A beautiful place on the surface

by - December 24, 2019

girl in sunflower field

Dear Travel Diary,

My experience in Japan has been nothing short of amazing!

As I write this, I'm in a bar with a bunch of drunk screaming people. It's astonishing how Japanese have the ability to be their authentic self around alcohol but very abiding to the basic laws of the society when without.
street signs
Photo by Ramon Kagie
Let’s flashback to a year ago when after 23 long hours of being in and out of airports and airplanes, I made my descent into an unknown world full of strict work formalities and expectations of behavioural patterns. Let’s just say that was a part of the experience that I definitely wasn't ready for…

girl standing in front of banner

I came to Japan after being awarded a scholarship and little did I know that I would be introduced to a system that belittled my academic capabilities with their high-level performance standards. Also, not forgetting to mention that teachers treated me like a 5 year old child.

We couldn't use or phones or be late, we were scolded if we weren't 100% attentive in the classroom. The pressure was very evident when you weren’t performing 'up to standard'. This was all new to me and these standards were nothing like those in my home country. 

So... guess what…
people smiling
I was deemed to be one of the worst performing students!

No worries though... 

I would later be invited to attend a special 7:30 a.m. class for the students that needed a little extra help and needless to say, I made the most of that opportunity (after dragging myself out of bed of course and trust me, this was not very easy to do) ... 

The tables soon turned and I was settling in nicely, grades were up and so was I (very early too I must add). Things were looking up and lo and behold not very long after, I found the love of my life. (I would tell you how we first met and all but that's a tale for another time). :-)

man and woman smiling
The Soulmate
Talking about matters of the heart, let's jump to the delicious Japanese food, yummmm….

Now for those of you that are still reading, if you ever want to visit Hokkaido, they have great seafood but BEWARE because the cost is as lovely as the taste.
bowl of soup
How delicious!
Anyways, conformity to the norms of society was the “only” thing to do but being the rebel that I was destined to be, I found a group of free-spirited people who shared similar interests and were “against the agenda”. “Yay me!”
people dancing
Rebel with the dance moves
Here’s a little advice, if you want to come to Japan... DO IT!!!

It's a very beautiful place, super safe and the people are forced to be polite by social standards (so you should be too). You won't have to worry about a thing if you’re visiting but on the other hand, if you plan to live here, you need to be aware of the 'blatant ignorance' that passes as racism or the norms that contribute to the stagnant nature of Japan's society. 

boat on river

Visit and enjoy the view but know that there's so much beyond what you see. Japan is a beautiful place on the surface.

ferris wheel

Written by a sincere drunk.
Love Renée.

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