Embarking on a journey to Japan, you will notice it is immediately different from other places in the world. As soon as you board the plane on Japan airlines, everyone bows to you. The stewardesses smile and are extremely gracious, bowing respectfully and pleasantly. Watching the video screen on landing, the airport personnel on the runway wave the plane to its parking spot and then bow to the pilots. Jumping on a bus, the attendant bows when the bus is finished loading. Japan is a highly developed, sophisticated society that holds fast to its past and culture, yet has embraced modern technology to the max.
One year after the big earthquake and tsunami that has caused a nuclear incident and tremendous destruction, it is surprising to see that life has continued to move forward better than you think for the triple whammy that Japan received. Other cities in Japan continue to be busy places of work, children happily attend school and life goes on. Had you not known what happened in Japan, you might not even realize what the Japanese have been through. Japan is a busy and thriving place.
Here are some of the unique things about Japan:
• There are braille tile markers in airports to assist the blind. You will notice them when you roll your suitcase over the bumps in the aisles and then realize the pattern for braille. They are efficiently organized in the airports.
• Healthful drinks in vending machines. It is very nice to find a fresh can of grapefruit juice, green teas and other cold drinks. You won’t see fast foods or foods at all for that matter in the vending machines.
• A lack of trash cans. Why? The Japanese take responsibility for their garbage taking it with them to dispose of it at home instead of in public places. The streets are amazingly clean too.
• Hot Springs and Baths called “Onsens.” In hotels and beautiful outdoor settings you will find hot baths throughout Japan. It is a great way to wash away the aches and pains of jet-lag and travel. Relaxing, healthful and serene, it is a pleasant way to spend the day or evening. At hotels and resorts, you will find it is perfectly appropriate to wear your yukata (summer bath robe) to dinner. You can attend a hot bath and then fully relaxed go and enjoy your meal.
• Food preparation is a work of art, prepared and served with great attention. Meals can often reach up to eight or nine courses, yet portions are served in decorative small containers so as not to overeat. Tofu, vegetables and fish are served at most meals. It is a known fact that the longest living race today is the Japanese. Healthful and productive in older years with many citizens reaching into their nineties, you can see why when enjoying a nutritious meal beautifully served with orchids and bento boxes. Dinner is a wonderful time to relax and socialize.
• Trendy and fun. The Japanese like to have a good time. They enjoy good food, dancing, music, art and health. They will greet you with a smile and treat you well.
Throughout the archipelago of islands that make up Japan, you will find breathtaking forests, mountains covered in lush green tea farms, smoking volcanoes, rivers and streams. It is so picturesque in the countryside that it feels like a beautiful dream. If you haven’t traveled to Japan, it’s a good destination to add to your travel list.