I love travelling. I think it is the best thing you can do for yourself. Life is too short to spend in a cubicle, seeing the world from books or on TV or computer screens.
So, where’s the best place to get my year started? Japan is always top on my list of places to go and of course it didn’t disappoint.
Here are some reasons why I love Japan
The food is finger licking GOOD
While quality is utmost important, visual presentation and packaging is an added bonus. Can’t help but admiring how much effort they went through to get their already delicious dishes so pretty. You can get cheap and delicious food everywhere, not only in luxury restaurant that burn a hole in your pocket. Stop yourself making your way to frequently recommended restaurants and start exploring the neighbourhoods and districts instead. I prepared a long list of the best restaurants in Tokyo, but random picks are perfect and never fail to surprise me – in a great way. Trust me, in Tokyo you will be spoiled for choice. Ps: Tsukiji Fish Market is a must for sashimi lover! I didn’t queue hours for the famous Sushi Dai, just popped into a random shop and left with a smile on my face and happy tummy. And you won’t leave Fish Market without eating their Unagi? Yumss~
Alcoholic drinks are never my cup of “tea”. Not until I get a taste of the ama-zake. Smooth and sweet. You can, of course, find good sake in supermarkets too. Sake in Japan simply taste better than anywhere else.
Multipurpose train stations, local convenience store and vending machines
A Japanese train station is not just a train station. There are shops, malls, supermarkets, restaurants, and food kiosks. What I appreciate most about the train station is the coin lockers in various sizes. Imagine yourself moving through the crowd with bags of Tokyo Banana and Shiroi Koibito, the lockers will surely enhance your shopping experience. Just like Taiwan convenience stores are so awesome that you get almost everything from the convenient store. Nonetheless, you see vending machines everywhere in Japan, and they give you everything you need – beverages, cigarettes, and even ice creams.
The Japanese people are very patient and polite
I couldn’t get over how amazingly polite everyone was. Everyone I met during my days in Tokyo was just helpful and friendly. While getting lost looking for my apartment in the middle of the night, a lady walked me all the way to the address to make sure I got there. People went out of their way to be helpful despite language barriers. There was always an apologetic “sorry” whenever they think they couldn’t be much help. And I doubt anyone could stay mad at them. If you do that, you’re the bad guy. LOL!
Superb customer service
Everything is done with a bow. Everyone wears a smile. I was already amazed with the receptionist at Disney Resort Welcome Center when she gently pushed the handle of my bag down (as if it cost a fortune) and carried it away from me. Let alone, I do not have to collect my bag from the luggage room, it was brought directly to my room. So I bought waffles, only to realise the young girl marked the flavours according to their sequence on the box. Spare me from guessing.
Surprisingly safe and strong moral value
Going from a country which is already considered safe, I must give my thumbs up to Japan. Everyone is helpful. I have personally dropped money, Suica, scarf, and neck warmer on the floor, very clumsy I know, but as soon as that happens, I hear someone speaking to me. Although I can’t understand Japanese, it is not difficult to read their gestures.
If you walk around, you hardly see bins. But, the most amazing thing is the streets were litter-free. I guess it’s because they normally don’t eat while walking. Gobbling down the food on the streets may look “alien-ed” to the local, but food kiosks all over the country, I just can’t resist most temptations.
Seriously, where else do you get high-tech toilets everywhere? From airport to hotels to shopping malls to eateries, you sit on a warm seat (so important, especially in winter), with music playing, and then water come and wash your back. It’s was so good to make the whole ”experience” so pleasant. Luckily my AirBnb host prepared fluffy toilet seat covers, if not my butt would freeze in the cold.
Now tell me, how can you not love Japan and her people?
Towards the end of my trip, I dreaded leaving Japan. I had withdrawal. I can’t help but to think about those places on my list I didn’t get to see. I’ll definitely go back soon.