Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Travel Tuesdays: Japan country report

As usual for my country reviews, this is not the kind of trip report you'd find in WikiTravel or Lonely Planet. I've linked to each of those travel reviews above.

Rather I just want to provide my perceptions of Japan.

Japan is one of my favorite countries, both culturally as well as culinarily. I've thought that if I had to be exiled to another country for the rest of my life and I couldn't leave the borders of that country, I'd pick either Japan or Italy. Many would think that Japan is so foreign that a westerner could never truly fit in, and while that may be true, I've found a lot more in common with Japanese sentiments than American ones. I've even had the comment more than once that I apologize more than a Japanese person. I understand and respect the dedication of purpose as well as knowledge of responsibilities that an average Japanese citizen carries with them. Of course I don't agree with everything Japanese. They still hunt whales commercially under the guise of scientific research and have been really quiet about their revisionist history regarding the atrocities and rapes they conducted during World War II, particularly in China. Furthermore, a lot of Japanese youth seem oblivious to their own recent history or about other parts of the world. 

But these minor points aside, there is so much to love in Japan that I hesitated going for many years because I wanted to learn the language and have a long trip to better absorb the culture. I'm glad that I didn't wait, though I wish I had kept up my Japanese classes and like so many other languages, I hope to resume my studies at some point. 

Nevertheless, despite the confusing streets and fact that very few Japanese speak English, I've always enjoyed myself in Japan (though you really have to watch your expenses as certain expenses are remarkably cheap, like the amazing sushi in 7-11 convenience stores, while it is also extremely easy to find over-the-top expensive options... of course the quality you get for such expense will always be high in Japan). 

I definitely want to go back to Japan again and again and want to add it to the countries that I can live and preferably work within, and one dream I have is to conduct a coral reef survey in a triangle from the Ryukyu Islands up to Japan "proper" and then down from Tokyo through the Izu Islands and Ogasawara Islands to the Northern Marianas and Guam before heading west through Micronesia to Palau and connecting back up to Okinawa. Such are my dreams, and Japan is a great country in which to dream. And I'm sure that if Shakespeare had been aware of Japan he would have found ample similarities to many of his characters and one could easily see a Japanese version of Romeo and Juliet with hardly any stretch of dialog.

I've still a lot to explore in Japan as I've only been to Fukuoka, Osaka, Kyoto, and Tokyo... and I've yet to go to Mount Fuji, Okinawa, or into the heart of the Ainu and Shintoism in Hokkaido. Then again, I could list everywhere in Japan as in need of visiting!




しかし、脇にこれらのマイナーポイント、私は言葉を学び、より良い文化を吸収するために長い旅をしたかったので、長年のために行くことを躊躇し、日本で好きにあまりあります。私は私の日本のクラスを維持し、非常に多くの他の言語が好きでよかったのに、私は待っていなかったのが嬉しいんだけど、 、私はいくつかの点で私の研究を再開したいと思っています。

私は間違いなく何度も何度も日本​​に戻って、私が住んでいると、好ましく内で動作できることを国にそれを追加したいしたい、と私が持っている一つの夢は、日本に琉球から三角形のサンゴ礁調査を実施することであるパラオにミクロネシアを通じて西見出し、沖縄へのバックアップ接続する前に、北マリアナ諸島、グアムへの伊豆諸島と小笠原諸島を通じ東京からダウンし、 "適切な"と。そのような物は私の夢であり、日本は夢に大きな国です。そして、私はシェイクスピアは日本を意識していたならば、彼が彼の文字の多くに十分な類似点を発見したであろう、1つは簡単にダイアログのほとんど任意のストレッチでロミオとジュリエットの日本語版を見ることができると確信している。



  1. Hi,

    Coral reef is very beautiful, however, snow and ice landscape is also attractive part of Japan.

    Please visit Abashiri (in Hokkaido) in Feb. or early March. Great Sushi and sea ice will welcome you.

    Abashiri (Memanbetsu Airport) is 1h30m far from Tokyo(Haneda), there are 5-6 flights par day.

    Have a nice trip!

    1. I remember reading once that the busiest flight path in the world was between Tokyo and Hokkaido, and I've long had an interest in the Ainu as well as all of Japan. Japan is truly one of my favorite countries and I've long thought that if I were ever exiled and had to live in another country for the rest of my life, I'd choose either Italy or Japan. So certainly I'll get back to Japan one day (soon I hope) and visit Hokkaido! Thank you so much for writing! Cheers.

  2. Nice to meet you.
    Because English is not proud, I comment using an interpreter.
    I feel glad that it was the opportunity when your trip to Japan of this time is significant as a Japanese.
    And I hope that it is had a splendid experience in the case of the visit on the next time heartily.
    Please call out to a Japanese nearby without reserve if I have been troubled in the case of a visit to Japan.
    Most Japanese should help it in all sincerity.
    Only one point wants to convey a personal opinion while I had a look at your blog.
    About a thing as for it during World War II.
    I want to introduce the animation which spoke for many Japanese opinions about here. Because I cannot write it in the comment column.
    By the way, this animation was broadcasted in U.S.A.
    About World War II, I think that I rarely hear a Japanese opinion. Please refer to it.
    Thank you.

    1. Thank you so much for writing. I am sorry if in my little bit of writing on Japan that I may have offended anyone. I have Japanese friends and I've long been interested in Japanese culture as well as history. So thank you for providing the link and I think with all issues a fair perspective should be taken and everyone's opinion should matter. Since I am not Japanese, perhaps it is even unfair that I write anything about Japan except my personal experiences there, which has been nothing but positive. I agree with you that every Japanese person I've met in Japan has been excited and eager to help if they could, so thank you for your country's hospitality!

  3. I have long hoped to get to Okinawa and the Ryukyus... ever since I was a child. From a coral reef perspective it is a shame that the USA military has pushed for the building of an airstrip over coral reefs in Okinawa since the 1960s... thankfully their efforts have failed (which is partly why the US is moving a lot of troops to Guam and removing reefs there). Now that United/Continental airlines has connections to Okinawa directly from Guam, I've been eye-ing the route and I hope to visit soon! Thank you for the kind words!

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