PHOTOGRAPHY & STORY BY GLENN DAVID
Godzilla was nowhere to be found. Frankly, I did not know what to expect from Japan. Most people I meet have no desire to go there. What I discovered was so magical that I told my family I would like to live there one day. I find this feeling to be shared by most people who have made the 12-hour journey across the Pacific. I asked my teenage daughters to find one word to describe Japan. In unison they proclaimed, “Utopia.”
The people of Tokyo are in sync with each other. If someone is sick, they wear a mask to keep others from catching their cold. Cross at Shibuya intersection with 1 million people per day and no one will ever bump into you or even touch you. Lose your phone in a tea house? No fear, it will be turned in to lost-and-found.
Attention to detail is everywhere. Taxi drivers wear white gloves, fish is so fresh you can eat sushi in a train station (and want more!), ride the bullet train and receive a welcome bow fit for a King, and countless more examples everywhere you go. It is no surprise that Tokyo has more Michelin Star restaurants than any other city in the world. Like everything else, food is treated with the highest regard. At the Tokyo Fish Market, tuna is carefully examined and bid on.
The Japanese are proud of everything they do. Their chocolate is some of the finest I have ever tasted. In one shop, I ordered a single piece of dark chocolate-covered orange peel. The shop owner used a white glove to choose the best looking piece. This was then gently placed in a small box, wrapped and carefully tied with a bow. The presentation was completed only after the box was carefully handed to me with both hands. In Japan, these types of details are equally as important as the taste of the chocolate.
I hope you are inspired to experience the visual beauty, the flavor, and the culture of Japan.