|Is this what Ireland looks like to you?|
Japan, too, has its own stereotypical perceptions - often described as polite, friendly and safe. Should Japan be described in this way? Most definitely. I think it is only when you leave for a while (which I have done quite a lot during my time here) and return that you realise the true essence of a country. I have had many, many experiences of all three, to name a few that come to mind:
- I lost my purse on a night out which had a lot of money and cards inside, got a phone call from the police a while later to say it had been returned - nothing taken.
- I stood at a metro station, map in hand, trying to find Tokyo Tower, a couple saw that I needed help and walked me the whole way there and even offered to pay for my ticket inside.
- I was riding my bike back from the supermarket, and somehow dropped a packet of cheese from my basket, I got to my bike shed and as I was looking for my key a kid came, running and out of breath, behind me with my cheese - I hadn't even realised i'd dropped it and the poor kid had run all the way after me from the supermarket.
- My neighbours always check on me after an earthquake - they don't speak a word of English but isn't it nice that they care.
It can take time to break down walls with people of different cultures, languages and traditions but I think if you are openminded, anything is possible.
I am not a cultural expert on Japan and have never claimed to be but I have always felt safe here, I have always found the people to be polite and friendly and if anyone asked me for advice about moving here, I would say: do it.