In Japan!

October 15, 2009

Tokyo must be one of the most amazing cities I have visited. My first time in Asia has been so far nothing but a very  happy  and quite inspirational sejour. I feel so comfortable here! Everyone from our group does.  We decided that even though we heard and read how welcoming Japanese are toward foreigners, what we  experience daily, is beyond expectation.  Tokyo and Tokyans are amazing, truly amazing.

Isolated till 1853 from the rest of the word (except some trading with Dutch), Japan has  kept its unprecedented uniqueness that I found and admire everywhere.  I cannot get enough of the imaginative, hip fashion of all Tokyans, the variety of hairstyles, hair dyes, and overall sophisticated yet contemporary and original fashion. I love the super modern architecture juxtaposed by Shinto simple and elegant  shrines, and by elaborate  yet serene Buddhist temples. I  admire the  absolutely efficient subway system and I admire as much the perfectly organized sushi bars, the Ramen noodles standing only bars,  and all of the food I try – everything so delicious and so different and truly indigenous. But do not take me wrong! Japanese do belong to the world with a number of Starbucks and Cold Stones and McDonalds, but that is not our destination. And in spite of those familiar places we see here -  Japan is so much itself and it is what I admire the most.

Japanese people are the most polite, respectful,humble and genuinely kind people I have encountered on any travels. The respect for their elderly, the respect for their guests, the respect for any customers is so inspiring and at times almost moving! What I have experienced in the last four days is wonderful and unexpected.

Everything in the city works incredibly smoothly. With 31 million people in Tokyo and about 300 000 people  running daily through e.g.,  Shinjuku intersection,  it is admirable how well is all organized. You have very polite and professional uniformed officers everywhere – in the stores, by the buses, in the subway, in museums – who are helping, advising, controlling (gently but efficiently)  crowds and traffic. Everything is working effortlessly and everything is very clean! 

 Tokyo is full of bicycles (and very nice ones!!) out of which none is locked!

I enjoy the bustle, I enjoy the salary men returning home after a long day lively debating in their dark suits with a beer or to go sushi in hands – heading to a bar or restaurant to discuss yet more business. I enjoy as much the indescribable beauty of the Shinto shrines.  I am taken aback by the Buddhist temples. I love the super modern architecture of KenzoTange, I love the random skyline of Tokyo that is unplanned yet charming…

Well, I (we) love it all and we try to get the most out of the sweet air of the ancient city of Edo that became the  modern city of Tokyo  managing to preserve both: the ancient elegance and sophistication with the contemporary modern sophistication, accompanied by the utmost intelligence how to run life smoothly. They created life  that has room for unseen amount of respect, modesty and employment of incredible talents.