Recently i had some friends visit me from America. They stayed with me in my apartment for just less than 3 weeks. I was really glad to see them since we all went to our own corners of the world after graduating college as most people do. June is a pretty busy month. It is the ONLY month in the Japanese work calendar that has no holidays. Even us English teachers in Japan have to knuckle down sometimes! But even so, I was fortunate enough to be able to take some time off to show those friends around western Japan.
We ended up going to Nara, Kyoto, Hirakata, and various places and restaurants here in the Osaka area. I really enjoy these trips to Japans more scenic and exciting areas. And in thinking about it I realize: I just don’t go out and do culturally rich things that often of my own volition. I have daily routines like most people who work. I wake up, get ready for the day, read a paper or check some form of new/entertainment, head to work, have a good day, grab some dinner after work, head home ready to take it easy, hit the hey, rinse and repeat. Sure i meet up with friends on the weekends or when we can, but they’re busy too.
For the last three weeks or so I’ve had two people at my apartment ready to have fun all day everyday and by default that means I was along for the ride as the guide. I went to more temples, parks, and nice restaurants in the last three weeks than i probably have in the last three months combined. All this traveling around really just reminds me: Japan is great. Nice people, great food, ancient and interesting culture. It was fun to be forced into experiencing it all first hand again through the eyes of a visiting foreigner. For those of you living here now: check yourself and make sure you don’t ignore this country around you. Try to find a new restaurant once a week or visit a temple, beach, sporting event you haven’t been to yet. You’ll be glad you did.
My friends have gone home now, and i should thank them for helping me get out of the house and enjoy all Japan has to offer, but for now I’m relieved to get back to work so I can recover from all that fun!