There are places you visit once, check it off your list, and never return to again. And there are some that will grab you by the heart and won’t let go! For me, that special place is Japan. No matter how many times I have been there, I can never get enough of it.
Simply setting my foot on that Zen country calms my soul. Perhaps my friends are right. Maybe I was Japanese in your previous life.
Below are some of the reasons why I love Japan:
1. Traditional and Historical Architecture
I love the country’s abundance of Buddhist temples, Shinto shrines and castles. Even in big cities, you can still find old temples smacked in between two sky scrappers. Even though there are new apartment building everywhere in the cities, but you can still see many charming traditional houses around.
2. Japanese Hospitality
I think anyone who visits Japan for the first time will be amazed with the Japanese hospitality. You will receive the best customer service in the whole planet.
Trains in Japan are known to be always on-time. If the schedule says the train will depart at 8:17am and arrive to your destination at 8:53am, you can rest assure that you will get your meeting before 9. You will not be stressed about train delays and route changes – both cases are very rare in Japan. This is the reason why Japanese people are very punctual. If you are meeting your Japanese friends for dinner, don’t be late because very likely they will be there before the meeting time.
I salivate thinking of the type of food I can enjoy in Japan – tempura,
ramen, yakitori, nabe (hot pot), izakaya food (tapas), and of course, sushi!
5. Kawaii Culture
Everything in Japan is kawaii (cute). And I guarantee you will hear this word being said at least once throughout the day, if not ten! “Kawaii!!”
Everything that you see around you – signs, gift wrapping, posters, advertisement, clothing, menus, transit tickets, buses – everything is kawaii.
6. Traditional Arts
Calligraphy, ceramics and flower arrangement are all so pleasing to the eye. To me, they are also meditative to practice. I love checking out the different ceramic bowls and admire the beautiful flower arrangements in restaurants and shops.
7. Basement Floor of Department Stores
If you are ever hungry and have no money on you, just visit the basement floor of a big department stores and you can fill your tummy with all the sample food given out by the many counters. It is also a great place to pick up discounted lunch boxes at the end of the day.
8. Convenient Stores and Vending Machines
There are 24-hour convenience stores everywhere, especially in big cities. And even more vending machines! You can find them everywhere you go – at train station platforms, at bus stops, inside public buildings and on the streets. When you feel thirsty, you are never too far away from grabbing a drink. They have machines selling magazines, umbrellas, cigarettes, lunch boxes, toys and even the unmentionables.
I love the traditional clothing. There is something about the beauty of ladies walking in the streets in their kimono. I can’t help but reach for my camera every time.
10. Cherry Blossoms
Even though Japan is beautiful year-round, Spring has got to be my favorite time of the year! There is nothing like strolling along a stream with sakura trees all lined up on both side.
The smell of soy sauce when you walk into a restaurant, the warm cheerful welcome “irrashaimase” as you step in the door, the smell of tatami mats, the sound of screen doors sliding, the coziness of sitting at low tables, the bird chirping sound when it is ready to cross the streets, the automatic taxi doors, and the high-tech toilets… I love all the little things about Japan.
I have always loved traveling but did not venture out on my own until I was in my mid-20s. After my first solo adventure to Vietnam, I have fallen in love with the freedom and exhilaration of traveling alone.
I would like to use this blog to document my travels and record memorable stories I do not want to forget. It will be a platform to share useful information and hear about others’ experiences and thoughts, not necessarily about travels but also on life in general.
Live a simple and meaningful life, enjoy learning along the way, travel the world and explore the unknown!