Next to San Francisco, because everything is next to San Francisco, Tokyo is now officially my favorite place on Earth.
Admittedly, I’ve only been here for five days so far, but I’ve never been so sold on a place so quickly. Decided fairly unequivocally that I was in love with this place on the train ride to our apartment from the airport.
This is coming in without too much prior bias. All of my friends who have been to Japan without exception are direly in love with the country, but I’ve never had any particular desire to come here. The only reason I’m here is literally because a friend of a friend tweeted about a RT ticket being $314 from LAX to NRT. Managed to snag RT tickets from SFO to NRT for $345 everything included, so just jumped on it on a whim last July. Literally no prior planning.
What’s to like about Tokyo/Japan? Some of it’s personal, some of it’s just objectively awesome.
It’s high tech and cutting edge. As a whole, there seems to be very little resistance to embracing the new as it emerges and in numerous cases even envisioning that new and causing it to come to be.
There’s an incredibly pervasive sense of respect. I’m normally an incredibly irreverent person and have been in every other country/locale I’ve ever been to, but here, everyone is just so good that I can’t help but feel compelled to be good as well. The streets are so spotless that when I see a stray can strewn on the sidewalk I’m obliged to pick it up and walk several hundred meters to a trash can. I have to walk several hundred meters to a trash can because trash cans are pretty much nonexistent - everyone is required to recycle by law and everything is partitioned by category and the waste profile is shockingly small in contrast with America. This pleases me greatly particularly because I just watched this video.
Everyone goes out of their way to help everyone else. For the first time ever I feel like there’s a great duty upon me to uphold the common moral code - not out of respect necessarily for the moral code, but out of the sheer desire to uphold and not lay ruin to the ineffable sense of communal aim towards the common good omnipresent in every square centimeter of Tokyo.
So in short, there’s a great sense of mutual respect among all here as well as a remarkably strong culture of innovation and embracing change.
On a personal level, this place is the definition of heaven for a pescetarian. Seafood is cheap and plentiful and literally, literally anything you could ever want from the sea is available here.
I’ve only discovered one downside to Japan my entire stay here, and that’s that fruit is inordinately expensive since Japan is, unfortunately (or fortunately, since it may have contributed to their rapid speciation in a glorious new direction from the rest of the world), an island. But even this has a redeeming quality - fruit juice is remarkably affordable and cheap. I’m assuming this is because concentrate is extremely inexpensive to transport even to an island.
So in short, no real downside to Tokyo discovered yet. Upside: everything that matters.