why I love Japan

Thursday, August 14, 2014

People are always asking me why it is that I love Japan so much. Apparently my 'face lights up' when I talk about my favourite country on the planet and I am forever encouraging friends and family to step out of their comfort zone and give Japan a try.

So why do I love Japan? Well here's my standard answer that I've given countless people over the last eight or so years...

Japan is the land of everything. No matter what your interests are, what you are in to or what inspires you about travelling, Japan will have the answer. Ancient culture, tradition, eye-popping landscape, food, art, sports, technology, niche culture, cities so exciting they make you dizzy, religion, festivals, shopping, beaches, mountains, architecture, temples, fashion, music. I could go on forever...

Welcome to Japan - Tokyo Narita Airport
welcome to Japan sign - Tokyo Narita Airport

...but the real reason I fell 'head over heels' with Japan nine years ago...
...the reason why I get butterflies every time I go back for a visit...
...and the reason why I still have reoccurring dreams about living in Japan...

This is a little harder to put into words. I'll do my best.

Japanese girls in Yukata, Kyoto
Japanese girls in Yukata, Kyoto

Japan is a country that made me smile every day while living there. Every day. It is a country full of surprises and unique moments. The most crazy ideas put into action. The endeavour to make everything special. 

A small example...

While on holiday earlier this year I walked out into the arrivals area in Narita airport. There was a young man in front of me of about age 20 and as he passed out of the gates and into the arrivals lounge a group of 25 or so people stood up, formed a circle around him and started enthusiastically singing and chanting. Now I have no idea what that was about, but it was an amazing welcome (even if it wasn't for me). 

Japan is quirky... machines that sing, play music and speak to you. The ability to make any object cute. The craziest fashion and hobbies. 

The people are so generous... the family we shared okonomiyaki with one evening because they wanted me to try their favourite dishes, the numerous people who have striked up a conversation with me in English and then complimented me on my 'great Japanese', and the many people who have not only given me directions over the years but actually walked me to my destination. 

People in Japan work very hard and are diligent. They strive for perfection, but they also know how to celebrate.

Have you ever unwittingly woken up one morning wondering what all the noise outside was, opened your front door and come face-to-face with a scene like this? It was a good day...

Street matsuri (festival), Japan
street matsuri (festival), Japan, 2007

Japan is also the most trust-worthy and honest country I've ever visited. 

Of course no country is perfect, and I'm not claiming Japan is. Most probably my outlook is rosy because my year in Japan really changed my life for the better. I fell in love with my husband, was pushed out of my comfort zone, met some amazing people and had some terrifying encounters. And I came out the other side with some absolutely amazing memories that I'll cherish forever.

Here's a Japan blast from the past for you... one of my Eikaiwa Junior High School classes. Don't be fooled - they were not as sweet and innocent as you might think!

Teaching Eikaiwa, Japan
 Eikaiwa class, 2006

Happy days! Have you visited Japan and got any memories you'd like to share?

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18 comments

  1. You're making me want to visit Japan even more than i already want to!

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    1. You won't regret it - worth every penny :)

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  2. I need to go!! Oh the clothes and the fashions and the people with customs so strange to me. I think my brain needs to be expanded in that way!

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    1. Hi Holly - definitely, I think Japan is really hard to sum up in words, so the only way to experience the country and culture is just go! Arm chair travel just doesn't cut it sometimes. Thanks for stopping by :)

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  3. Pretty cool, I love how you said you smiled everyday. That's huge. My little sister wants to visit Japan. I will show her this post to encourage her to make it a reality! Thanks for linking up! :)

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    1. Yep, and most days were filled with laughs and multiple smiles :)

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  4. Wonderful, I've wanted to go for so many years now. Maybe next year!

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  5. Japan is on my list of places to visit.

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  6. Such a brilliant post and what a fab trip you had. I love Japan as one of my very best friends is Japanese!
    Wishing you a happy weekend
    love Jooles x x x

    P.S thank your for your sweet comment x

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    1. Hope you're having a lovely weekend too Jooles - and thanks for stopping by :)

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  7. So fun! I'm glad that you always enjoy your visits!

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  8. I think it's fabulous that you have such a visceral connection and passion with a place! x

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    1. Thanks Amanda. Japan is the one country I'll be going back to regularly for the rest of my life.

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  9. I've always wanted to go to Japan! I imagine it must be wonderful. My bank account unfortunately, never allowed me to go :). Hopefully next year I can make it. Did you learn Japanese before you got there or did you learn it there?

    Greetings from LA

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  10. This post is perfect! You have summed up exactly what it is that makes Japan such a wonderful country, I agree with all of your points. Love your photo of the street matsuri! It really is 'a country full of surprises and unique moments.' :)

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