better late than never. isn’t that what they say? we got back from japan about six months ago, but i haven’t shared a single photo from the experience. i have spent hours talking about it, though. you can ask any of our friends. they’re the ones with the chewed off ears – you can’t miss them. i haven’t shared for one reason and one reason only: laziness. i took thousands (literally, thousands) of photographs over the course of the 25 days we spent there and it is beyond difficult to choose favorites. i tried to several times, but i would lose it about 200 photos in. and you can’t just post all the ones you think are good because who in the world has the patience to look through that? alas, after sifting through them (200 photos at a time), i have gathered the ones i consider my favorites.
the first one above is dearest to me out of the whole bunch. to me, it is the closest photographic representation of japanese culture that i could capture – organized, clean, heedful, intense and solitary. the japanese are astoundingly aware of their surroundings and so respectful of each other that, i assume, it would catch any western tourist off-guard. they abide by the rules because they believe that the rules exist for the greater good – for the convenience, comfort and general well-being of everyone. stand to the left, walk to the right.* it’s so simple, yet i’ve never seen it so well-executed – every time. we visited train stations multiple times a day and not once did i find myself throwing my hands up, rolling my eyes back and thinking “what is so difficult about this concept to you?!” everyone sort of keeps to themselves and minds their manners – keeping their voices down and rarely speaking on the phone in public areas so as not to disturb the people around them. even in a fast-paced city like tokyo, taking public transportation is a generally quiet experience and feels strangely relaxed. i loved this about japan. i wished it for the country i live in. it could only dream of this kind of social behavior. but, who knows, maybe japanese tourists in israel find our barbarism charming.
the japanese seem to do a lot of things right, at least from an outsider’s point of view. they are driven, intense and efficient, but they also have an outlet for calm and repose – their gardens. i can best describe them only as polished outdoor museums…of gardens. you won’t find one leaf out of its place in these gardens. they are remarkable. one of my favorite memories of the trip was falling asleep in tokyo’s imperial palace east garden. it was the day after we had landed and we had made the (genius) decision to wake up at 3:00 in the morning to make the tsukiji fish market tour. needless to say, we were exhausted by 11:00 and the garden proved to be the most peaceful of places to nap.
i won’t post all of the pictures in this entry, but there will be a part 2 sometime when it feels right. and probably a 3, too.
*this reminds me of a bit one of my favorite comedians, brian regain, does. if you didn’t enjoy any of this at all, maybe you’ll like this.