This is Peter from the Yamashina Smith’s English School; I would like to explain some reasons I love Japan. My students often ask me what I miss about England, my home country. I haven’t been back for over seven years, so I guess it’s a reasonable question. To be honest though, it’s a difficult question to answer. I think it is much easier to say what I would miss about Japan. These are just a few of those things.
England used to have a bad reputation for food, although these days there is much more than fish and chips. One of the first foods I acquired a love of was sushi. I know versions of sushi are now sold worldwide, but it’s not the same as Japanese sushi. My particular favorite is tuna, but I love any raw fish. Almost every Sunday, my family and I go to our local conveyor belt sushi shop to enjoy lunch or dinner. One of my Smith’s students treated me to a visit to an old, traditional style sushi shop in Yamashina a few months ago. That was an experience that I’m very grateful for, the quality and flavor of the fish was amazing.
Of course, there is so much more than sushi on offer in Japan. I also love the yakitori, charcoal grilled chicken, and tempura. The seasonal and regional variations of fresh vegetables and other ingredients make visits to small traditional restaurants a joy. At home or when eating out I almost always eat Japanese style food.
I love the convenience of vending machines. Many of my students complain that there are just too many of these machines on every street. While I agree that maybe fewer are needed, I appreciate their presence and variety. A friend of mine, who owns an Indian curry shop near my school in Yamashina, has a machine outside his restaurant selling ready to eat curries. Personally, I use vending machines every day to buy canned coffee. Some of my Smith’s students say I am addicted to coffee, and I can’t really argue. I drink several cans each day, at the station waiting for trains or between English classes at my school. Vending machines make it easy to quickly buy what I need. Both canned coffee and street vending machines are things I would miss in England.
Japan has so much to offer in natural beauty, from snow covered mountains in winter to rivers and lakes for watersports in summer. I live in Shiga prefecture, home to Lake Biwa, the largest lake in Japan. Particularly when my daughters were younger, we enjoyed many good times on the beaches and in the water of the lake. From my station platform each morning I get to look out over the lake in one direction and up to the mountains in the other. Even in the big cities you can always find old, traditional temples or shrines with their quiet grounds just around the corner from the modern concrete buildings. In Yamashina, there is the Biwako Canal running from Shiga to Kyoto not far from my Smith’s school. I’m looking forward to walking along the canal side when cherry blossom season arrives.
These are just a few of the things I love about Japan, others would include the safety of being able to walk at night without worry, the festivals, summer fireworks and of course the people.