Friday, October 6, 2017

9 Reasons Why I Fell in Love With Japan!

A couple of days back, JNTO (Japan National Tourism Organisation) came up with an exciting contest on FaceBook that made me sit up and take notice. The contest called How to be Japanese 101 under the campaign #JapanGyan had the following question prompt: How well do you know Japan?



As I tapped the play button and started watching the video, I couldn’t help but find myself slipping by in a pool of memories, all so very beautiful. As you know, Japan, as my first international trip for 6 days in 2012, was a dream-come-true for me.

At that time, I did not know anything about the country except that I was very very excited at the prospect of being the fortunate one to be going there! The country, to its credit, was full of charm too – so that when I came back, my cup of happiness and joy was overflowing in its down-to-earth warmth and delightful wonder.

I loved Japan! Loved it without any expectations, pre conceived notions or inhibitions. Ah, true love or something like that they call it, don’t they? Everything about the country felt so right even though we differed so much in our mannerisms, habits and appearances. The architectural sights, the vegetarian food, the friendly people, the zen full culture — it was a journey travelled on the road of no expectations, only curiosity and wonder!

So what exactly made Japan so exceptional that I fell head over heels for it, and how well do I know Japan, let me count the reasons in My Yatra Diary...:

Peace at the Zen Temples.


Japan is home to numerous beautiful temples and shrines; I loved them all. Steeped in history and antiquity, they resonate peace and tranquillity in their spacious precincts, rock and zen gardens, and the immensely huge torii gates really do lead you unto a different world.


Hi Tech Technology in Vending machines and Toilets.

Japan’s automation and innovativeness left me speechless from the moment I was introduced to it through their technological marvels. Their vending machines serves all kinds of things – from food to drinks, from the mundane to the weird – you can find it all in there for a few bucks and button taps. Another marvel is their high-tech fully automated toilet seats that you perhaps won’t find elsewhere in the world.


Bullet Trains.



It’s almost impossible to not fall in love with bullet train or Shinkansen, the long standing symbol of high-tech Japan. It cuts the travel time by 2 hours and has an impressive record for safety too. Eagerly looking forward and can’t wait to see its Indian version in action, now that the project is rolled on the floor.

Tokyo Subway trains.

After the bullet train, Japan scores another high with its complex efficient network of subway trains. Not only are they cost effective but also a highly preferred mode of transportation by more than half of the local population. Fewer things beat the joy of discovering a new country than travelling the local way and Japan certainly got this figured this well.

Bliss walking through the aesthetic gardens.



The love for all things nature reflects in the aesthetic and well maintained gardens in Japan. The sight of the blooming flowers against the backdrop of high towering skyscrapers in the background is not just a sight but a style statement that reflects the character of the city. And why only gardens, taking a walk by the streets is like soaking my senses in bliss therapy too – what with most of the pavements in Tokyo lined by pretty little flowers and neatly trimmed foliage.


Tea Ceremony.
‘One time, one meeting’


With every sip of my tea that I took in the tea ceremony, these words by my host-friend reverberated deep in my heart – this meeting of ours is unique and it’s not going to recur again in this lifetime. So cherish every sip, every moment of it. And I do, with whole of my heart, cherish every moment of that ceremony, the essence of it, till date!

Vegetable Sushi.



You can’t go to Japan and not have Sushi! Even if you are a hard core vegetarian. After all, Japan and sushi are two things that go hand in hand. And imagine my joy when I found a vegetarian one for myself on the first day itself – thanks to the wonderful staff of Expedia. The rice, the flavours, the visual appeal of the presentation – ah, my sushi experience was truly mouth watering!

Helpfulness and Friendliness.



Sumimasen, can you help me locate this place?

One line was all it took and there it came rushing – always. Help. No matter how trivial our queries might have been but help and kindness was something that we could always trust to be by our side when in Japan. The man who left his own train to help me catch mine, that man who had no idea of what we were searching for but left no stone upturned to help us find our hotel, the officer who left her seat to help us buy a train ticket, all my blogger friends who welcomed me with big wide smiles and open hearts – it’s literally impossible to list down kindness in numbers, that’s the beauty of it and how blessed am I that my Japan yatra was full of it!

Playing with the deers “Messengers of God”.

The deers of Nara are not just any deers but cherished as a national treasure and messengers of God. Feeding the docile playful creatures with deer crackers or shika seinbei, stroking their furry back and spending time with them rekindled the joy of being a child again, the simple innocence of my very being… the very message of God.

With so many reasons to fall for, Japan surely knew how to win my heart. What’s more, Japan saved one of its best reasons for the last. As I filed out of this exotic country bidding it a heartfelt farewell, I was greeted by the sight of majestically towering Mount Fuji from my airplane window. They say it’s a blessing to get a glimpse of this sacred mountain and I couldn’t agree more. The sight stamped my small little Japan story with a seal of love. A story I hope I can continue someday. Till then, sayonara!

And... don't forget to participate in the 'How to be Japanese 101' video contest and put your #JapanGyan to the test:


Visit their FaceBook Page to know more and put your knowledge to test: https://www.facebook.com/VisitJapan.India All the best!

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18 comments:

  1. I remember your visit to Japan, Arti. You met some of my favorite bloggers! I visited Japan a long time ago, and I was mesmerized by its tranquility and beauty.

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  2. Japan is my dream destination. Thank you for this beautiful post, Arti!

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  3. Nice about the country, Japan and its impressive how they maintain that green space beside all the high end technologies and tall, modern structures! And about the people, it’s really touching reading their helping tendency. Delicious Sushi

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  4. For me, Japan has been synonymous with high-tech trains and a few gadgets I’ve had.

    Glad to see you enjoyed it back then, and japangyan is so Indian centric a tag 😊

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  5. I can see why you love Japan, Arti. I have people in my family who would love to visit. The tea ceremony sounds wonderful. I've always thought that the deer was a special animal, and when I saw your title, "playing with the deers, " I smiled. They don't get too close to us here, so we have to look in awe from a distance. The gardens are pretty, so green and groomed.

    Wishing you sweet October days.

    ~Sheri

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  6. What a fantastic post, Arti. Just like all your other posts, it makes me wish I visit the place too.

    I've got huge respect for Japan because of their discipline and technological prowess. I've read about their Zen temples, Buddhism and Bullet Trains. Hope I will get to see them some day.

    Until then, I'll make do with your posts which make me feel like I was there.

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  7. So much information about Japan..Would love to visit it one day
    Want to ride bullet train and also want to taste sushi

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  8. I remember reading about your Japan posts few years ago when I first stumbled upon your blog. Hope to visit the country sometime :)

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  9. It was wonderful reading about your experience in Japan, Arti. Beautiful pictures. I wish to visit the place some day :)

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  10. I remember your Japan trip that you had shared and meeting your lovely blog friends there! Recently, I have been hearing so much about Japan, the people and their attitude to life and fellow human beings...simple, loving, considerate, hard-working and trust worthy keeps coming to mind, in a gist! :)
    This is a beautiful post Arti, thanks for the share...exp when there's so much negativity happening around...it's always heart-warming to hear something so positive!

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  11. An enjoyable read and wish you can make more trips to Japan, a lovely destination

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  12. Bullet trains is the major reason for my love to Japan. And the mentality that the people have to rise above after the nuke attacks. There's a lot to learn from them.

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  13. Thankyou Arti for sharing your Japan experience...I thoroughly enjoyed it.

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  14. You brought Japan to life. I had just completed reading a spiritual biography about The Mother and it includes descriptions of her life in Japan, where as your blog post rightly mentions, the love for Nature, gardens and everything else is beautifully done with an aesthetic sense. The Mother's Notes on Japan do not include Bullet Trains but everything else your blog has so correctly captured.

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  15. I have read and heard lot about this country.Nice to know about Japan through your post. Combination of Technology and traditions

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  16. Japan has been on my must-visit list for long.
    Inspiring indeed!

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  17. Japan has been my dream destination all along and this post is making me go there even more. I'll try to participate in this contest as you mentioned.
    Thanks
    Karthik Murali

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