Our plane landed in Osaka, Japan at 5:20 pm on Friday evening and then we took JAL (Japan Air lines) to Tokyo that night. It was the most wonderful, peaceful, beautiful holiday I have ever been on……. I want to cry just thinking about it.
We stayed in an older hotel in the business district part of “Old Tokyo”. We were 3 city blocks form a subway station and 3 city blocks away from a neighborhood park. We could see the Tokyo tower out or window (it was only 3 blocks away over the subway station). We got 2 adjoining rooms and were able to have the children in one room and we had our privacy in OUR OWN ROOM!!!
It was quiet and clean and everyone was very helpful. After living in the Middle East for a year, it was very refreshing to experience the order and efficiency of Japan.
I really have no words to describe the overall feeling that I had while there. The best thing I can come up with is “Calm”. I felt calm for the first time in a very long time while in Japan.
There are several things that stood out about the city that appealed to me greatly. First, it was so very quiet. The streets were busy, but quiet. People talked quietly, not a whisper, but they were just soft talkers…. No cars honking, no music blaring, no yelling, or hollering. It was very quiet. Second, it was clean. There was very little trash on the ground. Every trash bin was set up for recycling (although it became a bit of a nuisance by the end of the trip since most of the bins were labeled in Japanese so I had no idea what went where..). The ladies carried around their own small towels to dry their hands in public toilets because there was no paper provided. The toilets were all automated and at the press of a button, your bum was sprayed, the toilet flushed and you were on your way. It was wonderful. Third, it was so green. Everywhere you looked, there was green. There was moss, trees, grass, shrubbery, everything. It was not artificially planted or in rows or organized, it was nature, doing what nature does – growing. The air was moist and cool and you could feel the earth on your skin. There was a feeling of oneness with nature and life. I just can not describe it. Fourth, there was little evidence of a class system. I know it was there, but in public, the waiter was treated the same as the doctor. There was no stopping your transaction to help a local, there was no wasta, there was no “I am better then so and so”. It was bliss. Fifth, everyone cued (lined) up for EVERYTHING. I mean everything! People were orderly and polite. There was no pushing shoving, cutting, nudging, or anything. When the girl at Disney told everyone to stand behind a certain line, they did. No one stepped over as soon as she turned her back, no kids started screwing around and played over the line, it was very orderly. I almost took photos of the cues to bring back here to show as an example of how to do it properly……
We spent most of our time in the City exploring the sights. We learned the subway system and used it every day all day. We walked in the rain and went into shops and visited temples. There was a temple just a few blocks from our hotel and we visited there several times. The grounds were very large and we could use a walk through their wooded area as a short cut to our subway station. They had rows and rows of small child like statues with red caps and capes on. The red caps and capes represent someone who has delayed their own enlightenment to share the path with others. They are revered in Buddhism, as they should be. On our last trip to the temple, we were able to speak with one of the monks and ask about the statues. He told us that they were the children who had died. His English was very limited (as was the case with most we came into contact with), so he could not answer our questions about more details. I tried to post photos but kept getting an error…..
We went to Disney Land one day and Disney Sea the next. It was Disney. It was fun. Don’t know what more there is to say about that. Again, the photos are giving me an error….
I went up into the Tokyo tower (I have photos to prove it) and I looked over the edge (after an hour of walking with my back against the wall). I will admit that it was a quick peek through a glass observation point in the floor, but i did it none the less. I didn’t like it.
We had fun. I am in love with Japan now. And again, we are toying with the idea of studying Buddhism seriously.
I cried on the air plane coming home thinking about coming back to this dust bowl full of rudeness, and one upmanship. I am in a bit of a negative funk in regard to living here right now. I would drop everything to move to Tokyo if it were offered.
Hopefully something great will happen here to renew my once bright a cheery outlook on life here. I don’t want to be one of those negative ugly expats that bitches all the time about their host country.
Overall, I would recommend Japan to anyone who enjoys peace, quiet and order (even when children are involved). It was just absolutely the best holiday I have every been on in my life and I never could have imagined that it would have been so freaking wonderful.
I will post photos as soon as I can.