well enough to go places. Your pictures are awesome. I hope some day I may go. Who knew Tokyo was so cool?

  34. I make it a habit to refrain from complementing youngsters’ physical appearance; I’d rather compliment an accomplishment or ask them what excites them. So don’t tell her I said the, but Hailey is stunningly lovely.

    Thanks for the report!

  35. How fun! Thanks for sharing! I wish I could go now, too.

    And just to be relatable (spell check is telling me that relatable isn’t a word, but it IS), you maveling about how lucky people are to not have depression — I’m in awe of people who can walk just fine with both legs. I broke my leg in 5 places in February. The bone is healing nicely, but the incision got infected and now I have a huge ulcer over the top of my ankle and I have to wear a wound vac (which is literally a vacuum that sucks out liquid (ew) and tries to pull the sides of the wound together and the liquid goes into a canister that’s in a black bag that I have to carry around). So I’m still in a hideous boot and still can’t walk. So — that long story is to tell you that I get where you’re coming from. I’m so happy you did well in another country! Now, do that here and things will be glorious!

  36. What an amazing trip! I didn’t know how much I wanted to go to Japan till you posted! Now I MUST find a way to go! Glad you had so much fun!

  37. Your trip sounds wonderful, but best of all, it looks like you had a great time! I’m so happy for you!!

  38. Such a fantastic trip in so many ways! Not the least of which was that you got to be there with your family. You all look like you are having so much fun, even when Fuji refused to make an appearance. Flashing lights, flashing cats, bowing deer, hedgehogs, robots, tapeworms and temples! For you that adds up to an epic vacation and that is the best thing of all! Welcome back. Must be hard to travel in a regular car instead of a super pimpin Liberace bus. I got a migraine just looking at it!

  39. It looks like an amazing trip and I’m so glad you did so well. I think your Purr-tronus was trying to telepathically convey that
    You were looking at the model for your next book cover! Also- my goal is to use volcany in a sentence at east twice this weekend

  40. What a wonderful trip! A real bonus that you felt good even after the long flight. Enjoyed the photos and commentary!

  41. What an excellent vacation and I’m soooo happy you were able to enjoy it Jenny! I love all the pictures you’ve shared and I’m sure there are a ton more. I commented on one of you, where you look so happy and confident…it’s beautiful. Thanks for sharing the photos and highlights with us!! oxoxoxo

  42. These are so magical and weird and why don’t we have cool stuff like that here? It’s like we’re not even trying.

  43. Japan is somewhere I’ve wanted to go for decades, but being poor (like, really poor now) and having several chronic illnesses means I’ll never go now.

  44. Fabulous travel account and photos!! Thank you. I am so glad you could go and plus do so much there. I want to go! Can you cat sit??? Keep moving forward. Prayers for your depression to go away. Keep moving!

  45. What an amazing trip! So glad you got to go, was able to do all that stuff, and shared with us. Your smile is amazing, and Hayley and Victor look great, too!

  46. Thanks for sharing your amazing trip with us and I am so glad you got out your hotel room to see all of it! Your family is beautiful.

  47. The 3 of you should take a group of us on a tour of “your” Japan. It would be a blast! On the whole, we’re pretty much as whacked as you so we’ll all be on the same page!

  48. Your adventures really make me want to go to Japan, and also I’m so happy for you that you got to enjoy the trip and do so much fantastical and weird stuff! Following the trip via your Instagram felt the same way that visiting all those road-side attractions in American Gods made me feel. All the Gods are happy about our accidental worship, I’m sure.

  49. I’m so glad you got to go to Nara! I lived in Japan for three years (nowhere close to Tokyo) and Nara was my favorite place in Japan. I’m so glad you went to Japan and felt good and got to see things. Japan is beautiful and wonderful and magical.

  50. I’m so happy you were able to do so much. I understand what you mean about having chronic issues that can interfere. Wonderful that everything worked out so well!

  51. Japan knows art and color and how to make them come alive. I love the dear that bow when you feed them. They are intelligent and learn like so many other animals. Thx for sharing your trip with us!

  52. I just discovered a bunch of things I want to do in Japan. We want to go next year. I have anxiety issues too, so this gives me hope.

  53. Looks AMAZING! My wife went to Japan a few years ago and called the deer at Nara the trust fund deer, since they are just living off of the goodwill generated from the original sacred deer.

  54. Oh! Yes, oh, yes, oh, yes, oh, yes! Well then, now that my way too public orgasm has been shared here, I’ll just say, ‘Welcome home,’ followed by, ‘Thank you for sharing all of this stuff, despite it possibly inching you up in the List of Whackjobs!’ Okay, okay, I’m on the list, too! My latest blog post should lay to rest the reason why I’m there.

    ‘Just a quickie here because I swear that Jenny Lawson (The Bloggess) and I must be related in some way. Yes, like even closer than we are members of the same species and cohabitants of this planet on the same time frame.

    Okay, I’ll leave this down to those of you who know me.

    then we found a room filled with HUNDREDS of giant balls and I didn’t make a single joke about testicles and I want a medal.

    Balls, balls everywhere, and not a drop to drink.’

    (The link and even content are here because I cannot futz this out. Gah!)


    So, hee!

  55. I’m so happy you got to go Jenny, and that you had such a great time! It gives me hope (for myself, not you, I already have oodles of hope for you❤️).

  56. What a cool experience. I do not know what I would eat there. Glad you had such a great trip! Love the sleep-cursing!

  57. We went to Japan last October, and it was amazing. We also did the Robot Restaurant. The Japanese might be slightly insane but I love them. I have chronic migraines, so this was our biggest trip in 25 years. It took many back-and-forths with the Japanese gov’t so I could bring in all my meds, but we did it and then I HAD ONLY 3 MIGRAINES! I couldn’t believe it. It is an amazing gift to be with your family instead of in bed, so I can relate. So glad you took the leap and did it. Just trying to take a trip like this is such a risk when you have a chronic issue, and I’m beyond happy for you that it worked out.

  58. Jet lag is totally a thing and coming from Asia it is AWFUL!! It is also the most maddeningly illogical thing your body can do. Example: Your body on a normal day where you’re tired: I think I’ll nap at 4 p.m. and get some sleep! Your body at 3 a.m. with jet lag: Whee! No way can I sleep! I think it’s 4 p.m.! See? Doesn’t make sense.

  59. You missed the Godzilla hotel in Shinjuku! It even roars on the hour during the day!

  60. I’m so glad you had an awesome time & things went well! Also, I’m always the one eating french fries or chicken fingers or grilled cheese like a child. You’ll get no shame from me.

  61. Amazing. You look like you had so much fun and LIFE. Japan is on my bucket list now… so furiously happy you were able to do this AND ENJOY IT!

  62. What a weird and wonderful vacation! Hailey is an absoluely perfect combination of you and Victor, first of all. Her smile fills the room.

    So many questions. Dinosaurs, hypnotoads, and Buddha’s nostril … that’s a lot to process.

  63. Jenny, thank you. Thank you for sharing your life. For reminding me that life is weird, and beautiful, and worth sticking around for.

  64. Y’all plan the most amazing trips! Have you considered starting a travel agency where you basically pan your own vacations and then other people can sign up for the same itinerary?

  65. I really like the large baby/Weeble, although I don’t recall the ads on Saturday morning exhorting children to “punch the baby, knock it down!” Ah, Japan. Glad you had an amazing time!

  66. Even the videos were waaay too much sensory stimulation for me. I’ll just stay home, thanks.

  67. gives me hope for the future that i will be able to go places, thanks Jenny. Im glad you all had a great time =)

  68. That tour bus is straight-up pimpin’. It’s a damn valet for ho’s.

    Your Pal,

    Storm the Klingon

  69. I’m a big chicken about traveling, but your pictures and stories show me how much stuff is out there that I need to go see!

  70. Way to go YOU! All the way yo Japan and back in one piece. If you ever go to England, see The Gnome Reserve in Devon. 2 acres of Gnomes along with 2.5 acres in the Fairy Garden. Most fun!

  71. It takes your trip to Japan to get me to actually say something instead of lurking in the background 🙂 (old habits die hard!) One of the places on our ‘family holiday’ list, hopefully we get there before I’m too old and decrepit lol Go, you, for not letting depression stop you having what looks to be a fun trip. As usual, your words had me in stitches. We have a cat cafe here too (south coast of England) and the customers take a back seat to the cats 🙂

  72. My best friend is currently living in Japan. She is the one who introduced me to The Bloggess. I wish she could have seen you while you were there. It would’ve made her day!

  73. Thanks for sharing! All of the techno stuff is making me anxious even in front of the computer, but the mooshy stuff, parasites, temple, and flowers are heavenly. So glad you were well enough to enjoy the trip <3

  74. Jenny, you are amazing! I couldn’t have done half what you did. So brave! The picture of you on the ferry is the best one I’ve ever seen of you. You are beautiful, and more than that, you look so happy. So glad your treatments are working so far.

    Watching the videos of the Robot Parade showed me I live in a black and white world. Not sure I could survive in that much commotion, colors and flashing lights. I’m in awe of your courage.

  75. You found London peoply, but not a peep about the mass of humanity in Tokyo? That’s a big change right there. Congrats! Plus throughout the photos here, you’ve never looked more, uh, Furiously Happy.

    A excellent travel blog as well, making all of us happy,too. Win-win.

  76. Good for you! Yes, it’s all relative. I fell and shattered my ankle in December and had a very rough recovery which is still ongoing. I was feeling very sorry for my poor self for a while. But then a friend of mine had a sudden, unexpected heart attack and died last week and she was a year younger than me and only 51, so yeah. I can handle being gimpy for a while and am grateful to still be here.

  77. The Japanese for “statue of cat giving you a high-five” is “maneki neko” and the only reason I know that is that I was once married to someone crazy depressed and amazing.

  78. This is so amazing that it makes me want to cry. And yet gives me hope at the same time. I have been afraid to fly since October 1996 so I feel stuck here in California. I am jealous and at the same time sooooooo happy for you and your family!!! Good job getting yourself to this point!!

  79. Stationary or Pen stores – did you go to any? I’ve heard they are the best in Japan. It’s my thing so I’m dying to know.

Leave a Reply