Strong US Dollar Makes Japan Journey Inexpensive
I really like a sale, and I am never one to go up a bargain, particularly if the merchandise is one which I’ve had my eye on for years. So I was thrilled to see, beginning a number of months in the past, that Japan is on sale.
Two years ago, the Japanese yen was trading at 85 to US$1. It has now stabilized at about a hundred and fifteen yen to US$1, that means that, at last, Japan is an affordable nation to visit for us dollar-holders. If this stability keeps up, I like to recommend planning a trip to coincide with the autumn colours.
What’s most putting is how various things are in Japan. This country bears little resemblance to China and is culturally different from other international locations in Southeast Asia, a region where we spend a number of time. If I had to make a comparison, I might say that Japan is harking back to Singapore, although the climate is certainly different.
Like Singapore, Japan is spotlessly clear. Buildings are freshly painted, yards are tidy, litter is nonexistent, and recycling containers are everywhere. Also as in Singapore, indicators are posted in every single place reminding citizens to be neat, courteous, and orderly.
The general public transportation system is unbelievably efficient–another similarity with Singapore. This is the case not solely in Tokyo, which has one of many best mass transit networks on the planet, but in every single place in Japan. Traveling from Tokyo to Kyoto, for instance, is a simple matter of exhibiting up at the railway station, buying a ticket, and hurrying to the platform to catch the following prepare, which at all times arrives on time and normally within moments. In Kyoto, subways and efficient city buses are waiting to take people onward. Among the a number of towns and cities in Japan it is a constant expertise. Public transportation is fast, environment friendly, clean, comfy, and inexpensive.
Japan, like Singapore, is quiet and orderly. Individuals wait patiently at the crosswalks for the light to change before walking, and automobiles unfailingly yield to them. Horns are hardly ever heard. Actually, it is vitally unusual even to listen to somebody talking on a cellphone in public; public service signs are posted to discourage the apply, and most individuals made it some extent to have their conversations in non-public.
Like Singapore, Japan is a fully developed country. The vast majority of Japanese seem to dwell a snug, center-class life-style. Although there is new development happening all through the cities, you don’t typically hear jackhammers or see dozens of cranes such as you would possibly expect. Males carrying fits and ties and neatly dressed girls crowd the subways on their solution to and from their jobs. Kids costume in tidy uniforms filling the college playgrounds. It appears that almost every metropolis worker wears a uniform of some type; even street crews dress in clear and pressed work clothes.
As a lot as Japan reminds me of Singapore, it is vastly totally different in some methods. Exterior Tokyo, the inhabitants density is far less than other places in Southeast Asia. You see a stunning amount of farmland, many single-household properties with yards, and many parks and open areas. Expansive gardens, even in the biggest cities, offer fastidiously sculpted timber, tranquil lakes, and nicely-tended pathways. For many, this was one of many joys of visiting Japan. It seems that each plant, every stone on the footpaths, and each rock was hand-picked and placed with nice care and forethought, every part fastidiously designed to supply an ambiance of serenity and tranquility.
You might even see a shocking number of traditionally dressed individuals in Japan. It is not uncommon to see individuals of both sexes wearing kimonos. In Kyoto, there are geishas, beautifully adorned in full face make-up, ornate headdresses, and gorgeous costumes. At the Shinto temples, parents costume their young youngsters in kimonos and provides thanks to the gods for making them grow and be healthy. Rickshaws, powered by energetic younger men in spotlessly clean traditional garb, take vacationers down historic Kyoto streets.
Not everybody dresses traditionally, though. Tokyo is likely to be the best place on the earth for folks-watching. A visit on the Tokyo metro might reveal an eclectic mix of cosplay ladies dressed as fairies, Little Bo Peeps, or other fictional characters and younger males carrying studded black leather-based jackets and Mohawk haircuts.
Though there are lots of historical temples and castles, little in Japan has not been rebuilt or extensively renovated. This is because of Japan’s historical past of devastating earthquakes, floods, tsunamis, and fires. Few buildings on the main island of Honshu have survived these disasters untouched. Like Singapore, most of what you see is relatively new.
Artwork is in every single place in Japan, from improbable museums to public sculptures. Nowhere is artwork extra apparent, although, than within the restaurants. Numerous dishes are served at every meal, fastidiously chosen to mix flavors with aesthetics. Typically you will have to attend a couple of minutes to your meals to arrive while the chef takes care to organize and arrange the plates exactly. Singapore may have a more various cuisine, but it lacks the creative presentation and creativity that you’ll find in practically every Japanese restaurant.
Although many Japanese, particularly within the cities and on the vacationer sites, converse some English, you’ll discover that English is just not spoken practically as a lot as in Singapore, the place nearly all of individuals are fluent. This shouldn’t present a lot of an issue, though. Many eating places have plastic representations of their meals displayed within the window. You merely take photos of what you need to order and present them to the server, which ought to suffice.
Unfortunately, Japan shares another characteristic with Singapore. It is very difficult for foreigners to retire to Japan. Unless you might be Japanese, married to a Japanese citizen, or are in Japan to work, run a business, or examine, your visa expires in simply three months, and it is difficult to increase without leaving the veste stone island nation, which is a comparatively expensive proposition even at at present’s favorable foreign money Stone rates. However, Japan is an immensely fascinating and quirky nation to visit and would be preferrred as a part-time retirement vacation spot.