What is the Point of Going to Japan?

Why would a person want to travel to a country that is so expensive, difficult to navigate and a potential radiation threat? The usual comforts of food are represented by symbols, people look at you strangely as if you’ve landed from outer space and you feel like a giant, although you’re average height at ‘home’.

What does it mean to have a home and to be from somewhere? Does this origin set out how you should behave, a palette for food, a physical appearance or a sense of purpose?

Japan is grueling and perplexing, a cacophony of neon lights and noise, young girls dressing up in school and the ‘salary men’ in their armor of white shirts and man bags descending into the underground when darkness falls and the work is done.

But Tokyo is not what you would expect from a major city. It has 12 million people, but it feels like the safest place I’ve ever been. How can a society create and control this, when one can visit a socialist city like Vancouver and venture to the wrong street and feel petrified.

I wonder is Japanese rigor and discipline admirable or frightening? If a society has this kind of control, what does it repress? Where is the outlet for human wickedness? Is it better to think of human misdemeanors secretly in ones own mind?

Why travel to Japan when you’re packed like sardines into a train carriage, but one also has the opportunity to travel to almost every unique corner and foothold of the country. Would an Americans except being lumped together or would the desire for independence and freedom trump the advantages of travelling as a group. But is this uniquely an American trait or a human desire to be master of one’s destiny?

My home is an island on the west coast of Europe, I can’t travel for a long distance without seeing the horizon, the context has shaped who I am, always pursing what’s beyond it. America is an expansive bountiful landscape for the pioneer and the ‘brave’.

So, why am I travelling in Japan, to understand its nuances, its cohesiveness, i’s obedience, its quietness and ponder if the individual’s desires will begin to emerge from the ‘group understanding’?

About Gemma Ginty

Service Designer // Architect // Strategist // Interested in cities, interactions and the ephemeral
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