Een blokje om

It's an expression that just doesn't really translate. In English I'd say 'taking a walk/stroll'. In Japanese I'd compare it to 'sanpo (散歩)', but both don't carry quite the same meaning as the Dutch 'blokkie om'.

My second year anniversary is approaching. Soon, I will have been in Japan for two years. Imagine that. Sometimes I think that, by chance, I ended up in a country that is just perfect for me. The convenience of this country is just unbelievable. I am thinking about my future, not in the least because my anniversary is approaching, and I'm trying to get that 'adventure' spirit back, and I'm wondering if I ever had it in the first place. In fact, there is not much adventurous about Japan after two years. But there are a lot of things I will miss, when I ever leave here.

Convenience is the key word. Tokyo must be one of the most convenient places on earth. They have everything. Honestly speaking, no place in the Netherlands compares to Tokyo, or even the suburbs of Tokyo. 20 minutes from my home I can find a camera store easily 20 times larger than the best camera store in the Netherlands. A store where you can try every new technological gadget you want. And to get that thing for the cheapest price in the whole world (at least for camera's and high-tech stuff) I only need to travel 1 hour further and change trains once. It's technological paradise.

And how about convenience stores? 7-11, Lawson's, Sunkus, Family Mart. It's all too normal here, yet in the Netherlands they are nowhere to be seen. I'm sure the concept could work, but this is only one of the things in which the Netherlands is just not yet as developed as Japan. The same goes for public transportation. Any country in Europe can only wish to get as good a system as Japan.

This post is turning into a 'praise Japan' post, but so be it. It's not too bad to highlight the good sides every once in a while, after all my ranting about newspaper guys knocking on my door and people being way too polite.. The last thing I will say about this is that life is cheaper here. Meals are cheaper. Daily life is cheaper. I can spend less money. To be fair, I do think that the salary in Europe on average is higher for people in my line of work, but on the whole Japan is a cheaper country to live in than many European countries. Even fuel, which is said to be expensive here, is cheaper than in the Netherlands.

There is crime. Apparently especially in some suburbs of Tokyo, like Atsugi and Machida (a city quite close to here). I have never seen any criminal activity though, and I go out a lot more than in Holland. I am not afraid to walk on the street at night, be it in Tokyo or in Atsugi or anywhere in Japan. The only bad places I know of always have a lot of people around, so it's not that dangerous, I think.

Japan is a great country. I could live here for the rest of my life. But don't count on it ;)

Happy anniversary rv. Soon you will be here for two years. You are still learning. Still discovering new things. Try to keep moving forward. Good things happen unexpectedly, and who knows what the third year will bring. Making new friends, visiting old friends, exploring new places and becoming a better person. If I can do a little bit of each I will be a happy person.

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