I had a wonderful, albeit brief, stay in Japan and feel the obligation to provide the following observation:
Above all else, my trip to Japan demonstrated that the media shamelessly blows stories out of proportion. Remember all the talk about the store shelves being empty after the earthquake? Nope. Trains not running? Well, for a few days the local trains in Tokyo ran every five minutes instead of three minutes. Radiation? Less than in London or Hong Kong.
Tokyo is a thriving city, clean, vibrant, and ready to welcome foreign visitors. The Japanese are a resilient people and while the earthquake and its aftermath were devastating, the people of Japan are quickly recovering and taking steps to help their country emerge even stronger than it was before the quake.
Do not be fooled by alarmist media reports about the health risks or safety concerns associated with visiting Japan–they are patently false.
My list of countries visited is approaching 60 and while I am not going to say Japan has been my favorite country I have visited, I thoroughly enjoyed my stay and highly recommend that you check out Japan sooner rather than later.
Excellent to hear. Glad you enjoyed your brief stay. Japan remains one of my favorites, actually, simply due to the “lost in translation” aspect to it for me.
Glad to hear that you enjoyed Japan – wife and I have visited Japan twice in the last 5 years (first went only because of a great last minute fare) and find the Japanese people genuinely warm and very friendly. A wonderful mix of modern and traditional flavors add to the mystique of this land. All the more reason that we were very saddened by what we saw in the movie “The Cove” which we rented just this past weekend. Not going to go off on that tangent though. Bottom line – we look forward to visiting again and most would probably enjoy visiting as well (just be patient with the language barrier!).
While I agree with the message of your post, the time to visit Japan is absolutely not now. The yen is so strong the entire country is painfully expensive. THe $40 bus from NRT to Shinjuku is just the beginning.
@AJ: Fair point. Tokyo is not the city to visit if you are on a budget.
@Matthew: I live in Japan. So you say “The Time to Visit Japan is Now”? ARE YOU SERIOUS?! Geez…
@Jun: I don’t follow you. Please elaborate.