I’ve been in Japan 8 weeks now, so thought I would post a similar kind of update I did back one month ago. As for what I did today, I slowed down a bit and strolled through Koishikawa Korakuen, a garden just north of central Tokyo. I have included some photos from today in between my notes below.
Ok, so after 2 months in Japan:
– Number of total places (cities, towns, short day-trips) I’ve been to so far: 24.
– Best sightseeing experience: the conglomeration of everything in Kyoto. Also, the Irozaki Coast in Izu was something else.
– Best cityscape view: Nagasaki held this for a while, but the views yesterday from Mori Tower in Roppongi were astonishing.
– Times I’ve ridden the shinkansen (bullet train): 7.
– Times I’ve eaten Japanese curry: Lost count.
– My profiency at Tokyo’s subway system: Master level.
– Favorite type of sightseeing: Coastlines, Japanese gardens and night views from skyscrapers. Oh, and interacting with the local people.
– Things I do now, like the Japanese, after 2 months here: get annoyed at faus pax foreigners commit especially on the train (as if I wasn’t a foreigner myself), not feel awkward paying a ¥300 ($3) bill at a 7-eleven with a ¥10,000 ($100) note since they always have enough cash, patiently wait at a crosswalk until the signal turns green (even if it’s a very small street), can ride the subway standing without needing to hold anything.
– Pictures I’ve taken so far: About 2,900.
– Most rewarding experience so far: Meeting and connecting with people in the most spontaneous of occasions. For example, back in Kyoto during the Cialthon event, I randomly selected one of the 10 cafes/bars during my run and that’s where I met two Japanese college students (who in turn picked that place because they were tired and it was the closest) who I then met again last week for lunch. Even they mentioned how amazing it was the way we met.
– Things Japan does right:
Convenience in all manners and forms (from vending machines to 7-elevens to the ease of using transportation and the efficiency of its industry).
Organization (the majority of citizens closely follow general public regulations, stemming from Japan’s emphasis on responsibility as a group rather than an individual.
Technology. From the automated ticket-gates that use sensors for metro passes to short TV programs on some trains for those passengers with long commutes.
Food. It is impossible to not be able to find food here. Japan is definitely a foodie-loving country, and there is a huge variety (particularly in the big cities) of cuisine available.
– Things Japan does wrong:
Women’s rights. I haven’t personally encountered this since I’m just traveling around sightseeing, but it’s usually said women are not fairly treated here with regards to social standing and in the workplace. I think this has improved lately, but I’m not in office buildings so I can’t say for sure.
Loneliness. In my opinion, Japan is a very lonely country. And many industries in fact sponsor that. The majority of restaurants have counters for individual customers, and the general feeling I have gotten so far is many Japanese live largely solitary lives. Again, this is by no means everyone, and is just a sample of what I have observed.
Anyway, that’s it for now. Thank you.