Welcome to Japan!

Sunday, October 05, 2014
I arrived in Japan with high expectations.
It's not that I'm hoping to have a better time here, Japan have just always been a must-visit country for me. And fortunately Japan didn't let me and my expectations down.

When I write that I was expecting much, I actually didn't know exactly what to expect. But I'm not telling a lie when I say that I was hoping for a cultural shock from another dimension. And that's exactly what I got. I got slammed right in the face by a tail whip from a big huge Pikachu wearing a kamikaze headband around his forehead. Because that is exactly what Japan is; freaky and cartoonish.
But Japan is also a lot more than that. I've never been to a place in this world where the kindness and courtesy exceeds the one you receive here. The Japanese thanks you, bows, thanks you again and bows once again. Smiling and helpful and so kind that I as a European almost get embarrassed. Yet when it comes to personal relations, showing who you are and sharing your personality, the Japanese seem very closed off and distant. At least for now.

My travel buddy Lasse and I are living with a local guy named Kosuke, along with a Japanese girl and a single Korean guy as well, who we tend to called Kim as his real name is quite a mouthful. We're staying with these guys in an untraditional traditional Japanese house in Nagoya. I know, that needs a bit of explanation. The house is traditional in architectural style and building. It's an old Japanese wood house, which is not legal to build anymore, as they fall like card houses in a storm during the many earthquakes they experience here in Japan. The untraditional part about this house is the people living in it. Three young people, with a whole house! Most youngsters here in Japan lives in a single room and a lot less space than these guys have on their hands.
Apropos the Japanese people, one of the first things I noticed when arriving here, was how similar they all look. Almost everyone is wearing black, white or grey colours, a lot of them in school uniforms or business outfits.
Once you've stared at the moving mass of greyish colours for awhile, you'll start noticing the colourful vending machines which is to be found on almost every street corner. I believe that it's practically possible to get draw everything from a vending machine here in Japan.

The reason why we chose to begin with Nagoya, is because we have tickets for the F1 race on Suzuka Circuit, which is pretty easily reached from Nagoya by train. Before the F1 race we spend a couple of days in the city though. Roaming around and spend a couple of hours in the Toyota Commemorative Museum of Industry and Technology, which was quite the experience actually. Filled with interactive exhibitions and as a proud Toyota owner, I got quite the kick from watching the history, process and of course the stunning cars from the old Toyota Factory.

Beside good crafting and amazing cars, Japan is also home to amazing food. The only barrier is that sometimes - actually most time - you have absolutely no clue what you're ordering OR eating. My plan is to spend 3 weeks in Japan not eating or drinking the same thing twice, and with the uncountable choices to make here I'm thinking it will be an easy, funny and quite tasty task to fulfil.

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