Until recently, I thought I had seen something of the world. I have been to a lot of different countries: Sweden, Germany, England, Italy, Czech Republic etc. Granted, most of them were European, the only exception being Russia and the U.S.A.. But still, I thought I knew about different cultures. Boy, was I mistaken (Yeah, I like to use 'boy').
I am in Japan now (people who now Japan now probably understand where the above came from), but 3 weeks? 4 weeks? ago, I was in Turkey. Both blew my mind, though Japan maybe a little bit more so. I'll begin with Turkey, though.
What can I say about that? Istanbul was beautiful and busy. People were always on the streets, moving or talking, all so busy and at the same time relaxed, at ease. The old and the new co-existed, and this was true for streets and buildings as well as for people. I never once felt scared or uncomfortable. It was an extremely nice place. But it was different (from the Netherlands I mean and from everything I know :P). And different in a way that none of the places I have ever been to were. Maybe it was the buildingstyle, maybe the people, maybe the shops, or maybe the colors or life itself or all those things at once... Apparently, those things are more similar in the Western Countries then I thought.
Then I went to Japan. Japan! How do I even begin to describe it? I can't. I simply can't (and yes, I'm probably a bad blogger to say so). All that I can say is that it is different from everything and different from the difference of Turkey (to make things complicated). And that 10 minutes walking in a Japanese street, or department store, is enough to make me tired, so tired. The thing about Japan, I guess, is that it looks similar in some sense (the buildings, the stores, the articles) and completely different in another. One example, though maybe not the best one, is the pillow. On first sight, it looks just like a pillow. Then you feel it... and notice it's filled with pits. So you think you know something, but it's not what you think it is. At first, I constantly had the feeling that something was just 'off'. It is really confusing and apparently takes a huge amount of brainpower (hence the exhaustion). And yes, there were some brief moments (I have only been here 1 week now, and it has not happened a lot) that I was scared or felt uncomfortable.
But why did I talk about differences if I can't describe them? And why does it look like I don't like Japan all that much, while actually I do? The answer to those questions are interrelated. So far I love Japan and part of the reason is probably because I love to be surprised. I love the fact that not everything I see makes sense to me, is so familiar that I barely bother to see it. Because that's just it, right? Differences (if they are big enough) open our eyes to things, eyes that are too often closed by what we think we know. We need our eyes open though, to really experience the world. That's what Turkey and Japan taught me.
P.S. How's it going in the Netherlands? How's your music-project? I guess you learn(ed) a lot from that as well.