Japan. “Why should I go there for my next vacation? Why spend those two or three weeks (or four for the lucky ones) of rest in a country which many consider as distant and unknown?” Nowadays, these two completely different questions stand out amongst many others.
1 Tourisms in Japan
Tourism in Japan is booming right now. Due to the growing number of flights being offered online, the first situation many people experience before setting off is to be surfing the web and begin reading a post about discounted flights from a friend or colleague. Sometimes they receive an email from the wide range of international airlines flying to the land of the rising sun. They may think “What a tremendous opportunity to continue exploring the world!”, only to begin doubting themselves; the next moment worrying about the ‘how’, ‘when’, ‘where’, and especially the ‘how much’!
2 Mysterious culture in Japan
Secondly, and it happened to me when I decided to travel for the first time, was having a dream that seemed impossible for many others: visiting the magical and mysterious Japan. The one from the films, anime, and documentaries about ancient cultures. Perhaps you’re in this group of travelers who yearn to travel with all your heart, but still have your reasonable concerns. Whatever your situation may be, today I have decided to tell you my experience, which was (and still is) increasingly fabulous, and made me a “fan” of Japan. I will present you an objective opinion without sugarcoating it and without any presumption or bias.
3 Foods in Japan
Let’s start with the good things you have probably heard about Japan. “The sushi is delicious.” Certainly, sushi is a unique culinary experience from Japan, from the most exclusive restaurants to the most popular chains with much more affordable prices. Although I think that talking only about a single dish is very unfair to the exciting variety of Japanese cuisine! Each essential part of the daily Japanese diet – breakfast, lunch, snacks, dinner, and each one of its almost infinite ingredients – makes every meal a special and delicious event that tests your palate and every flavor that your mouth knows or thought it knew.
4 Technologies in Japan
“It’s the country of technology,” you might think as you arrive at Tokyo’s Haneda Airport and are greeted by a robot named Pepper when entering a convenience store (one of the mascots of the cell phone company Softbank; he even wishes you a good time in the country!). Vending machines with anything you want or need: hot and cold drinks, ice cream, fruits, SIM cards for your cell phone, books and even casual clothing. You’ll find this level of automation in every lifestyle in Japan, which is a great help for us – tourists who don’t know the language or even how to order food or to do the most basic shopping.
5 Organized System in Japan
“It’s all so clean and tidy.” Some say that the most advanced societies understand the importance of public space in optimum conditions of cleanliness and organization, but in Japan, it had been explained to me that this popular decision has meanings that I had not understood at first glance. It is a matter of respect for the citizens themselves, to different places (transportation, parks, buildings, etc.), to tourists and above all, to nature itself. Not wasting resources on cleaning and classifying garbage for recycling instead is a sure sign of consideration for the environment. Additionally, in a country where 70% of the land is mountainous, it is assumed that the organization and optimization of space is an urgent need, if not mandatory.
Now, since I promised objectivity, you may have also heard some other comments that scared you a little. “Almost nobody speaks English or Spanish in Japan.” With the impressive organization of the 2020 Summer Olympics, students, security and transportation employees alike, have increasingly begun to use English to communicate with tourists. However, it is still true that most people, especially those who are not engaged in businesses overseas or the tourism industry, do not speak a language other than Japanese. Sometimes, for fear of giving you bad information or not knowing how to explain things, the Japanese avoid even exchanging a few words with visitors from other countries. Fortunately, being an extremely organized country, you can find maps in several languages in most towns, and you will find signage and directions in English in the most chosen and efficient means of transportation (the subways and urban trains). Almost every museum offers rental of pre-recorded guides, as well as restaurants advertising their menus in English.
“Japan is so far away!” Whether you are in Argentina, U.S.A. or Spain, the travel time varies. At this point I should appeal to your desire for traveling and adventure, to make you understand that Japan is basically on the other side of the world. This means that the Western culture that we are immersed in arrives and assimilates into Japan in a different way. Despite being up to date with the latest trends and international culture, Japan remains an absolutely original country, where creativity, the traditional, the modern, the fantastic, friendly and incredible, intertwine with the daily life of its residents and visitors. So all I can say about it is to enjoy the journey, the movies that you can watch or the book that you can read during the hours that separates you from Japan. It’s all part of the experience!
So, after reading this humble article I have prepared for you, I hope that when asking the question “Why Japan?”, you understand that the answer is “Because there is a fantastic world to discover,” and the only way to know it is by visiting. Get ready, Japan is waiting for you with open arms!