We love Japan! We enjoyed the weather, food, people, and the places that we saw. We went to Osaka, Kyoto, Narra, Kobe, Tokyo, and Mount Fuji. Kyoto was most probably the best place that we visited because of its scenic nature sites. It was the first time for me to have a vacation trip for more than 5 days and indeed, it was very memorable for us. This post is not to detail our itinerary or costs, but to share lessons that I have realized as I reflect on how our trip went.
Here are the things that I have observed during our 12 days in this country.
- The first thing that I have observed is how Japanese people want things to be done efficiently and fast. They have va ery good system when you ride trains and it’s always on time. How restaurants serve their customers is also amazing. The process is well defined from getting your order, serving your food and paying your bill. We even documented the process for eating in a revolving sushi restaurant. Although one downside I saw is since they want to be fast and efficient, people come to restaurants to just eat and not necessarily take their time to bond with their friends or family. There are bar stools set for solo eaters wherein one would just sit down, order, eat and then leave. This made me realize that even though the Philippines is a third world country, and we have inefficient systems, people still find joy in the simplest of things. People go to simple restaurants or fast food chains excitingly and just enjoy their time with their friends and family. This is something that we should be grateful for. This is something that I believe we should cherish and enjoy – joyfully fellowshipping with family and friends.
- The second thing that I have noticed is how rich this country is. In Tokyo, we stayed at Ginza where most of the big fashion & luxurious brand stores can be located. Just for the experience, we went inside stores like Louise Vuitton and Chanel. Inside Louise Vuitton, there were so many people. In Manila, stores like Louise Vuitton would only have a couple of people inside their shop, but not in Japan. It made me realize that people who live there might really rich because they have the money to buy expensive bags and clothes. Even tourists go there since there are brands that sell their items at a cheaper price compared to their resident country. As I was observing, I realized the need to really GUARD MY HEART FROM LOVING THE THINGS OF THIS WORLD.
- 1 John 2:15-17 – Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world. The world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God lives forever.
- While exposed to this kind of an environment, it’s so easy to be tempted to buy things that you don’t necessarily need. And to be honest, I think there are a couple of things I bought that I don’t think I need. That’s why when we arrived home, I started to look inside my closet for clothes to sell or give away. This is to give way to the new ones I bought. My wife and I have this principle that if we buy something that we don’t need we have to give something away – buy one, take one out. I’m just so grateful that I have a wife who is not fond of shopping which really prevents us from buying more things we don’t need.
- Lastly, I have observed how Japanese people are engrossed with their work. Despite the holidays, we still saw so many people riding trains to go to work. That’s why Japenese people are admired for their hard work. There was even a day when I went inside a convenience store early in the morning to buy food and then I went to the same store late in the evening again to buy food. I noticed that the staff who served me in the morning was still the same person who served me in the evening. It made me think if the reason why this country is so rich is because of their people’s work ethic? Are they happy despite working for long hours with no time to celebrate Christmas or New Year with family and friends? I really don’t know the answer. Twelve days are not enough to derive a concrete conclusion. I can only give my thoughts based on my observations. One thing is certain for me though, work is important but there should always be balance. Work should not be a means to get rich, but it should be enjoyed as you work for the Lord and depend on His provision. Your security should be in God and not on your work.
Overall, we really like Japan! If given a chance I would love to live there, and if that is what God wants for me and my family, I would love to start a church there for people to know Jesus and to find joy in Him alone. I leave this in God’s hand though. Wherever He directs me and my family, we will go. Because no matter if you’re in the Philippines, Japan, Malaysia, America or whatever country – Jesus needs to be shared and known.