NYC-based photographer Adam Marelli traveled to Japan for a project called “Master Craftsmen: An Endangered Species” and shares his experience.
For those of you who have not visited Japan, as a photographer or a traveler, it is an experience that should not be missed. Life in Japan is a sensory inversion. Even the sprawling mass of Tokyo is a surprisingly civil and makes almost any country seem like a free for all. This is not to say that Japan’s apparent civility is better or worse than other countries, but it is certainly unique. After nearly a month, I was ready to come home, but find myself missing aspects of Japanese life immediately. What do I miss? Here is a quick list:
• Japan is clean, I mean really clean. I saw public toilets cleaner than most people’s homes in America.
• Trains that are always on time. The Shinkansen “Bullet Train” averages 40 seconds late a year.
• Every restaurant presents you with a fresh hot towel.
• The toilets are phenomenal. I am not sure how to say this politely, but the toilets are genius. All I could think was “what kind of cavemen are we that we still use toilet paper.”
• No one throws public tantrums. The daily display of childish tantrums (by adults) I see everyday in NYC is embarrassing.
• While London taxi drivers have the best geography, the white gloved Japanese taxis are half a tier under a private limousine. It makes for the most pleasant door to door drive.
• Speaking of taxis, in Japan there is no tipping. Unlike NYC taxis, who have the audacity to ask for up to 30% tips, in Japan this is a no go. In some cases it’s even considered disrespectful. I used to work for tips as a teenager, but now I realize that it creates an unnecessary strain between the customer and service provider. Companies should pay salaries, not tips. It makes for such a relief.
• The details of maps, architectural details, and courtesies hold historical secrets to Japanese culture.
Read more and see additional photos on Adam’s blog.