RTW Day 20 – Reflections on Japan

Today was our final full day in Tokyo, and Japan. As a stress free day, we just decided to hang around Akabane, do some shopping, and post it all back to New Zealand since we’ve only got a handful of luggage on this trip.

I first went crazy at the local supermarket, and bought about $100 worth of chocolate, candy, snacks, etc. Seriously, I love novelty food, I love candy and snacks, so Japan has been a mecca of novelty candy for me. A moment on the lips is a lifetime on the hips they say. Well, I have enough candy for about a month on the lips, which would still only be a lifetime on the hips! That’s value. I might have bought some gifts for people back home, depending on how full I feel.

Candid Snap Day 20We then headed to Muji, which could be best described as a homeware store that sells plain well-made items relatively cheaply. Most of the style was simple but stylish, think nice wood, clean lines, things that wouldn’t look out of place in Scandinavian design. They had awesome LED table lights made of wood for about $40. They had a really nice coffee table for about $80. They even sold plain simple but well made food there, such as precooked pouches of curry for $3. They kinda reminded me of the pouches of food you give your cat. At least it’s efficient for dishes I suppose.

From there, we wanted to head to Loft, but turns out that was in the next town over, Kawaguchi. In my mind I thought of Kawaguchi as being a tiny town, turns out it has about 550,000 people, give or take. So Ya’know, just bigger than Wellington + Porirua + Lower Hutt. And this is just a no name town on the suburbs of Tokyo. Really just goes to show how small New Zealand is.

Anyways, we headed to Loft, which is like a Whitcoulls, but about 3 times the Wellington store size. Stores like these are designed for people like Kathryn, who probably could have bought just about everything in the shop. Thankfully she was extremely restrained, and decided not to.

So we took our haul of about 7kg, and headed to the local post shop. It was quite a bit of discussion, mostly in Japanese, and mostly which I didn’t understand, about what we were sending, where it was going, how we were shipping it, etc. We understood very little, but the lady at the post shop was both very helpful, and not very friendly. I said to Kathryn how friendly would you be if someone from Japan came to Wellington and spoke no English? She said it was all about attitude.

On reflection, I really love Japan. I’m not sure I’d live here though. Coming here for such short periods of time is a bit like that first and second date with someone. It’s all exciting, there’s lots of passion and energy, and you overlook that slightly annoying habit, because you’re in the heat of the moment. But that slightly annoying habit could become a real deal breaker once going out for six months. That’s what Japan is like. It’s all fresh and new, but there are some annoying things, like the lack of real integration between foreigners and Japanese people, the absolute crushing societal conformity, the huge separation of husband and wife caused by overwork. These are amusing as a traveller, but not very fun for people living here I assume. No wonder the liquor bottles are so large.