I seriously don’t know where to start and now that I’ve started, I’m not quite sure if I’ll ever stop writing about how amazing Japan is.
Unlike the majority of the people I know, Japan wasn’t on my list of top 5 places to visit. Please do not judge me, let me continue. So when I told my brother that I’d be travelling to Japan with Tim, his response was hilarious, he said “WHAT? You don’t deserve to go there. You do not even appreciate the culture.” I thought to myself ‘I did watch few Japanese anime and movies and also love their cuisine but yes he is right. I’m not a Japanese fanatic like most of the people but I must discover.’ Little did I know that I would leave my heart in Japan.
Anyway I know what I listed wasn’t sufficient enough for a person like me to travel to Japan. I did list Japan on my bucket list and particularly having a picture under a cherry blossom tree. SO TICK THAT. Anyway I’m not here to tell you about what is on my bucket list or anything lousy like that but I’m here to tell you how Japan had an impact on me and by far, it is the best place I ever visited.
On 24th March 2017 was the day we landed in Narita Airport, I’ve travelled as a Palestinian refugee holding a hand written passport that’s printed in French and Arabic. The guy at the immigration counter was amazed and couldn’t speak English. I stood there for almost an hour explaining to the immigration officer that I’m a Palestinian Refugee and my travel document was issued in Lebanon but I reside in Dubai and yes, I’m half Filipino. That made matters much more complicated. Finally, they scanned my visa and apologised for wasting my time. I said there was no need to apologise and I thanked them for trying so hard. I instantly thought to myself ‘OH MY GOD.!!!IMMIGRATION APOLOGISING’ that really doesn’t happen and I bowed and continued walking.
Tim and I got to the train station and were trying to navigate our way, I kept looking around with an astonished face because all the signs are written only in Japanese. Gosh, I’ve never felt so helpless abroad. After walking around, Tim managed to find the ticketing counter and the lady behind the desk had the most heart-warming smile and assisted us with our journey. And at that moment, I knew I’d love Japan.
Our travel to Japan consisted of staying at reliable hostels, eating at local restaurants, learning & embracing the culture, meeting new people and enjoying the nature. All of those things that I’ve listed affected me physically and emotionally but mainly mentally.
There were days Tim and I would just sit on a bench and just observe the people walk by. I cannot describe enough on how amazingly Japanese people are respectful. That word ‘respectful’ is also underrated. I’ve never encountered such graciousness and such mannerism and without even realising it, I unconsciously began to act and speak gently. Although the majority do not speak English, they will do their level best to help out. I still remember the pharmacist who held my hand because I was crying from the pain and she assisted us till we found the right medicine. She got a booklet with pictures and I just had to nod yes or no so she could give the right prescription. Other locals made an effort to help us find our way when we got lost. Those little act of kindness to a stranger proves that humanity still exists in this harsh world.
I will post about the itinerary and places we’ve visited on a separate blog post. Tim and I visited 2 major cities; Kyoto and Tokyo. They are completely opposite and not comparable what soever, each city is unique in its own way. I personally enjoyed my stay in Kyoto and loved every single thing about it.
I see myself living there, waking up early in the morning, riding my bike and eating Japanese food and enjoying the moment. I love the simplicity of their lifestyle especially in Kyoto. Speaking of Japanese food, everything over there is healthy or offered in healthy portions. Japanese people are health freaks and all the drinks especially in the vending machine are without sugar. Being Fat is illegal. Everyone maintains their weight and are in good shape.
I’m sure you are still wondering how Japan affected me; well besides eating healthy and walking everywhere. I enjoyed the nature and fell in love with the Bamboo Forrest. Breathing fresh air everyday helped my lungs. Japan’s nature makes you feel calmness and serenity. The past doesn’t matter to them and they live the present for a productive future and to keep their legacy for the next generation.
Arigato Japan for letting me get to know you.
Till we meet again