I returned from a trip of 18 days in Japan last Friday. I don’t think I will return.
In that time, I lost around 4 kg of, admittedly, unwanted weight. It wasn’t entirely due to the extra miles / kilometres that I walked – but was definitely down to the fact that my system and, more importantly, my taste buds simply rebelled at raw tuna, prawns, crab and other stuff that, normally, I thoroughly enjoy…
Although I have a reputation for being a fussy eater, no one can accuse me of just turning up my nose. I did try every single thing that was put in front of me. I got so hungry by Day 4 that I was tempted to find a MacDonalds. Just how low can one get?
I know America spent time in Japan – an uncle was a US Marine who did a two year stint in that country. I had hoped that they might have taught the Japanese how to cook bacon – Americans certainly know how to cook that delicacy. Alas! If they did – the Japanese have certainly forgotten. So even breakfast, my favourite meal of the day, was severely lacking.
To add to my woes – apart from the hotel in Tokyo (start) and Sapporo (end), not one hotel provided coffee in my room. Still – I managed to buy both a jar of coffee and some sugar from a Convenience Store purely by ‘sign language’.
Then there were those instruments of torture known as ‘chop sticks’. The hungrier I got, the less able I was to pick up food. I did, eventually, ask for a fork or a knife and was handed one wrapped, discreetly and almost shamefully, in a serviette…
Three cheers for the unknown Italian who invented the fork in the 14th C.
Food and trying to eat apart, the trip was interesting. Our guide, who was with us for the whole time, was very informative – and answered all our questions quite freely. Some of her comments, especially about the Ainu, left us rather speechless.
While, on one hand, I admire the way that I felt Japan made little or no concessions to the outside world – I did think that if they wanted my tourist dollar they should at least make acknowledgement of the fact that not many people speak or read Japanese.
The museums I visited were technologically brilliant – they could teach the world a great deal. Massive amounts of information – all in Japanese…
… and virtually nothing in any other language.
Still – been there – got the T-Shirt. But will not return.