A Year In Japan


大鳥居

Some leaving thoughts. I will definitely miss Japan. On a banal level the change in climate has been really nice. After five years of endless gray New England winters, the comparitively sun-flooded and warm Tokyo winter was a bit of a thrill. Many of my Aussie and Kiwi co-expats disagreed, but coming from winters with long stretches in the serious Celsius negatives, this year was balmy.

It will be a rude shock to start using (and planning on) trains that don’t run like swiss watches.

I never realized the extent, for better or worse, to which America is the entertainment engine for so much of the world. I never would have expected TV in the world’s second-largest economy to be so low-budget and uninspired. Not that the endless food and variety programs aren’t popular, but I never realized the production quality I took for granted in the US was not really available anywhere else, fishbowl-living, small-minded me…

The scale of Tokyo is staggering. As an amateur photographer, I am alternately thrilled and in despair over the infinite number of wonderful photo-ops offered by this massive metropolis. There are so many places I haven’t seen, and when I see an older tokyoite walking the city streets weighted down with a couple bags of photog gear, I can totally understand how a hobby can become an obsession with cataloguing the constantly-morphing scenery.

My best memories of Japan will definitely be the trips, however. To see the Peace Museum in Hiroshima and the great Shinto Gate in Miyajima. The air in Nikko. Snow pillowing rocks at Kegon Falls. Steaming onsen and cool afternoon air in Hakone. Fantastic memories. And I can’t wait to come back and see more.

4 Comments so far

  1. Zeb (unregistered) on May 30th, 2005 @ 8:24 pm

    “I never would have expected TV in the world’s second-largest economy to be so low-budget and uninspired.”

    I’m glad you said this, sometimes I think I’m alone on this one. this is the one thing that doesn’t make sense to me about Japan–the land where technology is more advanced than most of the planet, and people ‘like’ tech. Even the movies seem to be low-budget (even the big budget ones like “Returner” and “Casshern”. I really don’t get it. Japan manages to reproduce anything they want on a global level quality, but when it comes to TV and Movies, this seems to disappear. Any have any answers??

    On the upside, bad japanese TV gets me to go to more places outside than I would normally in the US.


  2. Jim O'Connell (unregistered) on May 31st, 2005 @ 1:26 am

    >On the upside, bad japanese TV gets me to go to more places outside than I would normally in the US.

    Yeah – maybe that’s it. I was horrified by how bad TV in Japan was when I came here, but quickly adapted to watching a hell of a lot less than I did in the US. After Sept. 11, ’01, I stopped watching completely and now I don’t have a TV at all.

    Recently, I read that Americans watch *on average* four and a half hours of TV a day. There’s absolutely nothing they could show that would be worth that much time out of my day…


  3. locomote (unregistered) on May 31st, 2005 @ 8:50 pm

    What an appropriate post for me to discover this blog on as I’m planning to come to Tokyo in the next few weeks to live for a year – maybe more.

    It’s nice to hear that after having been there a while, you will miss it instead of kicking the wall of the airport on the way out and flipping the ground off as the plane takes off. Hope I’ll grow to miss it one day too. ^^


  4. hmmm (unregistered) on June 1st, 2005 @ 1:15 am

    Hi from Spain (sorry for my poor english) ! I want to go to Japan next year ! It’s my dream !



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