‘Why 108 days?’.. well, it started off as 100 days, and went on to become 108.. But 108 is considered as a holy number right! Here in Japan too, 108 has got many significances, they ring the big bell at the Jinja, 108 times on New Year’s eve…..
“A cultural Shock“, that was what I was asked to expect, in Japan. “They speak no English“, was another of my friend’s caution…. All that not without a reason. The culture is drastically different from, what I had experienced till date, and English, that’s a rarity! But these shouldn’t be a judgement scale.
Cheerful people, utterly polite and ever ready to help, that’s the first impression you get, the moment you land in Japan. The ‘irashiyamase‘ call when you enter a shop, welcoming each and every guest; the deep bows accompanied with every sentence spoken; the ‘san‘ tag added to your name, when you are called; the list goes on…; everything they do has got a dash of politeness, in it.
The food.. hmm, what to tell of that, I did have a strange feeling, when I saw raw fish being eaten, but let me be truthful; all these days, with all the variety of food that I had consumed, it was always the spices and the additives that I tasted, and never ever the taste of fish. And to be honest, it tastes good. It’s not just raw fish, the Matsusaka Beef, (Beef from, beer fed, hand massaged cows of Matsusaka, in Mie prefecture) a speciality of Japan, the varieties of noodles; thin, thick, long, short; you name it, the variety of toppings to go on that; soya, sesame, well…. I need to write a whole blog, may be more than one to fill in all the details….
Japanese lessons arranged by my Professor at the ‘Center for International Education and Research’ (CIER), at the University, took most of my time these last 108 days. But I did manage to squeeze out time and make small tours and hikes. More on those in the coming posts…