By Rachel Arandilla
I STILL fondly recall one funny conversation between two friends of mine getting acquainted.
My friend Phil had noticed the tattoo on Shari’s wrist and exclaimed, “Wow, is that a tattoo of Japan? I love Japan too!”
Shari looked at Phil for a few seconds before responding, “Cebu man gud na.”
The whole group roared in laughter and I did realize why Phil would make the mistake: at a glance, the two islands do look almost alike in shape, even if Japan is sixty times larger in scale.
I’m telling you that story so I can somehow smoothly segue to my main point: People of Cebu, hear ye: make Japan your next tick off the bucket list!
1. Where Ancient and Modern Meet
Whether you’re into the ultra-modern or the ultra-ancient, there’s always something for everyone.
Tokyo is super modern with a lot of high-tech experiences to offer. There is a certain intensity and frenzy you can only find in a megapolis such as Tokyo, a certain insatiable appetite for the ultramo-dern that is unique only to the city.
Tokyo is the kind of place where you can find a glass skyscraper right beside an ancient shinto temple. One can appreciate the ancient Japanese art and architecture in one corner, and then immerse in digital modern interactive art. These are just some things you can only experience in Tokyo, with an amazing backdrop of Mt. Fuji.
2. Get to Experience the Four Seasons
Our country enjoys a tropical climate, which means it only has two seasons: dry and wet season.
While it’s great that it’s sunny and warm all year round, experiencing the four seasons will only be a dream to most Filipinos. We will only see red leaves and white snow in the movies.
Thankfully through travel, Filipinos can experience four seasons in other countries. In East Asia, the countries with four seasons include South Korea, North of China and of course, Japan.
Even if you have been to Japan, it’s worth a while to come back many times and at different times of the year, as much as four times in a year! The whole landscape looks different for every times of the year.
3. The Japanese People are Sweet, Polite and Lovely!
The Japanese culture to me is very endearing. The people are generally polite, sweet and helpful, who would always go out of their way to make sure you are okay.
Let’s say, you ask them for directions. Instead of mumbling “I don’t know” like a typical Filipino saleslady in the department store, they would go out their way and search on their phones and guide you, even despite the language barrier.
Of course, just as in other cultures there are always good and bad people, rude and nice people. I’m saying politeness as a socially taught cultural norm, and in general, the Japanese are taught to “keep the peace” and to work as a team. It is natural for the Japanese to be kind.
4. Japan’s Exciting New Developments for Tokyo 2020
When I visited Tokyo last November 2018, the city was bustling with construction and developments in preparation for The Olympics Tokyo 2020, set on August of 2020. The local government is said to have set a budget of 400 billion yen ($3.6 billion) for the Olympic games.
It would be worth seeing Tokyo before or during the Olympic games and see the city alive with so much exciting developments and energy.
Check out their cute mascots for the Olympics 2020!