Monday, July 5, 2010

Japan, Land of the Convenient Rising Sun (a short reflection of my trip to japan)

Right when I got off the plain and stepped foot on Japanese soil I was instantly impressed. Everything was so clean and welcoming. When I made my way towards customs I prepped myself for a long line and grumpy employees. I was gladly disappointed. There was little to no wait and happy smiling workers who got me through rather quickly. They even took my prints in the process but it was not with old-fashioned messy ink. Instead, they had state of the art digital scanners. Quick, efficient, and clean, this would be the trend of Japan throughout my stay. I was aware that Japan was advanced technologically, but I did not know the extent of how advanced they where. I just thought they had fancier phones and electronics like that, but they where also clean and quick about everything from trains to food.

When I returned home I felt like I was returning to the past or a third world country. Everything just seems so underdeveloped and dirty compared to Japan. I could not help but compare everything to Japan. The toilets do not clog in Japan, everyone recycles in Japan, trains are on time in Japan, and menus have more pictures in Japan. I could not help myself. The comparisons are endless. The worst part was talking about issues in America, whether they were political or social I would bring up something like, Japans strict policy on drunk driving. And one way they avoid it is through a service called ‘second driver’ where a person will actually drive a drinker’s car and them home instead of driving drunk. It seemed like Japan has already solved most of the issues we are dealing with as a country. I cannot help but ask myself what happened? Where did America go wrong? We used to be innovators and leaders of the world. Now its seems America is falling behind and dropping the ball. Japan is now setting the bar and America does not even seem to be trying to reach for it.
When I arrived back to the states I was greeted with the mess and disorder that is the Newark airport. It was very confusing as to where we had to go to reclaim our luggage, check them in, and find our next flight. The staff was unpleasant and our flight was delayed and moved to a different terminal. As I was waiting for our delayed plain all I could think of was Japan, and how much I missed it already.