I’m an American and I like America. I’d visit there more often if it wasn’t so expensive (especially for five people) to take such a long trip…but I have been living in Japan since 1990. Most of my life now.
So the few occasions that I have been able to visit America, it has felt more like a foreign country to me. It’s fun to visit and experience the culture…but it feels nice to return home—to Tokyo.
Every once in a while someone will ask me why I decided to live in Japan permanently.
Well…it’s not easy to explain why you love your city. Especially to someone whose never seen it.
I live in Tokyo rather than anywhere else in the world because—
☆ it’s very convenient;
- With few exceptions, anything you want to buy, to eat, to drink or to do can be found in Tokyo.
- The public transportation system has bus stops, train stations and subway stations everywhere and the buses, subways and trains run often and on time. Precisely on time.
☆ the service is top-notch;
- No matter where you go–a high-end department store, a “mom and pop” store, a five-star restaurant, a fast-food joint–the place will surely be clean, the staff will be courteous, and whatever you buy will be of the highest quality.
☆ everything’s on time;
- T.V. shows in Japan are scheduled to start at precise times such 5:57PM rather than at general times such as 6PM. And they start exactly on time.
- The bus, subway and trains have time tables…and they’re also exactly on time. Everyday, I catch the 7:11AM train to work…it’s scheduled at 7:11 and that’s when it arrives at my station. Not 7:10 or 7:12…but at 7:11 everyday.
☆ people are polite and think of others;
- Not only with words such as ‘excuse me’, ‘please’ and ‘thank you’, but people here are considerate others with actions:
no one talks on their cell-phone while they’re indoors; everyone cleans up after themselves at movie theaters, ball games, parks, etc.
- If you misplace your property, it’s quite likely to be returned to you.
☆ there’s so much to do;
- museums, zoo, amusement parks, festivals, and other events – even after over twenty-two years here, I still enjoy going out.
☆ the city is beautiful;
But the recent shootings in America at a movie theater, a shopping mall, a hospital and most shocking – an elementary school have reminded me of the main reason that I decided to raise my children in Japan rather than in America:
All of those shootings in America were tragic and make me wonder why so many Americans think it’s important or necessary for anyone to own a gun.
I recently read online that Florida (the U.S. state that I grew up in) recently issued the state’s one-millionth gun license. It’s unbelievable!
Also unbelievable was when I read that many states in America have decided to legalize marijuana.
In Japan, drugs are very illegal and gun licenses are extremely rare and difficult to get.
Basically, only the police, the military* (* “self-defense force”) and hunters can legally own a gun. For a hunter to get a gun license, he must attend shooting and safety classes, pass an exam, pass a mental-health evaluation, and pass a criminal history background check. The police also must inspect the gun locker that the applicant intends to keep the weapon.
Also, the gun license is only valid for three years…the whole process must be repeated every three years.
Needless to say, almost no one even bothers to apply for a gun license in Japan.
The crime rate in Japan in very low…especially violent crime. But when a murder or robbery does occur, a knife is the usual weapon of choice for violent criminals here—therefore the casualty rate is low.
Also, Japanese police aren’t so quick to draw their weapons as they are in America. It’s a news story if a police unholsters his gun!
I can’t understand why guns are so popular in America.
They’re not very useful for home security. Most burglars break into a home when either the home-owner is out or asleep. An alarm and/or a guard dog would be much more useful in those situations.
A dog is loyal to it’s owner too…unlike a firearm. If an unarmed burglar finds a hidden gun in the house he’s broken into, suddenly he’s an armed burglar.
And how many accidental deaths result from mishandling of guns by children or drunk or careless owners? Many, it seems.
Americans say that it’s their “right to bear arms”. But, if no one else had one, would you really need a tool that’s sold purpose is to end life?