Why I will Always Love Japanese Culture
As beautiful and as minimalist as Japanese poetry-depicted through precise and concise metered pieces of haiku and tanka-Japanese culture is unique, remarkable, and I dare say, hauntingly beautiful. I was fortunate enough to visit the country years back and have been in love with it ever since. The people, young and old, are polite. The food in a local yakitori restaurant in Nishinomiya is so unforgettable that even when I was in Singapore, I found myself craving for authentic Japanese food. I was just lucky that there were good authentic Japanese restaurant in Singapore, which I often visit for business-related travels.
Not only that. The fashion in the city of Tokyo may be techno and modern-but I still showcases how trendsetters value tradition with the way they express themselves through couture and non-couture clothing. Except for the fact that a small number of banners and street signage are written in English (which was partly the reason I always seemed lost), my experience in the country is truly unforgettable.I taught English as a Foreign Language (EFL) in a small language center in the city. For a while, I was also a visiting professor at a university in Osaka but I enjoyed the job in the language center because I need not grade students. That's the hardest part, for me, in this profession-having to reduce a person's intellect into numbers. I always felt something is wrong with that, but thankfully, the language center paved the way for me to freely teach without having to worry of always judging students who have different levels of competency. I just think that people are more than their grades. No one should be defined solely by this.
Another thing that I love about Japanese culture is how it allows you to commune with nature with its scenic landscapes-especially in the provinces and prefectures. I find it not only therapeutic but also spiritually liberating to just wander and behold the beauty of the world-it makes me feel that my earthly troubles are nothing compared to the grandeur of the sights and sounds of every places I visit. It reminds me that all the problems I have are temporary-and everything will be alright.
It was also in Japan that I learned how to meditate. Weird, right? You'd hear people going to India, Indonesia, or China to better master transcendental meditation, but not quite in Japan. But I did. A Japanese colleague of mine has introduced me to this practise to quiet my mind and make sure I do not drown with my own thoughts. I tell you, it helps a lot when you go through daily frights; I can't imagine life now without it.
Lastly, I would always love Japan for the beautiful and spacious parks that often have kiddie swings and slides. Quite childish you may say. But there is such a nice rush into feeling like a child again. Japan never made me feel so old despite my age. It constantly reminded me that I will always be a child at heart-and that the secret to staying content and happy in life is always to stay youthful. I will always love Japan for how it made me feel. I will always remember it with fondness.
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