A Different Experience

Senior Trent Tsuzaki was 12 when he visited the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center in Cincinnati, OH. Behind him is the Cincinnati skyline.

We take vacations for many reasons.  Family, constant stress and hard work, or the joy of getting away are all common reasons.

As a resident of Oahu, I personally feel like I live in a scrunched up area all the time. The Pali Highway is always backed up during peak hours with people trying to cut lanes at the last minute into the town-bound lane, just so they can enjoy a shorter time to work while making everyone else suffer. Everyday, I get irritated by the fact that my precious island is getting more crowded and Hawaii’s local culture seems to be disappearing in the mix. Life is too fast-paced. How do you feel about where you live?

Back in 2009, I took a trip to Dayton. If I had said that I was going to LA, most people would probably know exactly what I mean. Being that Dayton is not exactly a choice destination from Hawaii, it took two stopovers and a whole day to get there. At twelve years old, I was a little kid who was overjoyed to go anywhere, so I didn’t care if it sounded as boring as Dayton.

[one_third]Dayton’s personality was an example of a midwestern city which portrayed city life that many people don’t see.[/one_third]

Dayton and Cincinnati isn’t a top tourist destination. They aren’t nationally known for much, and their theme park, Kings Island (which I’ll get to in a bit), is nothing compared to Disneyland. Don’t expect the excitement of Las Vegas or the family-oriented Disneyland but rather expect a peaceful, tranquil experience. Here are some sights on our Dayton-Cincinnati itinerary:

National Underground Railroad Freedom Center

If something bad happened, such as someone stealing our parking spot or a worker giving us a hard time, I would have remembered it my experience differently. But thankfully, everything pre-entering was just fine. I first liked how this museum only had one topic to focus on, which was African American slavery. I prefer museums with a singular focus rather than ones that cover many different things such as science, history, and such. The very idea of the pain, torture, and fear that the African slaves went through convinced me to not hog every single little exhibit that little kids usually do. I was satisfied to take a picture or two and walk my merry way. It was a time to pay tribute to them and to be lucky that I wasn’t treated that way, especially considering that I’m Asian and Asians were faced with discrimination in the US as well.

Texas Roadhouse restaurant

I personally don’t consider myself very Asian (even though I’m 100% Japanese) because I tend to enjoy a more American lifestyle, especially the food. I ordered the Texas T-bone and while I can’t say that it was the best steak I’ve ever eaten, it was worthy of an expensive restaurant. The best part however was the endless peanuts and the enormous amount of mess on the floors, because the mess became something to rather brag about than to be ashamed of. I guess it’s crucial that every restaurant is known for something unique and the Texas Roadhouse was definitely memorable. I’ll always fondly remember the endless peanuts as one of the best appetizers that I’ve ever had.

Mall at Fairfield Commons

I have come to realize that every mall has some type of personality and that ones that don’t are only called “shopping centers.” If you’ve been to Hawaii or live here, Pearlridge has more of an urban setting as the designs around the mall make it look like you’re walking in a city and the monorail acts like a real rail system. The Mall at Fairfield Commons is a more laid back in that it didn’t stress anything special, yet I appreciated that other than Macy’s, none of its stores were found in Hawaii.  My favorite store was Dick’s Sporting Goods; it was very large compared to any Sports Authority in Hawaii and that it had equipment for any sport.

Skyline Chili

This is a well-known restaurant for the locals like how a Zippy’s is in Hawaii. Skyline Chili wasn’t anything spectacular and its well-known dish, Chili-Spaghetti, is similar to things I’ve had many times at home. The small portions at this place didn’t fill us up.

Kings Island

As I mentioned earlier, don’t expect it to be as coercing as Disneyland. Think of it as a different type of theme park, and a place to take a break from Disneyland or Six Flags. Its unique Looney Tunes theme helps if you can’t stand amusement parks which generally aren’t supposed to have any theme. Expect it to be more carnival-like with bumper cars and a race track, instead of attractions like a Pirates of the Caribbean boat ride.

Boonshoft Museum

The best part was that there were many different exhibits in various environments with many things to do. At age 12, it felt like a playground where I was free to roam and enjoy everything. Yes, I did say that I don’t prefer museums with a variety of themes, but at age 12, I was thrilled that it was a giant playground.

 

I actually had to miss school for this vacation so I wasn’t hesitant to go back to Hawaii. Plus, my elementary graduation was something that I was deeply looking forward to. Yet, I was dismayed to bid farewell to a less populated city which took my mind off my busy schedule in Hawaii. Calling Dayton a country-like area would be an understatement since it’s an actual city. Yet it did show me a side of American life where there aren’t many tourists around.

Oahu promotes tourism so much that the island can be very chaotic. These efforts also take away the island’s once true beauty. While I probably didn’t care about the effects of tourism when I was 12 years old, I kind of hate it now. Dayton was an example of a midwestern city which portrayed city life that many people don’t see, and even though it doesn’t have the attractions like Las Vegas, it doesn’t fail to put a smile on my face. My trip to Dayton reminded me that America is very fascinating in that each state has its own culture and that we should make it a point to visit places that aren’t popular tourist destinations.

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