Sunday, June 1, 2014

My first visit to Japan in 2007

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My first visit to Japan happened in 2007. I was a student back themequipped with only a very bad digital 2MPix camera and I did not know much about travelling. It was my first big trip on my own.

I did experience a culture shock when I first arrived to Japan, but I experienced another one when I came back. Japan is really different from any other country. The language barrier can be a problem, but everything else works so smoothly in Japan, I got used to it quickly and then I missed all the little things back in Europe.

In Japan everything is convenient (especially if you understand Japanese) and people who offer any kind of service are always trying to do their best to give the best service possible. Sometimes I was surprised how they already expected what I wanted. Even with zero Japanese I was still able to get around just fine.

During my first visit I got my share of a good food, history&culture and weird Japan. One of the weirdest experiences was a visit to a parasitology museum in Meguro, Tokyo which I happily revisited during my other visits as well.



However the first visit was a bit scary and I can highly recommend visiting it only after you've eaten. I went there before lunch and I planned to eat sukiyaki that day, a really delicious dish, that unfortunately includes handling raw beef, cooking it yourself and dipping it in a raw egg.



I have gladly left the cooking up to the nice waitress who guessed I have no idea how to cook or eat it.


After spending a few days in Tokyo I went to see the beautiful temples in Kyoto. I had a JR pass, a very convenient ticket from Japanese Railways that allows unlimited travel using trains and some buses around Japan except in the most expensive shinkansen trains.

I went to meet a friend of friend in Kyoto and I told her a wrong time of arrival. I did not have a phone andwith zero Japanese I tried to explain to the person sitting next to me on the train that I really need to call somebody. Fortunately the nice gentleman was accompanied by a very friendly and English speaking Japanese woman who explained everything to him and later we all became good friends. Everything went better than expected :)

But it was raining in Kyoto and I soon realized that weekends in Kyoto are a bad idea. Even in the rain, every temple was crowded and I really wonder how can anyone take such beautiful pictures of them without the crowds...


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