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Foliage in Kyoto looks absolutely stunning during Autumn months.

Foliage in Kyoto looks absolutely stunning during Autumn months.

Visiting Japan was my longtime dream and I guess Sofia Coppola had something to do with that. Everything Europeans hear or read about Japan seems to be either weird or funny, sometimes both. While most of the opinions about given nation or country usually turn out to be some kind of a stereotype, I was still thrilled to see stuff like cosplayers walking as if nothing had happened next to geishas on the streets full of robots from the future. Well, let’s get this straight then – I saw no cosplayers, no geishas and almost no robots during my short stay in Japan.

Nara might seem quite similar to Kyoto at first, but it has a more relaxed atmosphere that I really liked.

Nara might seem quite similar to Kyoto at first, but it has a more relaxed atmosphere that I really liked.

Japanese, especially children, are even more photo-friendly than Chinese.

Japanese, especially children, are even more photo-friendly than Chinese.

Mount Fuji as seen from one of the hotels in Shinjuku. Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building on the right.

Mount Fuji as seen from one of the hotels in Shinjuku. Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building on the right.

Three-story Koyasu Pagoda is located near the main stage of Kiyomizu-dera.

Three-story Koyasu Pagoda is located near the main stage of Kiyomizu-dera.

Maybe I was just not looking close enough, but Japan is not exactly what I thought it would be. It’s very different from other Asian countries that I have visited, but it is surprisingly similar in areas that I would have never thought it would be. For example, it’s nowhere near as tidy and organized as one would think. Technological superiority of the Land of the Rising Sun is a myth – I haven’t seen VHS cassettes in years, but they are still very popular in Japan. Contrary to popular belief, not all Japanese are wearing strange clothes or having funny haircuts. In fact, it’s much much easier to see a person wearing traditional Japanese costume than a cosplayer wearing something amusing or ar least a little bit original. Oh well.