When I was 14 I utterly hated geography. My teacher had the enthusiasm of a man facing a firing squad and it naturally killed my excitement for a subject that I once enjoyed. The only saving grace was a project that we were asked to complete about a different nation in the world. It was supposed to be a group project with a presentation at the end but I ended up doing all the work as my partner wasn’t bothered about it. This turned out to be a blessing really because it meant that I got to write exactly what I wanted and pick a nation that appealed to me. This nation was Japan.
I can’t help but feel that having an interest in Japan is such a cliché for a westerner like me but, well, you can’t help how you feel. I mean most of the things that I love in the world came from that island nation. Sushi? Awesome. Giant Robot Battle Suits? Check. Most of my favourite computer games of all times? Yeah them too.
It’s also the bizarre aspects regarding Japan that also piqued my curiosity. An imperialistic nation laid low by two atom bombs that has had such a detrimental effect on masculinity that there are bars where women pay men to keep them company. Like a reverse strip club where a man’s job is to be bought drinks and ask a women questions. Then there are the men that are so incapable of forming normal relationships that there is a huge sex doll industry. Let’s not even get started on Hentai and its child based sub-sections as that’s pretty fucked up.
Despite the slight horror of seeing an octopus fucking a cartoon woman there are some things that are both Bizarre but brilliant. Japanese games shows are a thing of legend and some Japanese fashion is so awful it’s great. It’s a country that seems to reach both highs and lows in all things but ultimately is not afraid to take risks. Let us never forget that this is a nation of skilled artisans and engineers. From samurai swords to the Tokyo Skytree, Japan is a nation that sets a pretty impressive technological bar. People often look at the carefully created holiday islands in Dubai with wonder but let’s face it, the Japanese have been tearing down Mountains and moving them into the sea to build islands for ages.
In three years time I hope that both Lucy and I will be able to head out there for a holiday of a lifetime. A cultural adventure that takes in the weird and the wonderful. As time draws closer to the trip I will start talking about things that I intend to do out there with the aim to reflect on the experience both there and after the trip.
It will be interesting to see if I end up like those poor Japanese tourists that apparently are so disappointed with the reality of Paris that they literally cannot cope and have to go home early…