I went cycling yesterday because I wanted to find the thing in Japan that I had been missing for so long. It's hard to describe this, but I've always categorized Japan in three different categories: anime Japan, gaijin Japan and work Japan. It's not the actualy locations in Japan that can be split up like this, but it's more like you can look at any place here in three different ways. Allow me to explain.
I like the countryside of Japan because for me it's like anime-Japan. It looks like a Ghibli movie is taking place right there. Nothing bad or boring ever happens. Things could happen there that only happen in anime. It's the feeling you have when seeing the pyramids, or the Victoria falls. It's something out of a book or out of a movie. It's almost like it's not real. Japan is beautiful if you can see it like this.
Gaijin Japan is different. Gaijin Japan is the Japan that us foreigners experience here in this country. For me, it includes going out to Tokyo for drinks, going to manga cafes when missing the last train, staring in wonder at capsule hotels and girls in maid costumes, and other Tokyo adventures like buying strange stuff in Akihabara, crossing the busiest road in Shibuya or admiring the view in Odaiba. Taking pictures of all the weird drinks they sell at vending machines, nightly conbini trips and midnight ramen would also fall in this category. Japan is so fun and exciting if you can see it like this.
Finally, there is the Japan that Japanese people see most of the time. Salaryman-Japan slash work-Japan. In this kind of Japan, the weather is bad, the clouds are dark and you work from early morning to late at night, unable to take your mind off of work for even a second. This is the daily-life Japan mood. If you were in a gaijin-Japan mood or a fairytale-Japan mood you would see many beautiful things, but if you're in a work-Japan mood you would just be tired and want to go home. The longer I stay in Japan the harder it is to get out of this mood.
Most foreigners never really experience the third Japan, which is a good thing. If you stay here longer, Japan is just another country with similar people and similar daily lives as any other country. I just hope that all of you people having daily lives in your own countries also get the chance to see the beautiful and weird side of your countries. Don't work too hard!