What I really miss about Japan

japan student drawing

(click to enlarge)

I often have trouble articulating why I miss Japan so much. But I do. I miss it like hell.

I certainly don’t miss the crowded trains, long working hours, searing summer heat, endless bureaucracy,  expensive travel, obnoxious salarymen and cramped houses.

So what do I miss, then?

Even now I can’t put it into words. But it has to do with the people – the warmth, positivity, community ethos and unconditional generosity that many Japanese are capable of, and which make you feel good about life.

I spent some time teaching in a junior high school in Tokyo. When I left, some students made this for me in our last lesson. Even if you can’t read Japanese, I’m sure you can image how it made me feel.

When I see this, it sums up everything I love about Japan. And why I miss it so much.


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  • Kieran Maynard

    I understand! I love going back to Japan. It’s hard to explain, but people in Japan just seem to really care about you…

    • The ones that like you do! The salarymen who used to stick their elbows in my eye during the morning rush hour didn’t seem to be all that bothered 🙂

  • Aww that picture is so cute 🙂

    I’d like to check out Japan one day and maybe Japanese. How expensive was the accommodation in Tokyo; or did you just stay with someone?

    • Hey Mark. You should definitely check out Japan 🙂 Accommodation is expensive for what you get, but it’s not unreasonable if you’re prepared to commute. Most people spend between 1/4 to 1/3 of their salaries on rent. So, not unlike London!