Japan was not even on my list of pending travels when my friend Manuel was determined to go and to make me join him. I thought “Why not? It will be good, for sure”. Two trips later, and almost three months there, I love Japan with all my heart and soul. I love Japan so much that what hurts most is knowing that I would not be happy there rather than how much I miss it. I liked that so much that I began studying Japanese on my own to feel somehow I was a part of it, and out of respect for the kindest people I’ve ever met. And yet, the longer I was there, the more I realized it was not my cup of tea. Japanese society has a unique problem: the most important thing is please and pretend everything is good. I’ve met three Spanish guys about my age who lived there. None of them was really happy, all of them because of the same reasons:
- The Japanese are as kind to strangers as reserved to their friends. Their kindness is overwhelming, sometimes even ridiculous. They make so much effort to be nice, that when you have spent some time there, you learn to distinguish how they really feel. In the end, those three Spanish dudes felt lonely.
- They spend too much time at work, that doesn’t necessary mean they work too much. Average working time is 50 hours per week, whether productive or not. A Japanese never leaves his job before the time he is supposed to leave, no matter if he already finished it two hours before, or if he still have two hours train ahead before arriving home. Although of course, things like these are also improving.
But back to what concerns us now, tourists, who I always separate from travelers, will not notice this. Japan is one of the best travel destinations in the world, simple as that. Visit Japan is delightful. The cities are modern and ancient at the same time, Tokyo and Kyoto are two of them that nobody should miss. The beauty of the temples can compete only with its nature, sadly missed by tourists. It is very easy to get organized, extremely safe to travel, and there are no more polite and helpful people than Japanese. I only regret I didn’t go before. You are already late…