Growing up, I loved the show Pokémon, so perhaps that is why I love Japan. Maybe it is also my age, as I grew up in the 90’s, where an Asian flair for fashion was a trend at one point. Sometime in high school, two of my good friends convinced me to read manga and watch anime, which opened me up to a whole new culture I had never seen before.
My love of Japan continued as I explored videos on YouTube. I love watching content creators, and eventually, I found channels on YouTube featuring different couples. One channel follows two American women who married Japanese men, and it showcases their lives after moving to Japan. I was captivated by how different American and Japanese cultures are and watched every video these creators had to offer. One of these couples is Rachel and Jun. I always look forward to their content because they often talk about the differences between American and Japanese Culture. I also tune in because they have four precious cats, and as a self-proclaimed crazy cat lady, I am there for the cat content!
Another channel showcases Simon and Martina, a Canadian couple who moved to Korea to teach and eventually moved to Japan. Like other content creators, they talk about the differences between western and Japanese culture. My favorite part about their channel is that they tour Japan and teach about Japanese food. They have so many videos trying out different Raman noodles, omurice, sushi, and onigiri, and more. As someone who is not very adventurous with food, I find these videos fascinating. A fun video feature from this channel is when they spend 24 hours in one city and tour as much as possible that time, often giving the history and cultural significance behind the places they go.
My dream is to go to the Japanese countryside and see the mountains. Mountains are just beautiful, and I find the idea of watching people living their everyday lives in the countryside more interesting than a busy city’s tourism. I’ve read that in the country, there are vegetable vending machines that farmers will put out. The food in these vending machines is taken on the honor system, so you pay what you can and take what you need. I can’t imagine that kind of thing happening in America! I’m also interested in the honor that simple acts illicit. Marie Kondo became so popular here in America for a time, and I remember people making fun of the concept of greeting your house. However, in Japan, greeting your house is about honor. It’s about appreciating the little things that make up your life. I’ve even read about a temple dedicated to pets that have passed away. Monks will say a blessing over the animal who has passed away, and people can spread the ashes of their deceased pet around the temple. Maybe my love started with Pokémon, but someday I hope to travel there and experience the country