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I have just experienced my first visit to Japan, specifically to Tokyo. I really hope it won’t be my last as I’ve already fallen in love with the place. I had been forewarned by others to expect the place to be different, and it was, and I did very much feel like an outsider. Yet it was also incredibly welcoming and open, with the sense that you could take as much time as you wanted to try to observe and understand. Japan allows a person personal space.

After all, for all the western obsession with pointing out how everything in Japan is done differently, you have to remember that “different” is a relative term. Life in Japan, for the Japanese, is perfectly normal.

I really appreciated the level of organisation, politeness and cleanliness (three things which the Japanese have combined into one art when it comes to toilets), and the effortless stylishness of so many of Tokyo’s inhabitants. Honestly, most of the time I felt like a scruff, and not just because I’m a bit of a scruff.

So, in conclusion, Japan and I have unfinished business. I only scratched the surface and my wife and I have decided that we definitely want to go back for a longer visit.

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