Hi everyone!!! Here I am again :). I know you were waiting for more info and pics from Tokyo, but I was crazy busy with work for the past 2 weeks and I really didn't have time to write a longer post.
I'm sure you know that feeling of being attracted to every new thing when you're traveling, especially when you're on the other side of the world where everything is different - culture, religion, human relations, food, interests, fashion, work approach, the level of stress, security, cleanness, in general lifestyle. When I was in Tokyo I was like a little kid with their new toy - you know what I mean - a twinkle in your eye and ear-to-ear smile all day long. I am dying of showing you another temple complex, quite a specific one, but it won't happen in this post - you would say "come on, this girl has a weird obsession with temples" ahahahah, but considering the fact that I'm used to seeing only Catholic churches, every construction with a curved roof attracted my attention.
That is why today I will speak a bit about lifestyle and culture (according to mine and my Japanese friend's research and observations) as well as about things that particularly attracted my attention; so let's get it started:
- food. I am a vegetarian, so I guess you can imagine that for me it was a challenge to find a vegetarian dish on the Japanese menu... And even if I am an Italian cuisine lover (pasta, pasta and pasta every day), I didn't like the noodles that much. In Japan, they serve noodles in a big bowl full of soup with a mix of vegetables, mushrooms, algae as well as fried egg and seafood or other meat (depends on your taste). First of all, I'm a slow eater and besides I wanted to try to eat with sticks (I thought: well, if I have no problem eating sushi with sticks, so it's impossible I wouldn't eat noodles the same way). I'm a pretty stubborn person, so imagine that after a few minutes of trying to get noodle by noodle with sticks, they became double size. And second of all, I don't like to mix tastes - a fried egg and fried seafood floating in the soup is just too much. I know, I know, I'm very picky about food :((( what can I do?!
Japanese menu :)
Japanese restaurant. You have to leave your shoes in the locker at the entrance
- security. I was positively surprised :). This is not normal at all that a city as big as Tokyo can be that secure. Before booking the hotel I asked my Japanese friend which city district she could recommend me to book a hotel when it comes to security and prices, and she said: "any district, Tokyo is very secure, believe me". At first, I thought she didn't understand me, but when I got there I immediately realized it was real. I mean seriously - where do you see a girl in a shopping centre with a rucksak on her back with a wide open small pocket carrying wallet and iPhone 6 inside or a guy dreaming in the subway car with his bag on the rack above his head???
- cleanness. Very, very, very clean! Do you know how many people live in Tokyo? 13 million - will you believe me if I say that I didn't see trash on the streets, not a single wrapper or a butt (and people do smoke there) or a chewing gum stuck to the sidewalk? Well, you have to believe it because it's true :). I think it's incredible.
Removing chewing gums from the sidewalk
Cleaning subway cars on most stations
- fashion. People feel totally free when it comes to fashion. You can mix colours, stripes with grid patterns, socks with stockings and high heels, anything with anything :). However, my eyes were particularly attracted by a very specific garment - KIMONO :) I was lucky I could see a Japanese couple about to get married wearing traditional kimonos :) PS. Did you here about Tokyo fashion and shopping district, HARAJUKU? I will talk about in the next post :)
The happy couple
- anime. There is a serious obsession about anime characters among teenagers. I saw quite a lot of girls wearing anime contact lenses, but once I saw girls dressed like anime, that was no longer a strange thing for me.
- interpersonal relations. Japanese people are not that into talking and if they talk with frineds in public places, they speak quietly, you can hardly hear them. And it's an unusual thing because for example there are many people in the metro station and it's so quiet, the only thing you here is the sound of birds played through the speakers (which has a calm effect I'd say). And it of course makes you speak less loud in order not to stand out from the crowd. Japanese people are very polite, they thank for everything with a bow. It's pretty contagious, after a while you start to say "arigato" and bow down any time you want to thank for something. If you want to greet a friend or an acquaintance you just say hello which can be followed by a bow, don't you never ever kiss (on the cheek I mean) a person you don't know unless they have Latin or South European friends. I did it - why? - well, considering the fact that I've lived in South America for more than 6 years, it's the way I got used to say "hi, nice to meet you" to people here. When I'm back in Poland, I don't do it since I know it's not normal, and I totally forgot it was less normal in Japan. Here's what happened: 7 years ago I got to know a Japanese girl while being on an Erasmus Exchange Programme in Finland. We became friends and we met during my stay in Tokyo. When we saw each other, we got very excited, she kissed me on the cheek and hugged me. She wasn't alone - there was her husband standing next to her and I was more than happy to greet him as well, which he found very confusing and embarrassing. He froze and was only able to put his head back with such a fear in his eyes when I was about to kiss him on the cheek (at that moment I realized a simple 'hello' was enough). Fortunately, we managed to laugh at it during the lunch so I guess it was just his instinctive Japanese reaction, however, we just shoke hands to say goodbye ;).
Me, my friend, her husband and her son :)))) HAPPY!
- relations between tourists and locals. -"Do you speak English?", -"Uhhhmmm, no no no" :) More or less it's like that :). Japanese don't speak English or at least very little, but they are willing to help you. You talk to them in English and they answer to you in Japanese, and it's ok and helpful because when you add some gestures to it and use your smartphone, everything gets clear. I remember that we were looking for our hotel when we arrived which was supposed to be close to the riverside. We got off the metro station and got pretty confused with the map -according to it we were just one block away from the river, however, we had no idea which way it was. So I went with my map to an older man sitting on the bus stop and I was showing him the image of the river, and he started talking to me (in Japanese of course) and showing everything else but the river. We were very close the Asakusa temple, so he thought we wanted to know where the temple was and he actually wanted to accompany us to that temple. This was very nice of him and we wouldn't mind if we didn't have heavy backpacks with us, so we said "arigato" and went to look for the river by ourselves.
Concentrate Patty :)))
WHAT ELSE WOULD YOU ADD TO THIS LIST? :)