When my friend, Cel (another wanderlust buddy) informed me we are grabbing a seat sale promo of a certain airline, I didn't hesitate to decide for Japan, never mind if i still didn't have the visa yet, or if I didn't have the budget yet. Thankfully, everything went into place. With the help of Cel and my Japanese boss, I was able to secure a tourist visa.
Since our entry point is Osaka, we initially planned to just see USJ and have a day tour. But an old friend of Cel who was living in Hokkaido learned about our going to Japan and invited us to stay with them for a few days. So yay. :-)
"Hokkaido for real"
Even if Hokkaido is considered a province in Japan, I still think this was the best place I've been so far. For someone who has been in a tropical country all her life, it was a total novelty to be in a very VERY cold place. Hokkaido gave me my very first snow experience. :-P
Our host family (Honda Family) was very gracious and polite. Japanese people are generally very polite and kind-hearted people. I love them. :-) Emily, a Filipina married to a Japanese (Hiro Honda) took us in and toured us to various sites in Hokkaido. We are fortunate to experience living with this family, especially when you get to play with Hiro and Emily's two adorable boys, 5-year old Yujiro and 1-year old Takumi. :-)