In Japan

Sep. 7th, 2012 12:55 pm
labingi: (Default)
[personal profile] labingi
I am a couple of days into my visit to Japan. I have nothing groundbreaking to say, but here are some impressions...

The people, of course, are very nice, and I feel embarrassed that they speak English to me by default in their own country, but the fact is I can't figure out anything they say in Japanese. My listening skills are atrocious. I can figure out a little bit more reading, and that's been kind of fun and occasionally even helpful to my much more travel savvy but less Japanese knowing travel companion.

So far, I've been in Tokyo and Nagoya, and mainly close to rail lines. In this environment, everyone seems to be rushing. My friend tells me it is reminiscent of the East Coast in the US, which gives me some perspective on how famously "laid back" the West Coast is.

The weather is quite hot and humid (not Haiti level but enough to be tiring when you're walking in it for a long time). The evenings are lovely though.

The food is very good. I'm really impressed with it across the board so far.

The hills remind me of New Zealand.

It was very interesting visiting a Shinto shrine, though I was keenly aware of not knowing how to behave or where it was acceptable or unacceptable to be, a situation exacerbated by not being able to read most of the signs. I had an impression of bigness that I know exists but that I am not in contact with, and this is pretty much a microcosm of my whole experience so far. I feel like an outsider, observing from across a great gulf, as if I were looking at the surface of the moon. I would like to be able to come back in the future and stay for a longer period of time more settled in one place so that I can get a sense of place and rhythm, though I don't know if that will ever be feasible in my life. I have missed the window in age and life situation for teaching English there.
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