I can’t say I’ve ever truly felt unsafe in Japan. And then it was brought to my attention that Adachi is a ‘dangerous’ place. People even use it as a cautionary tale to scare young children into behaving themselves. The things local tour guides don’t tell you before showing you around their neighbourhood. Hmm… The area is renowned for its broken public school system and a couple of high profile incidents.
You’ve packed your bags. Thrown that caution to the wind. You’re on a plane to someplace you’ve always wanted to go. Someplace where you don’t know anyone. Maybe it’s even someplace where you don’t even speak the language. People often ask me how I make friends so quickly. I promise you it isn’t rocket science. If I can do it, so can you.
You’ve ‘checked-in’ to all the places on the tourist trail. Now you’re wondering what to do next. I’m not particularly tech-savvy so I do things the old-fashioned way. I ask around. Here’s what the locals recommended.
Whenever I get homesick, a quick visit to Yokohama Chinatown is all it takes for me to feel slightly placated. Back in 1859, Yokohama was one of the first Japanese ports that opened up to foreign trade. Chinatown quickly developed to accommodate the many Chinese traders who settled down in this city. Of course, that was a long time ago and these days there are more businesses than actual people living here.
Ideally, a good parent would be someone who teaches you the principles of how to navigate life and is there to guide you without suffocating you. A good parent will know when to let go and let you gain your own independence. That’s different for different children.
Japan’s ageing population is always spoken about with a certain sense of doom. I don’t think it should be that way. The senior citizens have all the knowledge, all the experience, and all the time in the world to mentor the younger generations. We should be tapping into that wisdom and all that it can offer.
People stare at me all the time. They make comments on my appearance. On my clothes. On my behaviour. On the food that’s in my bento. About how I hold my chopsticks the Chinese way. ALL DAY LONG, I have to hear how everything about me is not Japanese. Yet – when I open my mouth, people are surprised by my near perfect imitation of the Kanto accent. I AM SO SICK OF HEARING – nihongo wa jyozu des ne. Your Japanese is so good. Can you please ask me a real question?