We learned that the best time to put any sort of scrapbook or keepsake together is during a trip or it just will never get done. It is a tremendously fun project and you end up with what my friend calls a "hardcopy Facebook" you can show everyone when you get home and they ask "How was your trip?"
You reallly don't need much to get this priceless keepsake. I go to my ¥100 shop and get this sturdy scrapbook with stiff pages. We just bring a pair of scissors (make sure to check this in if flying), glue (or scotch tape if you're more of a tape than a glue person) and a ballpen. That's it. The rest of the stuff that goes in there are all free. I'll give you some great ideas on what goes in there. In the lulls throughout your trip, scribble a little, doodle a little, cut and paste a little, and before you know it, you're on your way to creating your memorable visual record of your adventures.
Here are some ideas on what you can put into your keepsake:
1. Most rest stops and train stations have a commemorative stamps. There are people who have a book purely dedicated to collecting these stamps. These are usually found standing on its own small table with it own ink, the gigantic stamp (usually round) is often tied to the table.
2. Almost all business establishments like restaurants or shops have a meishi, a name card or a calling card. If they have it on display, you can simply take one for your scrapbook. Sometimes, it doesn't hurt to ask if they have one. I like adding the cards from restaurants and quirky shops that I like. It also helps me remember where I've been but also how to get there for next time. If they don't have a meishi, a brochure also works nicely. If they don't have any cards or brochures, they might have paper placemats or napkins with their logo printed on them. Some of our scrapbook pages feature these and they work well.
3. Don't forget your tickets, boarding passes and other similar stubs. They make great souvenirs.
4. Take advantage of the free maps, brochures and other free tourist materials. These make great scrapbook stuff.
Every now and then, my kids love to pull out our collection of travel scrapbooks and look through them and remember the fun times we had together. A great project for the upcoming Golden Week and holidays.