This time last year I was in Japan– teaching English, staying with host families, traveling, making new friends, and experiencing new things everyday. The fact that it’s been an entire YEAR is just completely surreal. I miss Japan so much, that I have decided to make a top ten list of things I miss most about this beautiful country.
1. My friends (and the Japanese People)
Japanese people are some of the nicest, most welcoming people in the world. I always felt completely safe and welcome in Japan, even if I was sometimes culturally lost! My Japanese friends were always kind enough to show me the way.
Some of my American and Japanese friends in Nagasaki: Kenji, Dana, Kumi, Shuzo, Danny, & Rachel
2. The public transportation
Japan’s public transportation system is arguably one of the best in the world (alongside France). With the 200 mph bullet trains, Japan’s extensive rail systems, and it’s reputation for being exactly on time, Japan is one of the most convenient countries in which to travel, sans vehicle. The trains are also gorgeous, with stunning interiors, AC, and clean floors, seats, and compartments.
This is the bullet train I took from Kyoto to Tokyo.
Before coming to Japan, the thing I was probably most dreading was showering and bathing publicly with other people. However, Japanese style bathing is something I sincerely miss about the culture, seeing as I love taking baths more than anything else. See my post on Japanese bathing here.
First Indoor Bath— not as nice as Global Arena, however!
The cardboard crap so-called Ramen that we frequently devour here in the United States has absolutely nothing in comparison to the authentic, amazing Japanese Ramen I had the privilege of tasting on multiple occasions. Many Japanese Ramen restaurants have a buffet line where you can choose your noodles, seasonings, and sauces, among other things. Oh, what I would give for a fresh bowl of Ramen, equipped with chopsticks, of course!
Mayumi and me eating Ramen in an authentic Japanese Ramen Restaurant!
5. Photo Booths
Japanese photo booths are something all tourists should experience in Japan. They are so much fun to do with your friends, and now with the explosive impact of social media, it is possible to upload pictures directly to Twitter or Facebook. Read more about my Japanese photo booths experience here.
Here I am with my host mother, Chie, and my host sister, Akane.
This was one of my all-time favorite cultural activities in Japan. When in doubt, go to karaoke. I am an AWFUL singer, but because half of the song collections were in English, my Japanese friends thought I was talented. Oh, little do they know… : ) More about Karaoke here.
My friend Kenji and me doing karaoke in Tokyo.
Japan is hands down, the cleanest country in the word. No trash, no wear-and-tear, and no graffiti.
Japan’s history is extensive– legitimately thousands of years old! It’s hard to grasp, especially coming from a country whose history only extends a few HUNDRED years!
The Philosopher’s Trail in Kyoto.
Japanese toilets are so unique– equipped with seat warmers, bidets, sound effects, rotating seats, and more! Though the modern-day Japanese home comes equipped with a westernized toilet, most public facilities also come equipped with Japanese-styled toilets.
A Japanese style toilet, which I used at Nagoya Airport.
10. Feeling like a foreigner
Every day in Japan was an exciting one! The culture is so different, and there was always so much to learn. Around every corner, down every street, was a new adventure.
Big Buddha, near Tokyo.
What I do not miss about Japan:
This Spider!!! It was in our sleeping quarters in Global Arena, the size of my two hands!! Gross!