Of course we all have places where we dream of going to like France, for example, or the US. For the classy, high society, snobbish persons, we have Monaco. And for the exotic ones who want their trip to be a life-endangering experience, we have the savannas of Africa or better yet start an expedition at Antarctica. I, on the other hand, would want to visit London. Who wouldn’t want to visit such a wonderful place as London? It’s scenic. It has a chockfull of buildings with superb architecture. It’s Shakespeare’s birthplace, for crying out loud. And it has plenty of English-speaking people with the accent that is just to die for. However, before anywhere else, I would surely love to visit Japan. Why visit such a small country, you say? Well, here are some reasons why I would care to visit the country you call puny:
- Cherry blossoms. These are the only pink things that I like. Ever since the time I saw these small flowers fluttering in the breeze on animes I watch, I have dreamed of getting to see them and hold them or even bring a petal back and place it between the pages of a book. That’s how much I like them.
- Haruki Murakami and Yasunari Kawabata. These great authors are products of Japan. I absolutely love Murakami for his queer writing. He writes about every day, normal things and makes them abnormal. His short stories are absolute head-scratchers – it leaves the reader utterly bewildered and feeling stupid (‘What happened?! Did I just miss the point?? Aaargh!!’). Check his books out and you’ll see what I mean. Kawabata’s In A Grove is a short story that I absolutely love. It’s film adaptation, Rashomon, is considered by many as a masterpiece. And I have to agree to that.
- The language. I don’t know about you but I find the Japanese language (Nihonggo) very beautiful. Yeah sure, the characters look all complicated and their sentence structure is all messed up but… I don’t know. I just find it beautiful. Doubleplusbeautiful in Newspeak, even. (I am terribly sorry for those who cannot relate to this last sentence.)
- Manga and Anime. Come on. We grew up with anime being shown on TV day in, day out. Who doesn’t know Gokou and Gohan? You might’ve even memorized the opening theme (CHALA! HECHALA!) as well as their family tree. There’s also Hanamichi Sakuragi and Recca Hanabishi. If you want the newer ones, there’s Lelouch Lamperouge and, of course, Uzumaki Naruto. And would you like me to discuss about the manga? There are loads of categories you can choose from and discussing all of them would make up an entirely new entry.
- Snow. Don’t you dare roll your eyes at me or I’ll gouge them out of their sockets with a spoon. The reason is this: don’t you think it’s quite unfair? Our country and Japan are both in Asia and yet they get snow? Just because they’re a few degrees above the equator and they get snow. Bummer. Anyways, I just want to see the white stuff from an Asian country. Maybe freeze it and bring it back to the Philippines.
- The food. My taste buds would be very, very grateful if they get a taste of genuine Japanese cuisine. As of this moment, the only Japanese foods I have eaten are sushi and tonkatsu (and these would be the Tokyo Tokyo variety). I’d love to have a bowl of authentic Japanese ramen, like the one Naruto always eats.
- 7. The art. The Japanese take their customs very seriously that everything they do turns out to become an art. The art of tea-making (is that chanoyu?), flower-arrangement (ikebana), the bonsai, and of course their Noh and Kabuki plays. Even preparing lunch boxes (obento) is an art to them. Heck, I wouldn’t even be surprised if they have an art for farting.
- 8. The culture and the people. The Japanese are the type of people who live and breathe through the standards of their custom. They value discipline – something that I think should be incorporated into our set of morals. They have a code of conduct. They live such a strict existence that they make me wonder if they can still breathe. I do not see this as a disability, however. In fact, this is what makes the Japanese interesting to me. They seem to know something essential to survive that we do not know. Does their rigid upbringing give them the emotional strength and training they need in order to go on living? In other words, I would like to know what goes on inside the average Japanese mind.