Usually, when I traveled, the days are capped around 10 days. I wish it could be longer, but my full-time job usually will not allow it. So in that limited time, I always have a packed itinerary. Jamming all the places that I want to see and crunching all the activities as much as a day can afford it. I will start early and back to the hotel quite late. My hotel’s room is practically only good as a place to shower and sleep. So I don’t really need a five stars hotel whenever I went on vacation. As long as the bed is soft and the room is clean (new hotels are preferred), then I’m good.
I have the feelings that I always need to be on the go whenever I’m vacationing. So I will never be caught dead lolling around a pool or beach for the whole day. It feels almost like a sin for me doing so -not that there’s anything wrong with people who like to work on their tan that way, but it’s just not me- and will actually make me restless after 15 minutes or so. If I was found on the beach, then you’ll see me walking down the sand, taking pictures, collecting the perfect shape of shells, and then off I go to the next place on the list.
Sometimes I think I’m like the white rabbit in Alice in the Wonderland because most of the time I will be like “Oh, look at the time! I’m late, I’m late, I’m late!” On the flip side, maybe also because of how I travel, I rarely felt homesick. Being always on the go, dashing through the places will not give your mind much else to think about rather than which place that you will need to hit next and how to get there. Then when I’m finished for the day -checked mark of all the places on my list for the day- and back to the hotel all tired with sore feet, I could finally process everything that happened on the day. Although most of the time, I just spent my time before bed to check on all my social media accounts. It’s a way of how I keep myself connected to the real world.
When I said that I rarely felt homesick, it was true, but of course, there are times when I will miss all the things that are familiar. It’s all homesick being about, isn’t it? Missing out on all the familiarity of the things that you rarely noticed when you are home.
On my recent trip to Japan, I felt more homesick than the usual. The TV’s channels that I got in Japan are all locals TV and because I don’t speak Japanese, I can’t understand what they are talking about. And the Japanese don’t seem to be into movies, is that right?Because all I’d seen were mostly a talk show or reality show of some kind. So homesick for me could be as simple as watching the news in a language that you could understand.
The next thing I miss was having my tea right. For the record, I’m not British, so I’m not supposed to be so particular about my tea. In Japan, however, it looks like the teas are either a green tea or anything that is not a black tea or red tea. So yeah, I do miss my Lipton tea.
Oh and the other thing that I missed is seeing the roman alphabet in the elevators! Some elevators (because I tried to save my feet from all the unnecessary stairs, swear not because I was being lazy) that I rode on are all Japanese’s Kanji. Sometimes I just hit random buttons in the elevator to take me up or down or even to keep the door open and closing it.
The language barrier doesn’t stop with the elevators -of course since I only know like ten words in Japanese and most Japanese whom I met are not conversant in English. Sumimasen is the one word that really sticks with me. It could be used to say “excuse me” or “sorry”. Now that even after I left the country, I still have the word ready to roll out from my tongue now whenever. It was the one word that I could use for twenty times in a day when I was there. It really came in handy if you could at least know few words in Japanese. The three important words for me that I used intermittently on the daily basis are sumimasen, arigatou (thank you), and doko? (where?)
Overall, Japan is a unique experience. The food, its tradition, and also the people who are all walking in crazy fast pace. Even the elders sometimes walk faster than me. True.
Personally, I think Japan is more like an acquired taste. Just how my relationship with sushi. At first, I don’t understand why people are crazy about them, and now I can’t live without the (cooked) sushi. The experience there was genuinely foreign to me and I can’t really decide how I feel about the country yet. So probably it will take a few more visit for me to finally settle how I feel about Japan? Perhaps. I know that I definitely want to go to the Shirakawago, because too bad that I couldn’t get a bus ticket to go there on this trip.
What about you? How did you feel after your first trip to Japan?