As if Arashi fangirls need more convincing to go to Japan but thank you Japan National Tourism Organization for putting more preshah (pressure) on us.
Arashi has been promoting Japan as a tourist destination since 2011, months after the Great East Japan Earthquake. And in an old NHK music program video, Jun did tell a fan from the Middle East:
“Come and visit Japan, [Arashi] will be here.”
So the message is clear and we’ve all heard it loud and clear. But like I said, not that we need any more convincing. Japan is, after all, one of my favorite countries not only because of Arashi. I list 10 top reasons why:
- the food — omg. In my recent trip there, every meal was a gastronomic delight. I have never been disappointed in any food I’ve eaten while traveling in Japan. I’m starting to suspect it must be laced with some charm.
- Japanese toilet — need I explain this? I mean, really? Everyone I know who’s been to Japan wants to take this piece of Japanese “furniture” home.
- konbini — going to the convenience store is an experience in itself. I can spend an hour inspecting the products and I particularly love the ice cream section.
- shinkansen — it’s convenient, comfortable and extremely addicting, but also dangerous because once you go back to your own country, you expect the same traveling options and then you’re hit with the bitter reality.
- the seasons — I live in a country where there are only two seasons: hot and hotter (okay, I’m lying. January is the best month of the year because it’s so cool it feels like autumn). Japan is so beautiful in each season although it can be punishingly hot during the summer. Winter is so pretty with the different illuminations, spring with the flowers, summer with the yukatas all out and fall with the changing colors of the leaves.
- the fashion — I love Japanese fashion because it’s so understated and classy.
- the customs — the Japanese are among the most polite people I know, even among friends. One of my friends would still ask for my permission to send me something, even if it’s Arashi and she knows I’m a big Arashi fan.
- KitKat — okay, this needs to be a separate item because Japanese KitKat has become a well-liked, if not most requested, omiyage. In reality, the different KitKat flavors are quite difficult to find even in Japan because they are seasonal and some prefectures have flavors that are only unique to them and you can’t find them anywhere else.
- the landscape — it may be an exaggeration to say that everywhere you look in Japan, it’s like a postcard. Or maybe I am just too smitten with this country.
- omotenashi — all of the above won’t be possible or can’t be enjoyed without the people who create them. And this is what “Omotenashi Nippon” is about (JNTO, can I now apply as a writer? I can spell Nino’s name correctly too).
Omotenashi means the Japanese brand of hospitality and in the short film produced by JNTO, Arashi plays different roles: ryokan staff Sho, candycutter Aiba, washoku chef Jun, gardener Nino and bathhouse painter Ohno.
View the video from this page: Omotenashi Nippon
I’ve been to Japan several times over the years but I’ve only been to Tokyo until last year when I went to Nagoya and realized there’s just so much of Japan I want to explore. I need to see Mt Fuji up close (I am not ambitious to climb it), the lavender fields in Furano, experience Sapporo in winter, Nara, Kyoto (one day is never enough) and Sakura season everywhere. What have I been doing with my life and my visits to Japan all this time? Though Tokyo is also a neverending labyrinth and there’s always something new to check out every time I go back.
Japan has really been aggressive recently in attracting tourists, what with easing visas and all. Thanks to a weak yen, last year was also a record year for the country with 13 million visitors.
So yeah, what are we all waiting for? Arashi and a whole lot more are waitng for us in Nippon.
See you, Japan. Maybe?
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