The inherent beauty of Japan is how it first seems to contradict itself constantly but the more you get to know the country and its people it shapes into a whole and harmonious picture. Why are the streets so clean you may wonder yet there is no concept of public bins. Well people don’t really produce waste on the go and if they do they take it with them because it ain’t the business of the public. There is a strong idea of the collective, yet there is enough place for individuality and creative expression. Most and foremost Japanese culture is both strongly rooted in the past but also very forward looking. This may seem like the biggest contradiction of them all, but trust me it all makes sense when travelling this intriguing and fascinating country and getting to know it’s many inhabitants.
The most astounding thing about the far east as I experienced it in Japan is that it is a busy place with people and cars everywhere you look, but still it is impossibly quite and calm at the same time. There is hardly any shouting on the sidewalks and beeping on the streets. Even cyclists won’t beep when passing by closely, but will rather slow down. There is an important sense of courtesy and carefulness in play here that can seem very foreign to a Westerner. Of course the culture is closely linked to the religions of the region, mostly Buddhism and Shintoism in Japan. So the feeling of quietness and serenity can be best understood in and around religious temples and shrines, which also tend to be beautiful places overall.
Tokyo is one of the largest cities on earth. It is a megacity in every sense of the word, where you can get easily lost in the masses of people, where motorways pile level upon level and the skyscrapers seem to touch the sky. A marveling sculpture of steel, concrete and glass. Also the place where you get amazing sushi, buy robots and visit cat cafes. Last but not least Tokyo is the home of fourteen million humans. Faces you merely pass by, which tell stories of lives in this strange but enchanting megacity.