Journey To Japan

This is a street in Isemiya-cho in Matsue. The city lights up at night.

We eventually boarded our Air Japan flight to Izumo in Shimane Prefecture, the birthplace of Japan’s myths and many of its unique cultural practices.  The hour long flight was pleasant enough and I found the service excellent. I also enjoyed the fact that matcha (powdered green tea) was a drinking option. When our caravan touched town in Izumo Airport, we were greeted by our hosts from Matsue–a group of nearly 50 comprised of families, government personnel, and volunteers. They welcomed us with large signs, larger smiles, and a seemingly endless amount of enthusiasm for such a late night reception. It’s in these first of a series of interactions with our Japanese hosts I realized that my default level of politeness, deference, and respect couldn’t nearly match theirs. We were tired. They had to be tired. We showed our fatigue clear as crystal. They cheered and waved banners. This disparity in hospitality is something that I had often heard about from Americans who visited Japan, but really couldn’t grasp it properly until I experienced it for myself. It was truly overwhelming.