Tokyo Pride & A Summit in Shinshiro!

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Macks Koontz
April 24, 2023

At one of the LGBTQIA+ events recommended to me by one of my favorite professors (AIMO), they mentioned Tokyo Pride, and I knew immediately that I wanted to go. They have pride events in Nagoya too, but they are after I leave, so I knew for sure I wanted to go to this one. Being able to go meant so much to me, and I had so much fun! 

In addition to being able to go to Tokyo Pride, I also spent that Friday night and the Saturday before at Shinshiro for a summit! It was such an amazing and relaxing time there. I got to go hiking and see some beautiful nature, as well as meeting a lot of new friends. Plus, I got to use an Onsen for the first (and second) time. I was incredibly scared at first, but honestly literally nobody looks at you or cares. Once I got over that initial fear, it was very relaxing. Luckily, I had a lot of support from my friends. I honestly thought it would be more awkward with people I know being there, but it kind of made it easier and more fun.

Then, on Sunday morning, I headed out around 6am and caught the train and then the Shinkansen for Tokyo! I got there around 11am, which is right about when the event started. Tokyo is so much busier than Nagoya, so it was a little intimidating at first, especially because I was alone. 

Side note: if you’re planning on going, I would recommend going with friends! It was definitely still very fun, but I think it would have been like 10 times more fun if I had been able to go with someone else/a group of people! 

But anyways, once I got over that initial intimidation, it was very cool. There were so many people, and also significantly more foreigners than in Nagoya. There was a festival with a bunch of cool products and photo opportunities. Then, after a few hours, there was also a parade. It was really nice to be able to see so many people in support of this kind of stuff, especially Japanese people themselves! Honestly I almost cried so many times. There was a place where people were giving out hugs, and I knew I just couldn’t do it because I would have been in tears. Plus, the parade itself just made me so happy. Seeing everyone so happy and being able to be themselves was so cool. I will say though, I do kind of wish I had registered to walk in the parade itself rather than just watching it. It was still amazing just watching it, but if I get to come another time I definitely will register to walk in it! After spending a fair amount of time at Pride, I headed over to Shibuya Crossing, and afterwards went to Tokyo Tower! Both were very pretty! Although it was just a day trip, I had so much fun! It was definitely worth it. Hopefully one of these days, I will be able to go again and be able to spend more time there though :)

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Macks Koontz

Hello! My name is Macks and I'm a sophomore at the University of Tennessee majoring in Child and Family Studies with a minor in Japanese. I love learning, hiking, reading, and playing the guitar/ukulele. Studying abroad is super important to me and I am so very excited to be able to share my journey with other people :)

2023 Spring
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University of Tennessee - Knoxville
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