TRAVEL: My Love Affair With Japan
The Street Gypsies is not only about traversing creativity; it's also about traversing the world; and in that vain, I've decided to invite my good friend Delvene Pitt to recount her recent trip to Japan. [nggallery id=16]
Japan is somewhere I have always wanted to visit. As soon as I landed I felt a sense of peace, joy and happiness within the community. A Japanese person will go out of their way to help you and make sure that you are not troubled; just saying the word "Arigatou (thank you)" is just not enough because you will always get the word "Dou itashimashite (you're welcome)" and a bow just to physically show that they respect you. During my whole trip, I only saw one police man; and all he was doing was giving directions. Crime is not a big issue in Japan; so much so, that they have obscure laws such as "No dancing"...(Crazy I know!); the law Has always been there because apparently late night dancing links to prostitution and Gambling. No one really listens to the no dancing rule because the Japanese are amazing dancers. In fact the Jamaican danechall scene is huge in Japan. I'd read about it before my visit, but actually seeing it in the flesh was amazing; and It's not like they're copying Jamaicans; they've have made it there own style. They even have there own "Japanese Jamaican style Patios".
I stayed in the city of Osaka, which is in the Kansai area of Japan; and not far from the traditional towns of Kobe, Nara and Kyoto. It was obvious that I looked slightly different from everyone in Osaka; but the Japanese are too polite to stare and point. occasionally I would catch a glimpse of them looking in my direction; but as soon as they caught my eye there face would suddenly turn as if they did not even notice me at all. Once a chlid was leaving school, he looked up and saw my face and looked amazed... not scared but excited like he just saw mickey mouse or something. he gasped for air and let out a big loud "woo!" whist trying to find his friends to tell them what he had just experienced. His friends tried to calm him down but the boy was too over joyed. his face was something that made my trip extra special.
Everywhere you look and walk you see bright vibrant colours; almost like you are walking through a dream world. Tokyo was definitely like a dream world. We took the Shinkansen train from Shin Osaka to Tokyo; that usually takes around 2 and a half hours, although this was a high speed railway you can't help but notice the exquisite Japanese landscapes, overlooking traditional houses and the famous mount fuji. Each time the train stops at the station you are reminded by the loud animated music that Gives you a sense of Joy to your arrival… (does get a bit annoying but that might be my miserable London mentality). Tokyo was more populated then Osaka its was easier to get around because somewhere out of the blue you would find a random english speaker that will always help you; and the JR lines is a transport system simular to our London trasport. The most breathtaking moment about Tokyo was visiting The Skytree stands at 634 meters high making it one of the tallset towers in the world, and about double the size of the London Shard. I cannot explain the feeling I felt over looking the overwhelming scenery over tokyo it was like I was admiring the whole world and watching everyone get on with there very important busy lives. Also, I love the sense of peace you get when visiting the temples. We visited a few temples. The most famous ones were the Sensohi Temple in Tokyo. We were invited to visit one of the temples by a Monk who approched us, we thought that he was inviting us to take pictures because he eplained to us that his temple was the oldest in Tokyo. When we arrived to the temple it was a small hall on second floor. I became instantly suspicious (now don't get me wrong, I may be a christian; but I am always open to other beliefs; especially buddism because I personally agree with some of its concepts). He handed us a sheet of paper and made us repeat the words "nam-myoho-renge-kyo"; chanting made me feel slightly uncomfortable so I respectfully left. Luckily he wasn't too forceful in trying too covert us I guess I was a bit silly following a guy in a foreign country, and I do not recommend anyone to do this either!!
Tōdai-ji Temple in Nara is also very popular. The temple is surrounded by wild deers. The deer in Nara have an amazing humanistic personality; it was almost like they knew how to pose for the camera; but you had to pay them for the photo with food... otherwise you might get a kick push or BITE! They aslo know how to wait for the signal to cross the road; and they bowed to say thank you for giving them food. I wanted to take one home but I would probably run out of food.
Harajuku is known for its creativity and eccentric colourful fashion. One thing I love about the style is that no one conforms; individualism is the theme. As you walk through the area, you notice the vast unique different cultures. I was inspired by the energy of the city, and fascinated by the animated world.
Japan has made me realise that although we are living in one world, our experiences and our paths are all different. I wouldn't say that the Japanese are more advanced then we are in the western world; I would just say that they do things that we would never even think of; and based on my trip, organisation, respect and care are three words that Japan will always conjure up. GO VISIT JAPAN; YOU'LL LOVE IT!