In light of my Japan wasn’t awesome posts, I want to reiterate and tell you all why Okinawa was the shizz. Japan offers a great deal to many expats and these are also some reasons why I miss Japan. I made many friends who were so kind and warm hearted. I miss them a lot, and as the new year has come in, I smile fondly and remember the beautiful memories.
People are super polite
One of the things I miss about the Japanese is how polite they are. Even if they don’t mean it, the polite courtesy was awesome. I think many people around the world can learn from Japan’s example and be polite, decent humans each another. I loved how they always returned my belongings if I dropped them and the respect they have for one another is awesome. If you bump into someone, you will always hear suimasen (sorry). In addition, if you greet someone, you are never ignored. Their manners are so on point. There won’t be any ajhumma or ajhussi cutting in line or pushing you for a seat on the train. The Japanese often give up their seats for the elderly if they see them.
Japan is very clean
In comparison to Korea, I think the air quality and environment was a lot cleaner. The streets are clean, no one spits or pukes in public, and trash is always taken to the convenience store bins. In Korea, I have to wear masks because of the pollution and yellow dust. In Japan, I never experienced a day where it was foggy because of pollution. The air was always clean and fresh and the rain would always get rid of the dust. Even the air smelled cleaner (and salty because of the awesome sea breeze).
Eisa and Sanshin
In a previous life, I must have been Okinawan because I love the traditional dance and insturment of Okinawa so much. Every year I lived on Okinawa, I always attended the Orion Beer (Okinawa’s traditional beer) and Eisa (Okinawa’s traditional dance) Matsuri (festival). I loved the many festivals during the summer where I could wear yukata and have fun. I enjoyed practicing sanshin with my teacher who had an amazing sense of humor. I loved how everyone would get up and dance, whistle and be merry. The sanshin is an insturment that helped many Okinawans get through the terrible times after World War II wrecked their homeland. It brings joy and fills the heart with pride. It’s a feeling that can’t be described and only felt.
The Scenery is Incredible
Whenever I got off mainland Okinawa, I always traveled to amazingly beautiful beaches, mountains, cities, and temples. The scenery was just so breathtaking and I felt like places like this only existed in magazines. Japan takes a lot of pride in their history and national treasures. Their temples are well cared for and a lot of money is poured into preserving and restoring many historical monuments. My top favorite spots include Tokashiki, Hiroshima, and Nara.
The Culture is Unique
Okinawa was once called the Ryukyu Kingdom and recognized as a country by China. I loved the different culture of Okinawa as compared to mainland Japan. Traces of Uchinaguchi (Okinawa’s indigenous language), eisa, and sanshin still exist today. Okinawa was definitely more relaxed and people were much warmer. Your neighbors are more inclined to take care of you, people extend helping hands when you need it, and they will give you fresh vegetables. Everything from the bowing to my favorite foods like sashimi (raw fish) and shikwasa (Okinawan bitter lemon) were my favorite parts of living there.
The Food is Fresh
Some fruits like strawberries and mango can be absurdly expensive, but when you do buy it, it is a fresh and sweet treat. Unlike in America where we can always get whatever fruit we wish year round, the flavor is a hit or miss. When I bought fruit in Okinawa, I could always expect it to be perfectly presented and beautiful with an amazing taste to accompany it. If you’re a fan of apples, they’re always sweet and bigger than your fist. The food is always in season and always a delight to eat.
Has anyone been to Japan or Okinawa and experienced these amazing things? I hope you all get a chance to enjoy some of the amazing experiences I did!