Thursday, 15 April 2010

Culture Shock in Japan!

It was hard to believe that Japan is a country in Asia and only 7 hours away on the flight from Singapore. It was extremely different from all the Asian countries that I have been to - no, make that all the countries that I have been to. Japan is a land of contradictions....
  • Ancient temples and huge amazing gardens in the midst of modern skyscrapers
  • Traditional wedding in Meiji Shrine with the bride in full fledged kimono and ladies in cosplay costumes right outside the shrine in Harajuku
  • Clean streets and yet it was difficult to find rubbish bins (apparently Japanese will keep their rubbish in their bags till they see a rubbish bin!)
  • Separating rubbish by combustible, non-combustible, plastic bottles, cans and papers while using lots of papers, ribbons and packaging materials for gifts and decorations.
  • Young man purchased a fortune from a shrine and tied it to a frame with the rest of the paper fortunes, and walked away using all the gadgets and gizmos imaginable
  • Modern anime and manga contrasting against traditional paintings like The Great Wave off Kanagawa (below)
  • Busy Japanese men and women would squeezed into the trains during peak hours and yet they would not think twice to take time to guide you to where you want to go when you are lost
  • They walked extremely fast in the fast-paced Tokyo but would be patient and speak to you in slow (although still incomprehensible) Japanese with hand signals when they realised you do not understand them
[Image of The Great Wave off Kanagawa from Wikipedia]
My experience in Japan was amazing, and I will be writing more about the places and experience in Tokyo, Yokohama, Kyoto, Osaka and Himeji in my 10-day holiday in Japan. In the meantime, here are some photos of sakura (cherry blossoms) that was blooming during the time I was there.

[Edit: After finishing up my Japan travelogues, I realised that there are more contradictions, and has since added more in the list.]


  1. oooh cherry blossoms... very prettyy.... i so want to go to japan... tokyo and kyoto - want to experience the culture! been on my top-destination-to-visit list for quite a while.

  2. Prettier photos coming soon! These are only some photos taken by my compact camera. There were much more taken on DSLR!

    The cherry blossoms were very pretty. We were lucky - we were there just when the flowers were blooming.

  3. Oh. They took away the rubbish bins after the 9.11 incidents...The separating rubbish thingy is quite troublesome but I'm used to it already now.

  4. Oh... didn't know that! But it was definitely great how the streets are still so clean. If it was elsewhere in Asia, it would be a totally different story!

  5. Next time you're in Japan, leave the tired tourist circuit and see the country as it really is.
    And there are rubbish bins by every konbini and supermarket.

  6. ahh, your list of contradictions are so true!! I'm from Singapore and am currently staying in Japan. I fall in love with the country more each day :)


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