I don’t know about you, but when I arrive in a new country or city I just know if I could live there or not. I knew about Florence, I knew about Munich, I knew about Bangkok, and now I just know about Japan.
I’ve wanted to visit Japan for a looong time, but for some reason I never managed to organize a trip there. Maybe it’s because I thought it was too expensive (it’s not as bad as I thought), or maybe because I thought it might not be as “exotic” as some of the other places we’ve been traveling to (it was), or maybe because I was worried that it would be too cold (it was absolutely perfect). But somehow, finally, last April, Alex and I went to Tokyo, Kyoto, Kobe and Yokohama for our spring break.
It was amazing.
Really. In every way. It was one of those experiences where you don’t even have to leave the airport to realize that you could be happy living there forever. Literally.
As soon as we left the baggage hall, we could see the carefully marked signs pointing us in the direction of the public transportation. Oh, the joys of public transportation, such sweet relief after having to cajole taxi drivers all around southeast Asia to cart us here and there. No stress about watching the meter or wondering if you’re being taken on the “scenic” route. No haggling about the fare. No barely-functional jalopies that look like they might actually fall apart en route.
But that’s not all, when we actually lined up to buy our tickets, for the bus mind you, there were porters. Wearing gloves. Gently cradling the baggage into the underbelly of the bus.
And of course, there was a system. Buy a ticket, get a baggage tag, tag your baggage, put it in line, handy digital display tells you in multiple languages which bus is arriving and when, when your bus arrives the guard tells you to get on, and the handlers put your luggage on the bus.
And everything runs on time.
Now, I know what you’re thinking. This sounds a lot like Germany, and thats true. But, really, these are the things I loved about Germany. Plus, the country is full of Japanese people. Adorable, respectful, quiet, geeky (in the cool Japanese way) people.
I mean look at this:
What other country in the world would have something like that?
So, long story short, here’s hoping our next move is to Japan (whenever that may be).
And, by the way, the fun didn’t stop in the airport bus terminal. We had a great time the rest of the week too. We:
discovered soba noodles (how had I lived without soba noodles?):
wandered among the cherry blossoms:
pondered the serenity of a zen garden:
gawked at the stunningly beautiful, traditionally dressed ladies in Kyoto:
learned that everything tastes good when it’s pickled (well, just me, really):
saw some lovely couples getting married in both Kyoto and Tokyo:
contemplated the meaning of life in temple after temple:
strolled in the many green spaces of Kyoto:
slept in a room with a view in Tokyo:
hung out with lots of friends, new and old:
geeked out on the subway (it is Japan after all):
and found my true favorite ramen (I only wish I knew what it was called in Japanese or the name of the restaurant we found it or basically anything about the ramen aside from it’s deliciousness in the hopes of someday enjoying it again):
I can’t wait to go back!
Have you ever been to a place where you just know you could live there?