A Newcomer's Perspective of Japan

wilaw1 Winnie Law Assistant English Teacher, KITANO Senior High School

When I was very young, my family and I traveled around Asia. However, Japan was one country that I've always wanted to see but never had an opportunity to visit. Before I arrived in Japan on July 26,1998, I read many books about Japanese culture, geography, etiquette…etc. Needless to say, I read many expectations upon my arrival. Now that I've experienced living in Japan for almost three months, I know that I couldn't have read enough books to enlighten me fully on what Japan has to offer. My expectations have been met and everyday, I stumble across a Japanese novelty that pleasantly surprises me.

In one of my Japan travel books, it described Osaka as a vibrant city with an abundance of good restaurants and friendly people. This description, I found, is very accurate. But I never imagined the food to be SO delicious! For example, my favorite Japanese dish, Okonomiyaki, is by far the most scrumptious cuisine I've ever tasted.

As for the Osakans known for being friendly…I highly agree! I have one example that illustrates their personable nature. One day, I visited Kurashiki in Okayama. After I ate lunch at a local restaurant, K asked the owner of the restaurant where Ohara museum was. She was indeed helpful and gave me directions along with a map. To my amazement, she took my arm, abandoned her restaurant(with no one to watch it) and led me to the museum herself! This is unheard of in America.

One aspect of Japan that has astounded me is the superb customer service. Every shop I go to, whether it be McDonald's or a clothing store, I am always greeted with a hearty welcome and a warm smile. This greatly surprises me, especially in restaurants because Japanese employees do not expect tips.

Last Update : Nov.23,1998