Meet Daria


Meet Daria

Cherry blossoms, samurai, and kimonos - a dream trip to Japan!

Daria is a 17 year old girl who has been bravely battling Hodgkin's disease - a cancer of the lymphatic system, which is an important part of your immune system.

Daria's dream was a very special one - to visit Japan! Daria has always been interested in Japanese culture and wanted to see all of the places she had read about.

Last month, Daria and her parents travelled to Tokyo, Japan to take in all that Japan has to offer. More importantly, it was a time for Daria to relax, recharge, and remember what it means to just be a kid!

Thanks to our friends at the Fairmont Winnipeg for their generous support of The Dream Factory and helping make Daria’s dream come true.

Daria sent us this letter detailing some of the highlights from her Dream Trip, and we are excited to share it with you, along with some incredible photos:

Konichiwa, Dream Team!

I would like to tell you about my dream trip to Japan that you have organized for me. I will tell my story starting from the limousine that took us to the airport. I had indescribable feelings. It was the first time I rode in a limo and I was feeling like a celebrity too!

After the long flight, we finally came to my dream city - Tokyo. We arrived at night. The lights from the signs and restaurants on this night made me feel the life in this city.

On the first day, we went on the Dynamic Tokyo tour. We visited the Tokyo Tower where we enjoyed the amazing view. Tokyo is enormous. My eyes could not cover the whole thing from a bird’s eyes view. Then we went to the tea ceremony in the park. I tried at first the matcha green tea and participated in this beautiful ceremony. The whole process is not about drinking tea, but is about aesthetics, preparing a bowl of tea from one's heart. Then we visited the empire palace. We walked around because the door of the palace opens only twice a year: on New Years and on there Emperor’s Birthday.

On the next day we attended the Mount Fuji tour. The day was sunny and the sky did not have clouds at all, so we could enjoy the view on the honorable mountain. People said we are the lucky visitors because Fuji usually gets hidden in the clouds and it is impossible to see. This day we had a boat tour around Ashi Lake and went up to the top of Hakone by ropeway. We can observe Fuji and other mountains and hills from the top of Hakone. It is spectacular view, calm and majestic.

I remark that Japan is a country of colors. They have a lot of flowers and trees around. Each garden is like an art piece for me. For the first time, I saw the ocean and tasted it (thanks to dad) – it is salty! The sand is greyish because of volcanoes. Above us flew a falcon (there are a lot of them instead seagulls), but there is so many of them that we had not paid any attention. Suddenly it made an attempt to steal food from my mother’s hands. We were a little shocked and then laughed about it the whole day long.

My favourite part was wearing a kimono. The most beautiful piece of cloth I have ever worn. It made me feel like a Japanese princess.

On the fourth day, we went to the oceanarium – Sea Paradise Marine where I had a chance to touch my favorite animals. They were the penguin and beluga. They both are so soft and cute, that I had the biggest smile on my face in the world. Also, I had a chance to get the pearl from the shell and left it as a ring to myself. Moreover, a charming walrus showed us a beautiful performance while he was being fed.

The next two days we spent in Kyoto - the ancient capital of Japan. There we went to my number one temple. Fushimi Inari Taisha which means a temple of foxes, big red gates, and bamboo forest. It is unimaginable how it was possible to put so many gates and hold them all to one main temple. Unfortunately, we didn't manage to reach the very end but we had enough of this small part to enjoy the whole view and atmosphere. After this trip I feel much enriched spiritually than ever. Furthermore, we saw a Ryoan-Ji. It is a rock garden where you can meditate. Also, I was a ninja and the last samurai. We had a training session with rules of how to be a good ninja and who are the samurais were in real life. I am a big fan of katanas so when the man was performing I was paying attention to every move.

My favourite part was wearing a kimono. The most beautiful piece of cloth I have ever worn. It made me feel like a Japanese princess. We went to the Ueno park, the most popular for people who enjoyed the sacura (cherry blossom) blooming and a lot of people were paying attention to me and wanted to take a picture or communicate with me asking where I’m from and etc. This place was full of cherry trees and their blossomings. It was so gorgeous. I loved how the people were so happy every time leaves fell. I was dressed in the kimono for about 5 hours and it was a fantastic time.

That just a short story about how I spent my amazing trip. Thank you so much for the opportunity to fulfill my dream! I will remember this for all my life.

Arigatou gozaimashita!
- Daria