The truth about living in Japan

Beyond the picturesque mountainscapes and vibrant red Tori gates lies a world of concrete skyscrapers and fashion victims.

Friday, June 10, 2005

The whole truth

The truth about Japan is that the best time to be here is in summer when the veil is lifted and the face of Japan is revealed.

When the cicadas rise up from the soil and scream for the survival of their species during their 3-day mating ritual that is their life on the surface. The noise invades your eardrums as it makes the relentless soundtrack to summer.

Then there is the heat, the all-pervading beat of summer trapped below a layer of pollution that rests between mountain ranges and caps every city. Even the coastal cities like Osaka can't escape the dripping, toxic humidity of summer, there are no ocean breezes blowing on Japan.

The sun beats through a permanent shield of haze and dries up the rivers, exposing the layer of sunken rubbish that accumulates continuously and is never cleaned. Nature, it seems, is exempt from Japan's obsession with cleanliness.

With the heat comes the stench. The odour of raw sewage flowing just below the street seeps up through vents and open drains that in winter serve only as an obstacle for bicycles. Now as summer reers its honest head, we can smell Japan for what it really is.

This is an Asian country. Bicycles rule the streets and old men urinate by the side of road. Spitting is common and toothless mouths drown cheap alcohol in small, local drinking-holes on every street. Women are second-rate citizens and the edlerly rely on the contributions of their grandchildren for their daily needs.

When winter's cool chill is lifted and the faux christmas scenes come down, Japan emerges and screams with the cicadas "hello honey, I'm home."

It may not match your image of Japan, it may not be the most pleasant time to visit, but if you want to know what's real in this country of contradictions, if you want to seperate the myth from the reality and get below the Geisha's kimono, come to Japan in summer and you can't miss it.


At 7:00 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello,my name is MASA,japanese guy from Tokyo. I've my blog about my private things and Japan.

If you want,pls see my blog!

At 6:19 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't know if you'll ever see this, since it's a year later, but you are the worst kind of traveler to Japan. I lived there for 8 years and I NEVER saw Japan in the ugly light you have. I feel sorry for you that you wasted your time in such negativity. I'm glad you've gone back to Australia. I'm sure the Japanese are glad, too. Stay there!

At 7:01 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Fantastic! I completely agree.

At 7:02 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Fantastic I completely agree that Japan is a fab place we should all visit and learn from.

At 8:27 pm, Blogger Eliza said...

Get your head out of the sand. A country doesn't have to be perfect to be interesting.

The best time to visit Japan IS in summer when its inner soul is revealed.

Screw you and your "worst kind of traveller". I happen to love the humid stench of Asia in summer.

Don't be so judgemental. Just because you've lived there for 8 years doesn't mean you've ever left the closest Gaijin bar. I happened to live in the real Japan, the part that smelt funny and made me sweat like a pig in heat.

And I enjoyed it for being so different from the world I came from. I embraced the differences, I didn't ignore them.


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