Why do you like Japan so much?
That is a question that is not only asked of me but is a question I ask myself.
It’s apparent when looking at me, I am not Japanese or remotely Asian. I have never been further than the Caribbean and I’ve only visited a few states in my home country, the United States of America. I have not been to Hawaii, the premier vacation destination of my country! So where did this interest in Japan come from? I’m a person who does not know any Asians outside of the ones I have met when I’m eating at a Chinese, Vietnamese, or “Japanese” restaurant. I put Japanese in quotation marks because I have yet to eat at an authentic one. I have found that every one I have visited has been owned and operated by Koreans. How did I find this out? I ask the people who work there where they were from and I was even provided with an explanation why most of the Japanese restaurants in my home city are actually owned by Koreans.
My interest in Japan started with watching anime. I began to wonder about the culture behind who created the shows. I wanted to know more about the people and their stories. The most I knew of Japan was that it attacked Pearl Harbor, Hawaii on December 7, 1941 and the US responded by putting Japanese-Americans in concentration camps and bombing the tar out of Hrioshima and Nagasaki. Not a good relationship there, eh? Some of the shows I watched such as Cowboy Bebop and The Big O aren’t exactly the best shows when you think of modern culture of Japan. It was when I started watching slice of life anime that I truly started wondering what Japan looked like and how the people behaved.
I started reading about the architecture of Japan and was introduced to the beauty of Japanese trains! I moved from only watching anime to watching Japanese films. I started listening to Japanese music, visiting websites that discussed Japanese history and their modern culture. I began reading Japanese news to find out more about this old and beautiful place. Seeing as I am a history buff, I loved that Japan is so old which means there is a lot of history in the country. It was also amazing to me that they were able to survive such catastrophic events such as complete decimations of cities from US bombings and still create beautiful things. I found the Japanese to be a strong group of people with high fortitude which encouraged my admiration and respect for the place.
And how can you not like a place that creates beautiful places such as this:
Look at that garden! It is absolutely gorgeous and encourages serenity. I learned that there was more to Japan than Tokyo, the big bustling city that is popular with tourists. It also may be important to note that I have only met one Japanese person in my life and did not have much conversation with them. So I think part of my interest in Japan is due to the unknown. It’s like an elusive entity drawing me in, a place that I cannot touch just yet.