When we went to Japan last month on a whim motivated by an uncommonly cheap air fare ($300 round trip from Cambodia), I imagined the experience would be pretty much as reputed.
The country would be clean, the crowds orderly, the trains always on time, the cities exhilarating, the history temples and shrines impressive, English rarely spoken, prices high and gardens gorgeous to the extreme. (Many more photos on Facebook.)
I was not disappointed.
“Clean” doesn’t begin to describe the contrasts between most of the rest of the world and everywhere we visited over three weeks — in order, Tokyo, Yokohama, Hakone (to view Mt. Fuji), Hiroshima, Miyajima, Himeji, Kobe, Kyoto, Kanazawa, Shirakawa-go, Takayama and Matsumoto. “Immaculate” is more to the point.
There wasn’t a shred of litter on the streets or in the subway or train stations, though maybe I have figured out how that could be the case in view of the rarity of trash receptacles on sidewalks and elsewhere.
One explanation may be that Continue reading