Eastern countries have always attracted tourists with their culture, customs, and philosophy of life. Unfortunately, I have never been in any of them but I plan to make a trip to Japan in the near future. A friend of mine named Bobby visited Japan last summer, and he shared with me his impressions from the trip. His story broke some of my misconceptions associated with this country. However, after that, my desire to visit Japan became even stronger. This paper describes Japan such as my friend saw it.
Bobby’s trip took one week, during which he visited Tokyo and Kyoto. I used to think that Tokyo is a city of smog, but it is not. Bobby had stayed in Tokyo for four days, and all this time the sky was clear over the city. Sometimes it was cloudy and rainy, but there was no smog. Bobby said that it was an integral part of the climate of this city about 15 years ago. Therefore, my assumptions were correct in part. The government is doing everything to prevent a recurrence of such an error (Matsuyama). For example, all production facilities were moved out of the city, and cars are allowed only with the engines of last environmental standards.
Next interesting thing which impressed me about Tokyo is the absence of traffic congestion in the city with a population of nearly 14 million inhabitants (Heaton). During the same four days, Bobby saw the congestion only once, but he did not stick in it even for a minute. Traffic jam in Tokyo is a very rare phenomenon, and it does not look like the endless rows of cars, to which we are accustomed. He said that the Japanese were able to achieve this result thanks to the multi-level thoroughfares and interchanges, as well as the right logistics, on which the traffic depends. Bobby said that Yokohama had a big problem with traffic since the logistic system in this city was not constructed properly.
According to my friend, catering in Japan is developed very well. He liked the opportunity of drinking delicious coffee everywhere. Bobby also enjoyed eating sushi and rolls. In most restaurants, the food was low in fat and with unnatural colors. My friend said that it was possible to find any cuisine of the world in Japan. Surprisingly, the Japanese are very fond of Chinese food. As expected, the Japanese cuisine is a preference for natural and minimally processed foods (many ingredients are raw), as well as seafood. Bobby says that the newcomers are very fond of Japanese cuisine, and it is a tourist attraction.
After Tokyo, Bobby got on the high-speed Shinkansen train to Kyoto and reached the city in two hours. He spent two nights in a small local hotel. Bobby said that he would not want to stay in the hotel again because of the unusual design and an almost complete absence of furniture. Kyoto is a small provincial town and the ancient capital of Japan with a population of about 2 million inhabitants. This city is famous for its historical sites (10 Best Places to Visit in Kyoto). Bobby visited the famous Japanese Rock Garden, Kinkaku-Ji, Nijo Castle, and Kiyomizu-Dera. Rock Garden is a rectangular field, which is covered with fine gravel. In this field, fifteen stones of various sizes and shapes are located. The interesting feature of this garden is that one of the fifteen stones is always hidden regardless of the angle and position of the viewer.
Bobby said that this garden disappointed him a bit. He imagined it much bigger in size. Moreover, an overview of the garden was very limited. It was possible to see it from one side only, which made it impossible to ensure that one stone is not visible from other position. However, Bobby said that despite all this, the garden was very beautiful, almost perfect from the aesthetic point of view. My friend liked the fact that the lawns in the garden were not covered by the usual grass, but moss, which was very sensitive to any contamination.
Later, Bobby visited Nijo Castle. As it turned out, this was a one-storey building. The guide explained to Bobby that the architects were afraid to build a multi-storey castle because the earthquakes were a common phenomenon in those places, and people were afraid that it might be destroyed. The palace consists of 33 rooms, and it has no heating system. The temperature at that palace was about 62 F. Despite this, there was cold like in the cave. It is easy to imagine how cold there is in winter when the outside air temperature is not higher than 41 F.
After sightseeing, Bobby had a dinner in a small restaurant, where he met a waitress from the United States, named Mary. She had been living in Kyoto, as a few years ago she got married to a Japanese. Mary said that she was satisfied with her life and had been living happy life with her husband, but she experienced some inconvenience due to the difference in mentalities. After all, 98% of Japan’s population is Japanese, and it is very difficult to adapt to their way of life. Japan has a complex system of interpersonal relationships, and it is not easy to get accustomed. Moreover, the Japanese have a completely different attitude towards work duties as well as a civil debt. However, Mary did not want to change her views of life.
After Kyoto, Bobby returned to Tokyo. There he walked around Shibuya and Ginza. Also, Bobby visited famous Takeshita Street, which sells clothing from Japanese manga comics. Bobby said that there he met young people dressed in picturesque clothes, which was quite normal for the Japanese. Then, my friend visited a Buddhist temple Senso-Ji with a strange light on the roof. Bobby says that it is a favorite place of Japanese who live in Tokyo. He went there on the subway and passed a Nakamise Street on the way to the temple which is one of the oldest streets in Japan. This street is also famous for its souvenirs stalls and shops, and Bobby bought there some cute gifts for his friends and family. He also told another interesting fact. If to look in the opposite direction of the road at the temple it is possible to see a huge yellow light. This is the building of Asahi Beer Hall, which was constructed by the designer Philippe Starck (Tokyo Most Strange Objects). This is one of the most recognizable buildings in Tokyo.
To summarize, it should be said that Bobby’s story inspired me for a future trip to Japan. Certainly, my friend had a few other expectations about Japan and Tokyo, in particular, but the Japanese culture and history have always been the subject of my interest. I plan to visit many more architectural and cultural landmarks during my journey. Japan is the dream of many tourists from all over the world, and Bobby found out that this country was not like others. Therefore, I believe that my trip will be a very interesting experience in the Land of the Rising Sun.