Japan is known for its traditions and culture but Japan is full of modern cultures and sub cultures. Usually when I travel I go to countries where the main languages are either English or Spanish. This was the first time I would step out of my comfort zone and visit a country where I was not familiar with the language. At first I was concerned because of the language barrier. I did take two years of Japanese in school but that was about 15 years ago. By now I have forgotten how to speak the basics I had learned in school. The language was an issue but I love a good adventure and I was looking forward to feeling a little discomfort. So my girlfriend and I packed our bags and off we went.
The Golden Temple
As soon as we get to Japan we came to what was a custom chaos. I was always told Japanese people were very efficient but this was not the case in this particular visit. At first I thought this was the beginning of what was going to be a hectic trip. After about an thirty minutes custom agents got things straightened out and started processing all the visitors. We did some research before going and rented a WiFi device and had it delivered to the airport in Japan. If you go I highly recommend you rent one of these devices as the internet/Google will be your best friend. I am not sure what we would have done without internet.
After the airport everything just got better. We took the train from the airport to Tokyo our first stop. Tokyo was amazing in every meaning of the word. My brain has never had to process so much information as in Tokyo. No matter where you go there's people, lights, food, culture and fashion. It was an overload of all my senses but in a good way. I could have spent a month in Tokyo and not come close to discovering everything there is to do in one of its district.
The people in Tokyo where very friendly. It amazed me how respectful the Japanese culture is. In one occasion we got lost and asked a Japanese business man for directions. He went out of his way to walk us out of the train station and to the right exit so we could find the hotel. This was my first experience with how nice the Japanese culture is. No matter who we talked to they were always willing to drop everything and help total stranger. If you do visit Japan don't be afraid to ask for help. The people will gladly assist you or guide you to someone that can help.
I like to think that I am up to try almost anything when it comes to food but the reality is that I am a picky eater. I am a bit of a foodie and love to try new cuisines and drinks. Japan not only has an amazing food selection at every corner (literally) but the food is great for even the pickiest of eaters. This is another reason Japan should be first on your list if you want to start traveling to foreign countries. All the food is easy to distinguish what you are eating. It is rare that you will find the "mystery meat" even from street vendors.
Cooking a fish over a hay fire in Tokyo
Part of the Osaka Castle
Japan is full of ancient temples, magnificent people, modern structures and nightlife. Through the couple weeks I spent there I never felt like I was going to be mugged or in danger. I have never traveled to a place where I can get lost and never fear getting mugged or scammed. The Japanese people taught me that there is still kind, friendly and genuine people in the world. If you are on the fence to going to Japan don't think it twice and go. You will not regret your decision as it is one of the best places to visit in order to get the travel bug. This might have been the first time in Japan but it will definitely not be my last.