Not sure where to start. This trip was very special in more than one way. Tokyo, as is Hong Kong, has been on my bucket list for a long long time. And when we started looking into where to go for a vacation it was between Tokyo and Hong Kong. We decided on Tokyo in the end because of a couple of reasons. All of them gut decisions of course. As so many other people I got interested in, specifically, Chinese and Japanese culture through movies. From classic Hong Kong films to early Anime films and TV series. My first real memories of the first things I watched are Goldorak aka Goldrake aka UFO Grendizer, some Bruce Lee Movie ( I really can’t remember which one), Jackie Chans Drunken Master and a beautiful Martial Arts film called Ninja Commando. From there I probably went the regular route via Ninja movies to more Anime to Hong Kong films and Japanese and Asian cinema. Going down that rabbit hole you certainly get interested in more than just the films and episodes themselves. I remember when Starbucks was still not know in Germany and you kept seeing it popping up more and more in Films and Episodes in US Films and series’s. You really got the urge to go there and drink yourself to death with coffee. Luckily unlike Starbucks, experiencing Japanese and Asian culture in general have not been a disappointment. I know I know, this is not a very sophisticated or highly cultural background, but what can I say… It’s what got me into it more and more over all these years. Also over the years Japanese and asian food has become more and more important for me.
So already this is a tough situation, as the expectations are super high, right!? On top of that we were looking a little culture shock for a change. Traveling mainly in the US and Europe you do mot really get challenged in any way when traveling. You mostly speak all the languages to some extend and know what is culturally expected and/or ok to do and not. For example, being in a culture (Japan) that does not really accepts tipping your waiters and waitresses for example was quite a big thing to adapt to. Especially when you are used to the way it is done in the US, but we were looking forward to a lot more. Nothing beats a little insecurity and activating your brain when you want to do a simple task you do every day, but just can’t, to get your brain going.
Soooooooo how did it go?!
Quite a bit different than I would have expected. In the most positive way. Where to start?! First of all, and as everyone I have talked to before told me, everyone was very friendly and polite. Everyone? Well of course cab drivers are mostly unfriendly weirdoes all over the planet. Luckily we didn’t use cabs too often. It is interesting to see how this is something that universally applies, it also just can be because we stupid Gaijins do not understand one word. All kidding aside though, we felt very safe, welcome and always able to get help and any task done that we needed to. Often enough someone would offer their help voluntarily, probably by the look on my face. The cultural difference in many daily things is quite present and visible. And you get used to it very very quickly, which you only realise when you get back from Japan. The moment we landed in Frankfurt and stepped out of the plane it crept upon us, this weird feeling of annoyance… Everyone was so loud, rude, everything was so dirty (compared to where we just came from). That really was the cultural shock we were expecting on our way in. Go figure. Enough for this post, more to come soon. More photos, more of my blabbering, more time-lapses.