letter to the emperor

Your Imperial Majesty Akihito –

having just got back from a holiday in your country I am writing to tell you how much we enjoyed Japan.

In particular the Japanese people were just great: friendly, helpful, English-speaking and courteous.

I was most impressed by the level of courtesy shown by everybody. I was particularly fond of how the ticket inspectors and tea ladies on the trains bowed nicely on entering and leaving the carriages. I also liked the way everybody in a shop or restaurant would call out hello when I walked in, and then call out goodbye when I left. One or two people went out of their way to help us when we needed directions or simply just looked lost.

Everywhere was really clean too: I have never seen escalator handrails being cleaned and polished so frequently. However it was strange to see how few litter bins there were  – one friend has suggested that Japanese people do not need litter bins because they don’t eat as much junk food walking around.

Your temples and shrines are lovely. We visited as many as we could but sadly only just scratched the surface. We shall return another time to see more of them.

Miyajima

Nara

The only small niggle I would have is that your food can be quite bland. There is a lovely vegetable called a chilli which I would recommend to you and your country. I am most fond of it and missed it a lot when in Japan. In fact I recommend all vegetables to you, in much larger quantities than they seem to be served in Japan. They are really good for your health.

tatami food

On the subject of food, I would also recommend hot noodles to you rather than cold ones. I really don’t understand the cold noodle thing.

cold noodles

I was delighted to see that all toilets had heated seats and lots of automatic warm squirty water. The one in the airport, which also had the recorded sound of flushing which you could use to mask other sounds, was my particular favourite. I miss the heated seats.

toilet

We travelled quite a few times on the bullet trains and were very impressed with their speed and efficiency. I loved the pink ladies who waited in line along the platform to be ready to speed-clean as soon as the train came in. The way that the seats reversed so that you are always facing the direction of travel was wonderful. And I liked that the train drivers wear white gloves. Again, the only small thing was that there are just so many of them, my view was often obscured by a bullet train going in the opposite direction. Not sure how you can fix this really.

shinkansen

I have many photos of women wearing traditional dress whilst going about their daily business. I never realised how many Japanese people still wear traditional dress – I was delighted to see this and took lots of photos. My partner thought I was being a bit of a Big Game Hunter in the end, but I could not get enough of all those lovely kimono.

kimono girls

kimono ladies 2

kimono Irishwoman

It was lovely of you to arrange that the cherry blossom season would be in full swing when we arrived. Orlando did not understand what all the fuss was about, but I took about as many photos as your citizens did.

hanami 1

hanami 2

Anyway, we were delighted with our holiday and promise to come back another time to see more of Kyoto. Please pass on our compliments to all of your citizens.

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