Sadly, it’s our last day here. We aren’t doing much, just trying to take it easy and rest up for our trip home.

It’s another beautiful, warm, Bay-Area-like day, so I put on the thigh-high socks I bought, only to discover that on me they are knee-highs. It’s true, most Japanese women are shorter than me, but so are most American women. I guess I’m just especially long-legged, at least from the ankle to the knee, compared to the Japanese. In any case, it’s a thigh-high fail but I’m wearing them anyway.

So, here are some of the things I’ll miss about Japan.

I’ll miss the gentleness of the public venue. I have no idea what goes on behind closed doors here, but when you are in public, politeness and kindness is the rule, and the Japanese tend to abide by rules more than Americans do. I only heard a person shout in anger once the entire time I was here, a drunk man on a bike who felt another bicycle had gotten too close to him. At home, I hear angry shouting all day long. Some people are shouting at the voices in their head. Some of them are shouting at others. On the bus, people are shouting into their phones. People are loud in America.

Also: everyone treating me kindly, everyone respecting each other’s private space, everyone being quiet on the bus and the train — I’ll really miss these things. I felt calm and at ease when I was in public, instead of the guarded, anxious, annoyed triad I’m usually wallowing in.

I only saw two homeless people, and one small encampment near the river during this trip. Is it because the homeless are more hidden, or is it that they barely exist, or a combination of the two?

If we saw a piece of garbage on the ground, or graffiti, we pointed at it in astonishment. The apparent care of the people and public space — I’ll miss that.

It may seem silly, but I’ll miss the fact that I almost never had to sit on a cold toilet sit for three weeks. I got used to expecting a warm seat. And using the Japanese (in ground) toilet really wasn’t bad at all. I got used to it, and it made sense after a while.

My awesome shower in my ryokan, with three settings: “rain”, massage shower head, and jets.

I’ll miss the group of friendly guys who were the staff of Capsule Ryokan.

The variety of colors that men wore, when not in their business suits. And the colorful bicycles, pink and yellow and purple. To see men in business suits on these bicycles seemed so not American.

The way that nature is left alone up in the hills and mountains even though space is at a premium.

The Shinkasen, which is as close to perfect as transportation can get.

The little chimes that announce when a train or bus is coming, or that a stop is coming when you are on board.

Seeing little children out on their own in the city. Also apparently once children are in middle school, they seem to be on their own which is kind of amazing. They travel in groups, unchaperoned. The independence given to children was amazing to witness.

Wild monkeys and deer that you can feed.


Nishi hongaji temple across the street.

Sakura season. As we are leaving, the dogwoods are in bloom and they are very pretty. But there really isn’t anything like cherry blossoms in Japan.


And mostly, fox shrines.

This is my last transmission from Japan. California, here I come.


One Response to “Things I’ll Miss About Japan”

  1. … a few other things I miss about Japan. | the nerge on April 29th, 2014 8:03 pm

    […] don’t know how I forgot these in my previous lists of Things I’ll Miss About Japan, since they were very important to me when I was there, but here they […]

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