I wasn’t planning on doing a general post about Japan, but since this journey was one of the best I ever had in my life and so many things in general made Japan so amazing I wanted make a compilation about some thinks that I loved about Japan that I only touched in the previous blogs.
I just read a book from Meike Winnemuth who won half a million at a Germany quiz show and decided to travel for a year spending one year in twelve totally different cities. The book is in German, but if you do speak German, I do recommend to read it. Sadly she didn’t made it to Tokyo because she had to change plans due to a taifun. But she wrote about San Francisco that the city was her favorite city even before she ever visited it and when she finally went to see it, she really fell in love. I do have the same feelings for Tokyo. Since my teenage years it started with Pokémon, then Dragon Ball and other animes, then I started to read mangas, went on conventions, did cosplay where you dress up as your favorite character and so on. It was like this for many years. The mangas and animes gave me a glimpse of the Japanese culture and I started to research about Japan and everything related to it. I even learned Japanese for a few years but skipped it when I had to focus on my high school final exams. Buddhism, especially the Zen Buddhism that is very popular in Japan fascinated me and I went to have meditation classes. I started Karate but sadly all of it lost its charm when my daily duties of growing up demanded more time. Still up to today I am fascinated by Japan and its mixture of modern life while at the same time preserving traditions and keeping the mind still with so many inputs in these huge cities. I always wanted to see Japan but never had the money to go. Sure, one of the first trips I knew I will do being in China no matter what was to fly over to Japan since it was almost in armlength. I was afraid having so many expectations that I would be disillusioned, but I wasn’t. On the contrary, it was even better than expected! Tokyo as the first impression of Japan presented itself at it’s best but also all the other cities gave me butterflies in my stomach.
Japan vs China
I wrote a Facebook post about the comparison between Japan and China right after I came back from this trip in November 2016. I compared being in Japan for 13 days to 3 months in China by then. I know Japan might also have its drawbacks but reading this you will have a feeling about how much in love I was. Warning: Includes a lot of exaggeration’s, so don’t be offended. I don’t want to say China isn’t a gorgeous country, my last post should show that I do loved my time there as well! It is just that nothing could beat Japan to me.
- People greet you at the street and smile back vs people sometimes look offended or confused when you smile at them or say hello
- Everyone tries to help you if you seem to be lost vs people just shake heads if you ask for guidance and walk away
- People in the train ask you kindly if it is okay if they lower their seat back vs suddenly there is the seat of the person in front in your face
- Railway Pass vs hard to book a train ticket for foreigners
- People are quite vs people are loud
- People ask you where you come from and look curious vs people take fotos and videos from you, often without asking
- People say sorry if you occasionally bump into them vs people push you out of the way
- People are super nice, maybe even to nice, never heard so many times thank you and sorry vs why should I be nice to someone I don’t know?
- Fish is in every vegetarian dish you order vs bacon is in every vegetarian dish you order
- No food poisoning vs well, just a “few” times till now
- Left-hand vs right-hand traffic
- Everyone drives nicely vs what the fuck are rules?
- Safe to explore with bike vs a little more adventurous, so be careful!
- Maps are turned the way you look (super confusing!) vs the top of the map faces north
- Everyone waits in line vs what the fuck is a line?
- People don’t spit on the floor vs people do it all the time
- Wet tissues with everything you eat somewhere vs no tissue in restaurants, but you can wash your hands afterwards
- Everything is clean vs sometimes sadly the opposite way…
- Clean toilets everywhere (yes, even public ones on train stations, bars, shopping centers or in the middle of nowhere) vs you can imagine
- Mostly have toilet paper vs never have toilet paper
- Not a single mosquito bite vs can’t even count them
- Access to the whole www vs you need a VPN for the best sites and it slows down everything
- Pronounce l as r vs pronounce r as l
- Very expensive vs everything is cheap
- People in stores let you watch and ask if you need help vs people in stores don’t stop talking to you
- Prices are set vs time to bargain hard
I think you got a feeling for it. Here are some thins that fascinated me the most.
Kind, respectful, helpul, smiling, stylish, funny and many more. Japan is shaped by all these beautiful beings.
Want to try a cabin hotel instead of a hostel, here you can have a look. The cabins give you more privacy and less “sound effekts”. I really liked it. Even more the traditional Japanese bathrooms. Sure enough I wasn’t allowed to take a photo of it. It goes with buckets you showe over your head and has a huge warm bathtub. The toilets are not traditional and on the contrary super modern with so many buttons, sure I had to try all of them. They range from a heater to a shower for your special are over to sounds to cover up your business. Loved it =D
Manga and Anime
The best area to shop mangas, animes or fan merchandise is Akihabara, Tokyo. You find so much diversity in uncountable stores. The stories cover every genre drawn in this unique style ranging from a soap opera like story, to school life, to hentai a way of Japanese porn and further more. Thus, there is a manga or anime for each taste and each age of reader. Lots of merchandise ranging from figures, to clothing, to posters or cute accessories can be bought additionally.
Not only sushi and udon, but diverse delicious food can be found and tasted in Japan. All the food on this compilation is vegetarian and some of it also vegan. It was hard for me to find food without any fish in it but the results were super mouthwatering! I think Japan was one of the few countries where I spent a lot money on delicious food while not gaining a pound because mostly it is really healthy!
Even if you are not interested in shopping, do window shopping at least. Japan offers so many diverse colorful and unique styles wroth having more than a look at it. I loved to stroll though shops and yes, my inner girl came alive and I bought way too much. But it was worth it!
Since most of my post about the different cities in Japan I went to were mainly focused on the traditional Japan with all its history, culture, religion and nature I will not touch this topic in this post but heave a look at my last blog posts if you’re interested in these topics. I’m absolutely in love with this side of Japan. 13 days were not enough and I hope to be able to explore more of this amazing country soon!
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