Japan often feels like a world in itself. It’s a blend of modernity and ancient tradition, order within chaos. The Japanese approach life with the utmost respect and also a little irreverence. Its socio-cultural landscape is one of the most unique in the world. Living in Japan is always an adventure. Here are some reasons why.
Japanese cities are some of the most densely populated in the world. Yet, they seem remarkably manageable and easy to navigate. People are never late here. When the Japanese cross busy streets, they make it look like choreography. Discipline is ingrained into Japanese culture, and one of the finest examples is its public transport. Cab drivers will show up on time or a few minutes early. The Shinkansen (Bullet train) always arrives on time. Fun fact: it has an accumulated annual delay of just 0.6 seconds per train. The Japanese follow a certain etiquette for boarding or deboarding trains – an unspoken code that one must respect even during rush hour. What’s more, train stations have multi-lingual signages, food courts, clean waiting spaces, and of course, state-of-the-art toilets that make everything run smoothly.
Kindness and respect
People in Japan are gracious and kind. You’ll find numerous stories of people going out of their way to ensure your travels in the country are wonderful. Strangers offer to help when you’re lost – often making sure they walk with you until you reach your destination. Taxi drivers will offer spare umbrellas if you get caught in the rain. Thoughtfulness and the emphasis on community permeate every aspect of life. Travelers always come back with a sense of having received so much kindness. It’s one of the most beautiful things about traveling to any place, but you’ll feel it in a big way in Japan.
Efficiency, thy name is Japan
If something makes life easier, you can be sure that Japan’s implemented it. Things work exceedingly well here – so much that life after Japan can seem very difficult. When you’re back home, you’ll wonder why vending machines don’t have hot drinks. Or how you can survive without toilets having at least ten bidet settings -from auto clean, heated seats, pressure options, light shows, and music! The Japanese attention to detail is impressive, especially considering the country’s size. It’s no surprise that some of the most meticulous, highly-skilled chefs and artists in the world are Japanese. And also, why the country is one of the cleanest on earth.
Ancient societies and new
Very few countries in the world balance tradition with modernity the way Japan does. Even in an ultra-futuristic city like Tokyo, one can feel a sense of rich cultural heritage. All it takes is a detour while walking down the street to travel back in time. Shinto shrines, gardens, and Buddhist temples are oases of tradition and serenity. In Kyoto, generations of the same family still run traditional craft stores. When in Japan, it’s easy to find the unique because life is designed that way. Japan views life playfully. There’s joy in the quest for order and balance in extremes. Traveling to Japan is enriching and offers new perspectives at each turn.