Outside India, I have stayed the most in this country of Rising Sun. SInce childhood, I always had imagined Japan to be a Hi-tech and the photos and stories of Tokyo just went on reinforcing the image. Little did I know that behind those high rise buildings and super technologies, lie some of the most beautiful places on the planet.
My trip to Hakone mesmerized me so much that I had to request/beg the bus driver to stop the vehicle so that I can capture a slice of that beauty through the lens of my camera.
Be it the tranquility of Sasaguri or Serenity of Dajaifu, the dutch landmark of hustoun-Bosch or the everlasting memories of an unwanted visitor - Fat Man - the country enfolds a plethora of emotions within.
The dedictaion, punctuality and politeness of the folks is amazing, though sometimes it is difficult to digest their nature of sticking to the rule books .
if I look at my experience in Japan, it has been a very pleasant stay. Here are my two cents on what I feel about this country:
Japan has been endowed with plethora of natural beauty. The landscape is breathtaking at many a places. My camera could not have done justice to the beauty of the place. Surrounded by sea, segregated from rest of the world, this archipelago contains the God’s gift of beauty and is a seduction for the tourists. If you like touring and are used to have one bags packed to move around anytime, Japan has an open invitation for you. The best place I went to in Japan was certainly ‘Hakone’. Though I was alone on that trip, I never felt the loneliness. The warmth of the reflection on sunshine on the snow, the feel of air and the mountains and lake around me had me awestruck. Upon looking at some of the snaps of Hakone, one of my colleagues had told me ‘Prashant san, it looks like fairy land’. I could never go to northern Japan but I am sure it would be even lovelier.
This has been the biggest handicap for this piece of land. The language is foreign for most of the people in the world and the language of most of the people in the world is foreigner for Japanese. If you have seen the movie ‘Lost in translation’, you can understand my plight much better. I saw that movie in early days of my stay in Japan and could relate to it immediately. I thank this people who developed sign language as it is the best one to communicate with. Language barrier notwithstanding, it is generally a pleasure to interact with people here as they are aware of their limitation and make good for that with beautiful smile.
One strange thing that I find that in my eight months of stay my clients could not tell me a single Japanese word, equivalent of ‘good’. The nearest one if Daiju, which means fine or Okay but for good, I kept on asking for the word.
Food has been the toughest part of my stay in this land. Vegetarian is a term they are not much aware of. I was offered chicken, and one even beef in spite of asking for vegetarian food. If you want vegetarian food, you have to specify, no chicken, no meat, no beef, no pork, no fish and so on. One of the delicacies in Kumamoto, a place near by is basashi which is raw horse meat.
This has in a way helped me improve my culinary skills and I kept on experimenting on my friend Inderjeet, who shared the flat with me for the last eight month.
The roads of a country are like veins in the human body. The developed nations can be distinguished by the kind of roads and flyovers they have.Japan has an admirable network of roads and flyovers. Even the rail network is good. The telephone network and internet is widely spread, as is expected in any developed country. However the agonizing experience for us was that we had to wait for one full month between applying for internet connection and getting connected. In India, it hardly takes a couple of days to get a broadband connection. During the interval between application and connection, I used to log onto a wireless connection of someone – totally unauthorized. The feeling of guilt did not stop me from surfing the net.
I have found Japanese to be a polite and helpful lot. Honesty is what they need not learn from anywhere. I recently had an experience of their honesty and have mentioned in my last post. Apart from this, they are so hard working, sometimes it becomes very exacting to work with them. However I liked their hospitability. They seem to have affinity towards India (called ‘Indo’ in this part of the world). Hearing from us that we are form Indo used to bring smile on the face of the person.
All said and done, I liked the people and their country too. Arigato Japan.
Let me prsent to you, my cherised moments in the country of islands.