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Celebrating Myself | Part Five

May continued with my personal celebrations, leading me unexpectedly to Japan. This surprised me, as Japan had never beckoned me until a few weeks prior to my trip. It was a spontaneous decision to visit Japan before heading to Europe, a quick detour rather than a lengthy journey from another part of the world. The intriguing land of Japan, a blend of modernity and tradition, holds secrets beneath its serene surface.

So there I was, in Japan, and I am still processing my experience. It struck me how different Japan is from any other Asian country I've visited. It seamlessly blends modernity with tradition, and beneath its surface lies a layer of secrecy—a well-kept secret. What you see on the surface is just the tip of the iceberg; there's a whole world beneath it. On the surface, it's pristine, orderly, and rule-bound, yet beneath lies a world of hidden emotions and subtle rebellion. I marveled at the cleanliness, organization, attention to detail, and thoughtfulness permeating every aspect of life. From spotless eateries to meticulously timed pedestrian crossings, Japan balances modernity with reverence for tradition. But underneath this surface lies a world of hidden emotions, rule-breaking, and venting.

Exploring the country, I encountered the dichotomy of its culture – from anime stores to ancient temples, from capsule toys to deep-rooted rituals. I traversed Tokyo's bustling streets but found solace in Kyoto's serene temples. During my travels across the country, I felt like an alien on a different planet, trying to navigate and understand its nuances. While Tokyo didn't resonate with me, I fell in love with in Kyoto. Despite my appreciation for the temple sites, I couldn't help but wonder about the commercialization of religious places—a phenomenon developed to an extent that I found it unique to Japan.

However, alongside these traditions are anime stores, capsule toys, cafes, and unique fashion styles like Japanese Lolita, not to mention the Geisha history, raising questions about societal deviations. Can a society exist so well within a rule system that it doesn't need to release and cleanse emotions? Maybe there is an unspoken aspect – the emotional undercurrents of a society adept at concealing its feelings? I couldn't help but wonder if the frequent earthquakes in Japan are nature's way of releasing the emotions accumulated in the ground like Japan's seismic activity mirrored suppressed emotions, as its people master the art of the poker face, at least in the outside world.

Overall, my trip was incredibly intriguing and interesting, leaving me with much to digest and understand. Few people discuss the underside of Japan—the emotional depths beneath its serene surface.

As I reflect on my journey, I share glimpses of Japan through my lens, a captivating land of contrasts waiting to be explored on deeper levels and yet understood by many. Here is Japan through my eyes.

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