We just got back from the Robot Restaurant in Shinjuku, one of the wildest live shows I’ve ever seen. I honestly loved every minute of it, it was such a mix of old Japanese culture and new Japanese culture, a mix of samurai stories with Japanese video games, created and run by a woman, Namie Osawa. This was a big “thing to do” in Tokyo, and it was worth it. So far, most of the tourist activities we have done have bright lights, are loud, boisterous and fun, but it’s an intense juxtaposition to actual Japanese culture.
Outside on the streets, it’s quiet. So incredibly quiet. Chad and I have been whispering to each other while walking on the back roads. Inside the restaurants, it’s murmurs and small laughs. We realized the louder people were most likely Chinese or South Korean (and even that is not loud). It took me a while to realize just how quiet it is here in Japan, how I realized I was whispering most of the time. As a naturally loud character, it’s hard for me to adjust to become more silent. I don’t think I fully realized just how important silence and self-control is in Japanese culture before coming here. To me, it feels isolating though I know to Japanese people it’s important and highly-valued.
We met a Canadian in our hotel and bumped into him on the street, and we were having an interesting conversation. Pretty soon we were laughing out loud, at a normal level for any other country, and we joked we may get the police called on us for a noise complaint.
This may be one of the biggest cultural differences that is affecting my behavior and mood. I’m hoping I learn to love it and to learn the craft of silence and introspection.