Monday, July 2, 2012

Preface To My Upcoming Kansai Post

          I've been back from my Kansai adventure for 3 days now, and I'm still not done unpacking memories. Technically, I spent only 3 full days in the Japanese region, but those 3 days were jam-packed with activities and walking that ideally should be consumed over a week or longer. No exaggeration. 
          The atmosphere there is literally indescribable. Believe me, I've tried. Japan, in general, is a country like no other in the world. Everything is so orderly, so systematically planned out, because the people care about every little detail. I find it inspirational every time I visit. Every time. The dedication to nuances is so reflective on the culture - the way packaging is just as important as the object inside; the way trash is organized; the way store employees will always take you seriously as a customer even if you look like a dumb kid who won't buy anything. Japanese mannerisms itself is like another language to learn. People are so incredibly polite, friendly, and warm. The kind that will put the sincerest efforts into finding the answer to the random question you asked without any urgency. True story. Not only that, I can't resist the itch to just stare at how they are dressed, from hairstyle to clothes and accessories. This, despite the fact that at home I consider myself quite the avant garde one. Walking through Shinsaibashi shopping district in Osaka, I was in a whole new universe where my appearance didn't seem to shine as it usually does. At least through my lens it didn't. What I love most about the fashion is that you can't really put your finger on what is "Japanese style". At a glance, Japanese people may look the same, but slow yourself down and you'll see that the trend is individuality. I absolutely love that and would even go to say it is what's needed in Bangkok: style individuality. 
          So clearly, I was particularly obsessed with fashion on this trip. But that's normal when in Japan. What was different about this trip to Kansai though was the traditional attractions, particularly of Kyoto prefecture. I hate to say this, but it's really like stepping right into the scenes from Memoirs of a Geisha. [Note: it annoys me when people draw their only references of Japan from that movie, although I loved that movie.] Most sites I visited were aged over a 1000 but still standing magnificently and serving their original purpose.  I.e. Kiyomizu Temple and Sagano Bamboo Forest. These past 3 days, my Canon KISS and I have been staying home, resting out our delayed tiredness. 
          I might sound like a foreigner, an outside perspective, but going to Japan from Thailand actually feels like going from one home to another for me. My watch isn't the only thing I adjust when I get off the plane. I adjust myself. I become more Japanese in Japan. The language starts to come back to me, and I feel like if I stay there just a little longer, I could just live there happily. Funny how a place you've spent so little time in can feel so much like home.

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