Hey Beauties! I hope everyone is doing well during these uncertain times. Since the spread of COVID-19 and lockdown laws have been implemented across the globe, I’ve been doing my part to stay indoors, which means two things. I’ve had endless time to write (which has been great!) and I’ve been catching up on all those mini projects I’ve had sitting on my “to do” list forever. One of them being, to write about my Japan trip back in 2015! So five years later… here it is!
When I think back to my time in Japan what comes to mind are two things – I love the country and I love its people.
Before I set out on my Japanese adventure, I was told by a friend that the Japanese people are some of the nicest people you’ll ever meet and after experiencing this first hand, I couldn’t agree more.
Landing in Osaka, my ability to speak the native language went as far as counting to ten – realistically, not very useful. Fortunately for me, my friend and traveling companion had studied Japanese in school, her knowledge getting us by in almost every situation. It was only on the rare occasion when her skills weren’t enough and we found ourselves needing further assistance – which is where I first experienced the kindness of the Japanese people.
We’d been travelling around, visiting incredible places, eating amazing food and were excited to settle into our next place of accommodation. The only problem was, we couldn’t find it. Standing on the corner of a major intersection, we were clueless as to which direction to go. Not wanting to try pot luck, we found a local, got out our map, pointed to our destination and asked which direction we needed to go. To our complete surprise he stopped what he was doing, took our map and gestured us to follow him. It was clear at that point he spoke only a word or two of English. At first I was hesitant to follow, the movie Taken flashing through my mind, but then I remembered what my friend had said so we decided to follow along.
After ten minutes winding down various streets, each one looking identical to the other, we arrived at our hotel. I couldn’t believe it. He had walked us the entire way!
He could have simply pointed us in the right direction, he could have played the language barrier card, but no, he took time from whatever he was going to help us. I was utterly blown away by his kindness. After dropping us off, he smiled, bowed, then simply turned around and went on his way. Comparing this to my experience in South Korea when it came to asking directions, even in my home country, no one has ever been as nice or as selfless.
As we continued to travel around Japan, the acts of kindness just continued to grow. In Kyoto, a waiter brought us a basket to store our handbags in so we didn’t have to sit them directly on the floor and chance getting them dirty. When we were in Nowra, a woman offered me money when I found myself a few yen short at a street vendor. Then in Tokyo, gentleman on the train tapped us on the shoulder to point out that some seats had just became available to sit.
I’m sure it’s part of their culture to be kind hearted and thoughtful, but to experience it first hand was absolutely heart warming. I’ve visited countries before where the people aren’t so fond of tourists, but here we were treated with the upmost respect. Out of all the countries I have visited, Japan is definitely one of my favourites and I can’t wait to visit again.