It has been two weeks since we returned from our week long stay in Japan, and I am already planning on going back. Japan was beautiful, the weather was amazing. I grew up further north and had not realized how much I had missed the colder weather that I have always associated with early spring. Hawaii is great that the weather is always warm and consistent, but it lacks the reminder of the passage of time as shown through the weather.
Everything in Japan was so polite, everything from the people themselves to the way you eat is so polite. The utensils and sitting position are such that you take up as little room as possible, so as to not be in the way of the people around you. In America, we spread out more, by sitting cross-legged and using utensils that force your elbows out. I love the group based culture of Japan, I find it to be a lot better than the individualistic culture of America. There are more examples of differences, but I found the fact that the utensils we use to eat even displayed the cultural politeness of Japan.
I hope to do my graduate school studies in Japan so that I can spend more time there and diversify my knowledge. I think it will assist me to better understand other cultures and connect me more to my Japanese peers allowing me to bridge the differences between the two cultures. Until then, I am taking Japanese as my foreign language so that I will be able to survive in Japan (and get accepted to the graduate school in the first place). Wish me luck. 🙂
Below are some of my favorite pictures that I took while in Japan and a bit of commentary on them.
Three weeks ago, we arrived at Narita Airport in Japan, this was the first picture I took upon arriving.
While we were driving from the airport to our hotel, I noticed every 500 meters, a green phone sign. It took me a while to realize what it was. This is an SOS phone for if you are in an accident on the highway and are stranded, you have a way to call for help. The added benefit is that the authorities know your exact location to come and assist you. I felt that this encapsulated the difference between Japan and US governments, in Japan, they actually care about your safety and try to help you by planning for any situation. I dare you to find something like this in America where our highways can be much longer with mile markers that don’t help to locate you.
Out of a desire to be artistic, many of us took a photo of this flower growing on the side of a tree branch at the folk house museum. It is one of my favorite photos thanks to the lighting.
We went to see the cherry blossoms a couple of times, and we all took many photos. This is one of the better ones that I took. The blossoms are just beautiful and I understand why a friend of mine was upset that she didn’t get to go home to see them this year.
I fell in love with the tea garden while we were there, the stone shrines and towers with the water and the trees created a scenery that was simply breathtaking. Shortly before coming to Japan, I had started meditating to help with stress, and during our free time at the tea garden I sat (in an, unfortunately, prime photo taking position) and meditated for nearly thirty minutes. It was the perfect place for such an activity, and I want to go back.
I loved Japan, and am incredibly grateful for being allowed to go on the trip. I made a lot of friends (which is saying something, since I don’t have many of them), and hope to keep in touch with them.
Thank you, and I can’t wait to go back (possibly for good).