This is The First Part of a series of stories about Japan…I just could not get it all in one simple story because Japan is so wonderfully complex and beautiful and historic and and and… so I decided to share a few stories. Be patient as I try to break them down into parts for you to read!
I have always LOVED JAPAN and I always will! I heard an analogy once, that said Japan was the Europe of Asia, South Korea was the Latin America, and China was the Wild Wild West…and I have to say, having been to all 3, that’s a pretty good comparison. But what you don’t know about Japan is all the wonderful peculiarities about the exotic nature of it’s culture. It’s a must see and by far in my TOP 5 countries that I LOVE most!
Although I lived and worked there 26 years ago (and my landlord even recognized me after all this time when I visited my hood), it never ceases to amaze me the curious new things I learn about this very forward thinking yet historically backward culture. The dichotomy is sometimes hard for a westerner to grasp. I was once told that if a man wants to make love to a woman he would politely ask “Would you like to have morning coffee with me?” Everything in Japan has a round about way to be expressed and everything to me is an art form, from delectable food, to “language of letters”, to space saving furniture, bonsai landscaping, geisha clothing, non-matching everyday dishes, to traditional instruments….I think the Japanese and Italians have this natural art factor in common!
Some of the things I found to be remarkable were the toilets of Japan…it was like they had their own ‘various species’ of the squatter and modern crapper and I couldn’t help but create a separate blog post called Lavatory – a laughable Toilet Story. I am hoping that tidbit of toilet information helps those armchair travelers, that may decide to experience the world at large, not be too shocked! Hey, Bottoms up!
Speaking of toilets, lol, my all time FAVORITE food in the whole of this Earth is by far Japanese cuisine (maybe that is why their toilets are so cool?). I could just eat my way through Japan and I nearly did this time around! I stayed with my wonderful and gracious friend Chizuko who put up with me for nearly a month! She taught me so many easy simplified dishes and I brought back a small suitcase just of food items I couldn’t find back home and have nearly used every bit of it…hmmmmm, yummy!!! From delicacies like Ichigo Daifuku, a soft rice mochi dough covering fresh strawberry’s and other fruits. OMG THE BEST!!! I Love Mushi Cheese bread as well, yummy snack! Wait, Is THAT? Yep, Green Tea KitKat….who knew!!
But’s lets take a better look at the delicious variety of fish, roots, pickles, vegi’s, seaweed and other FANTASTIC side dishes….have a look see! Can you guess as to what most of these items are? I can tell you I am such a SPICE person and there were spices and herbs I have never seen before including one that makes your whole tongue NUMB!
You have to love that Futon Toast or Texas Toast as we call it in the good ol’ USA and let’s not forget about the pastries to drool over, the assorted colored pickles, the smooth creamy curries and the buckwheat noodles in a ice cooling Ponzu sauce…oh the list goes on. As I sit here just admiring my photo’s I get hungry for JAPAN!!! I love that they consider fast food meals to be Sushi and Udon or Rice Bowls! I am so grateful for my Japanese friends and all the things they patiently explained and taught me about their delectable country! THANK YOU from my Heart!
Just walking down the local neighborhoods you will find little shrines, each having meaning for the neighborhood…whether for adults or children. You can stumble on a temple almost anywhere and cemeteries are always interesting finds. I loved going to the outdoor temple sales where you find lightly worn Kimono’s and cute little bowls and every other kind of treasure one might hope to bring back as a souvenir. One time I found a Bonsai tree growing out of the crack of cement….such a wonder who cared for it all these years.
There is entirely too much to share about Japan, I could go on forever! SO, I have decided I want to share more about the city’s, the landscape gardens and flowers, some history and some VERY cool places I visited while there. For now, I sign off, with my Favorite Japanese Quote ~ Simple is good, but nothing is best – author unknown
AND REMEMBER, wait, WHAT??????
Feel the Love…Ms H