I started watching “Terrace House” and I’m hooked. This is a Japanese reality TV show about six strangers living in one house as we observe how they live their daily lives. It’s a peek to Japanese culture and an analysis of human dynamics as you get to eavesdrop on the conversations of the housemates. Yes, it’s like “Big Brother” only better.
When I went to Japan for Hopes and Dreams for Miyako, I asked my friends there about the show but it seems like it’s not as popular.
Japan and its people are fascinating. The maze-like train lines which are always on time; quiet and polite people almost dressed alike, keeping to themselves; bento boxes, ramen, and soba; vending machines on every corner; realistic looking fake food displays in front of restaurants; kawaii (cute) stuff and cool inventions only the Japanese could think of; minimalist and compact rooms; and the list just goes on.
We went to Shibuya which was teeming with tourists and locals alike. Finding your way around Tokyo can be overwhelming. It’s a good thing I could simply rely on my friends who did all the navigating.
We mainly had to be in Miyako, a refreshingly small city located in Iwate Prefecture of Tohoku. Those who are into fresh seafoods could eat all the sashimi they want. The place is famous for its salmon.
We stayed at Guest House 3710 (Minato), a hostel type of accommodation. I though it was cool that this is managed by a group of young friends who have been supporting Miyako after the 2011 tsunami.
A tour at Taro Kanko Hotel, a disaster memorial, made me realize how fleeting life can be and it was sad to learn how everything – homes, material possessions, even lives can easily be taken away by natural disasters like the tsunami. The tsunami reached the fourth floor of the six-floor hotel and only the structural foundation remains of the bottom two floors. Japan experiences a lot of natural disasters but I appreciate how resilient its people are.
I’ve been exposed to Japanese culture through exchange programs and opportunities of visiting the Land of the Rising Sun. And now I’m starting to understand the fascination. Whether brought about by the proliferation of anime, an influence of novelty-seeking experiences, or due to Japan’s version of Hallyu or Korean wave, Japanophile (appreciation and love of Japanese culture) will definitely grow. Japan is sugoi (amazing) after all!