Joachim has been traveling around the world. He left Paris on his 25th birthday, came back one year later in 2010. And you're here on his travel blog.
Since he came back, he started writing a book: 360 in 365 »

Cette page est aussi disponible en :

360 in 365 – Joachim voyage autour du monde

360 in 365 – Joachim voyage autour du monde

Open NavigationOpen Navigation

Some things about Japan, and some more pictures.

Japan is nice, but it’s far away. It’s also somewhat expensive. I spent in two weeks as much as I spent in two month in SE Asia… and I spent twice what I expected I would. Even though I stayed 8 nights at some friends places.

But it’s nice. Japan has a character I didn’t really see anywhere else in SE Asia, a very specific character, very original. China or Thailand, or even the Philippines all have a specific and original character, but less so, and it gets less and less specific the more they are westernized. Cultural and social pollution from the Western world is very heavy in Asia, but Japan has protected itself against that : the dichotomy between Japanese authenticity and what the West brought are a constant source of enlightenment. Girls who go pray to the Shrine wearking a Kimono like her mother and grandmother are again seen on the sunday in one of these ultra-modern culture and shopping areas, wearing baroque outfits and cat ears. And she’ll still be cute. Japanese culture has kept its specificity, while adapting to what the West could bring. Japan, more than any country in Asia, shows this contrast between tradition and modernity. Since 1945, Japan plays the West’s game with its own rules, and, right now, is somewhat winning.

What does it mean? It means that Japan’s nice, but it’s complicated.

Complicated for the language, for example. Language is the main factor in communicating with the locals. I didn’t have any problem in South East Asia, but I became very self-conscious of the fact that I only knew 5 words of Japanese. In SE Asia, you can always find somebody who speaks a few words of english. In Japan, nobody speaks english almost, and if you don’t speak Japanese, some locals won’t even aknowledge you. Shyness for some, xenophobia for the others perhaps, there’s lots of explanations but they don’t really help when you’re trying to have an information in a restaurant, like, “should I be worried if I eat Fugu and the taste’s slightly off?”. You have to add a linguistic investment to the financial investment if you want to really enjoy the county. And if you have friends there, who can speak the language, it’s more better…

Be well, what I’m writing is lots of clichés and lieux communs. Everything has already been said about Japan, and everything’s contrary has also been said so yeah I won’t be really original with you.

What some know about Japan are just Sushis and Mangas. Everybody’s asking me if I ate lots of sushis during my stay there : No. Japanese cuisine is so rich that I had sushis only twice, once at the fish market in Tokyo and once when i risked my life for delicious Fugu in Osaka. But, well, I also had some delicious Okonomiyaki in Hiroshima, in Osaka and in Narita, and ramens too, and udon and teppanyaki and it was so good, and it’s real japanese food that you can’t really enjoy anywhere else because they don’t do it right.

Concerning mangas, well, I’ll just say that there’s no giant robot running around Tokyo. Yet.

So yeah, I don’t really know what more I could say, I don’t have any more words. It was great and tiring and a little bit already familiar but not so much. I discovered I want to rediscover Japan, one day.


  1. Splendides photos.
    Sais tu pourquoi certaines pierres tombales étaient couvertes d’un tissu ?

    Comment by Naga_ — May 1st, 2010 @ 05:53 AM
  2. Les photos et la description donnent envie d’y aller. Une question si tu permets: tu “couchsurfes” ou tu dors dans des endroits faits pour ?
    Bonne chance pour la suite!

    Comment by Vivien — May 1st, 2010 @ 08:33 PM
  3. Merci naga :) pour le tissu blanc sur les pierres tombales, je sais pas trop, je demanderai au prochain japonais que j croise!

    Vivien : merci aussi! J’ai dormi chez des amis deux fois pour un total de 7 nuits sur les 18 jours que j’ai passés là-bas… le reste du temps en hostel / guesthouse, le genre avec les dortoirs. Et une fois un buisness hotel moins cher que les hostels. Faut environ compter 20euro la nuit pour les moins chers, tout de même :(

    Comment by joachim — May 2nd, 2010 @ 02:25 AM
  4. I guess I couldn’t agree more on what you said about Japan, even though it’s not the most original comment, it’s still very true. I am quite surprised that you got that, by the way, cause I thought that the distance japanese people tend to put between them and gaijin, was not really felt by gaijins who love being treated with such cordiality.

    Comment by Luciana — May 2nd, 2010 @ 10:08 PM
  5. Mon ptit Jo! ça fait un moment que j’avais pas lu ton blog (oui je sais, c’est mal). Donc là, en plus de le lire, hop, je commente!
    Rassure toi, tu pourras manger d’excellents Okonomiyaki (rien que d’y penser j’ai faim!!), ramens, ou autres udon à Paris, oui oui! rue St Anne, à coté de l’opéra.
    Même que je t’y emmène quand tu rentre si tu veux :)

    Comment by Vaness — May 9th, 2010 @ 10:46 AM

360 in 366?
All the contents on this website has been created by Joachim unless otherwise noted.
Copyrights and licenses - ©2009 Joachim
Served around the world by WordPress. Hosted by Dreamhost.
A Production Joachimesque