Of Personal Bubbles and Pruned Bushes

A few days before I left, my brother warned me to leave behind my personal bubble, because I wouldn’t need it in Japan.  Little did I know how right he was.

Japan is cramped.  Between people being compacted into trains during rush hour to the capsule hotels to the narrow streets, it is very tight, and you don’t always have elbow room.  When we traveled out towards Kyoto, I realized that there were fields being preserved for farmland, explaining why the people in less urban areas didn’t spread out more.

However, what really surprised me was how efficiently every single space was used.  Some restaurants split their business between two floors, with one floor being the dining room, and the other floor being the kitchen, register, and waiting area.  One of the restaurants that we went to even placed their cooking area in the middle of the room, surrounded by counters where the customers sat.  And, honestly, after sharing a small room with Sasha, we realized we didn’t really need that much space to begin with.

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Because we were in many urban areas, we didn’t get much opportunity to see any parks.  The greenery that we saw was mainly confined to areas like Kinkaku-Ji.  From what we saw when we were out there, people would visit simply to enjoy the nature.  However, at the same time, this was very manufactured nature. People ensured that the trees were perfectly trimmed that no flowers were out of place on the bushes.  The nature that we experienced was very much like a garden.  Beautiful, but planned.

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