What I Miss About Japan… And What I Don’t

This week marks a year since our amazing trip to Japan (Aaron’s first overseas).  These 12 days are probably also largely responsible for the travel bugs that now fully infest our lives.

To mark the occasion, I thought I’d share some of the things I miss.. and some I don’t.

Things I miss:

© LotsaSmiles Photography 2015

  1. The cleanliness
  2. The utter lack of crime and constant sense of security
  3. The manners/respect/(not-so-)common courtesy
  4. Honesty and integrity with everyone – no one is out to scam you; no one will steal your things© LotsaSmiles Photography 2015
  5. Omnipresent vending machines – with hot drinks
  6. Standing on one side of the escalators to allow others to walk on the other side (honestly, this just makes so much sense)
  7. No expectation of tipping
  8. Sane/non-intrusive homeless population
  9. Heated toilet seats
  10. The fun train station tones

© LotsaSmiles Photography 2015

  1. The expectation that most people walk (run) or bike© LotsaSmiles Photography 2015
  2. The orderly lines to board the trains (allowing for others to get off first) – the fact that we haven’t figured this out yet marks us as inferior beings
  3. Awesome sushi track delivery
  4. Entertaining English
  5. Washlets
  6. Incredibly reliable and frequent trains
  7. Amazing food wherever you look

© LotsaSmiles Photography 2015

  1. Designated outdoor smoking areas (that are easy to avoid) and the societal discouragement from smoking elsewhere© LotsaSmiles Photography 2015
  2. Everything is cute!  From the maps and no smoking signs to graffiti and food
  3. JMTV – I could have this playing in the background all the time (though the videos would be understandably distracting)

© LotsaSmiles Photography 2015

Things I don’t miss:

  1. The crazy/impatient drivers© LotsaSmiles Photography 2015
  2. The packed trains
  3. Bicycles on the sidewalks
  4. The need for so much cash
  5. The lack of language fluency (which I could change)
  6. Less respect for women
  7. High-pressure society
  8. Smoking in the restaurants
  9. The general disregard for the environment

Return trip bucket list (in no particular order):

© LotsaSmiles Photography 2015

    1. Cat Island
    2. Go back to Fushimi Inari Shrine (during the day)
    3. Go back to the Arishiyama Bamboo Grove (during the night)

© LotsaSmiles Photography 2015© LotsaSmiles Photography 2015

  1. Mt. Fuji
  2. Witness a street festival (Tanbata, etc.)
  3. Spend a day wandering in yukata/kimono
  4. Stay with a Japanese family for the day-to-day experience
  5. Hiroshima for the history
  6. Okinawa
  7. Go to a true onsen
  8. Owl cafe
  9. A Japanese beach

I seriously thought about what might have been my “most memorable moment,” but I really couldn’t come up with anything specific.  Every day was a unique and exciting experience.

© LotsaSmiles Photography 2015

Overall, it was (of course) an incredible trip that has left us memories for a lifetime.  We will go back, and the experiences there have already reshaped our lives.  I can’t encourage others enough.  Go to Japan.  You won’t regret it.


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