Japan. Thoughts, wonders, insights, and speculations – part 8 and last.
1. Japan is filled with Japanese. Despite the high number of tourists, the streets look and sound homogenous, and it feels that there are very few foreign faces, even in Tokyo, that is supposed to be more cosmopolitan. We asked our guide on immigration (which is very difficult to do in Japan), and on mixed marriages. He told us that Japanese women will marry western men, and Japanese men marry only Asian women. Chauvinistic, sad, and corresponds with previous insights.
2. Apparently it is very difficult to distinguish between people from different South East Asian countries by looks. An interior designer I once knew says she distinguishes between them according to their clothes, while the guide says he listens to their language.
3. Sadly, I felt a lack of coffee/tea shops, or other places to sit and relax. Those who know me are aware that I’m always on ‘turbo’, both in Israel and outside – I need to manage as much as I can (I skip breakfast and lunch, eat something on the way, and have a proper dinner when it’s dark). But sometimes, even I get tired (and mostly need Wifi, which I couldn’t find outside of hotels) – but there were only restaurants, and infinite number, and bars. I reach a state where I was glad to find a Starbucks (terrible coffee, repugnant design, and no free wifi) – but I least I could sit for a moment, if there is space.
4. Talking about Starbucks: It seem that the sentiment to the USA is completely positive, limiting admiration. We asked our guide: A terrible war, two atomic bombs, no bad feels..?
He told us that the samurai morals ingrained in them forces them to respect the foe after a battle ends. Vendetta, for example, will be ‘an eye for an eye’, but will be limited to a single generation (and won’t continue with future generations – unlike the Beduin). When his foe dies, the samurai is supposed to bow down to his corpse, and sometimes make him a god (apparently anything can be considered a god, including cats or even tables).
So yes, they love the United States.
5. And if we mention bowing down: We saw many women bending, up to 10-20 degrees horizontally (in my opinion). Possible explanations: Exaggerated bowing? Rice field work? Anybody knows?
6. Fuji is apparently fiction. We weren’t able to see it, from anywhere. They say that’s how it is during the summer. I’ll have to go back during spring then.
7. I must confess that in my opinion Tokyo is more urban intensive than Japanese. Not that it resembles London or New York, but it’s mostly a huge metropolis.
8. Architects, and architecture enthusiasts: I found an application that locates interesting buildings in the area, map them out, and provide very interesting details. One of them doesn’t even require wifi. Recommended not only for Japan.
9. The Japanese, are fascinating. Their culture and country is beautiful, but I feel they are a complicated, sad, limited nation. All the screens and packages, in architecture and in clothing, it seems that they’re hiding many secrets. A two week trip left a will for more, but I couldn’t ever live there. I feel that my some of my life’s happiness would’ve been sucked out
10. I write fast, immediately after the landing and despite the stress, as to not forget. Overall, the writing was an unexpected experience the added to all the other experiences in the last two wonderful weeks. I’m not an expert, and don’t claim to be one, I just wrote on my personal, subjective thoughts and feelings. I was surprised by the amount of interest and replies that the post brought, and I was glad – I enjoy writing, and it almost doesn’t happen.
I must thank the man with me, that planned, navigated, kept me from being ran over, payed, learned by heart all the complicated timetables of all the public transport we used, willingly agreed to enter every museum I wanted to visit and view every building i asked, and allowed me to photograph, write, and mainly experience.
In the photographs:
The menu at a coffee shop we found on our last day, written on the wall.
A junction in Shinjuku, Tokyo – crossings on every side.
A rushed course in purchasing train tickets from machines. Simple, though not.