Updated: Aug 13, 2021
In the summer of 2019, I have gotten the golden ticket to pack my bags and board a plane to Tokyo for a week with my friends under a programme by the Japan Science and Technology Agency. With my trusty camera, I have captured moments that will always be cherished. This is how I see the Japanese culture, through my lens.
Biking As a Way of Commute
During my first days in Tokyo, I almost got a heart attack when a middle-aged lady came whizzing pass while ringing her bell in her stylish Mamachari (ママチャリ). Being your average Malaysian, I tend to use the most convenient way to get by which is, you guessed it, a car. Although there is a huge probability for me to get hit by these bikes, it was a miracle that I am still alive and living to write this blog to you.
Reflecting back on my journey, there is a reason why Tokyo (and most of Japan) is the Mecca of riding bikes as a common way of transportation: it is cheap, healthy and eco-friendly to the environment! Car owners will tend to fork out so much cash on monthly maintenance services and gas. On the other side of the coin, the only major service that bike owners need to do is changing a punctured tyre once in a blue moon. In my opinion, if we are able to ingrain this biking culture in our daily lives, we could offer positive benefits to our body and also Mother Nature.
Merging of Nature and Concrete
There are a lot of memorable takeaways when we travel to another country. And this can be done by doing various activities like buying sentimental trinkets, eating delicious meals, and visiting sightseeing spots. But, when I travel, one of the habits that I truly love is to just observing the people: a small kid going to school by train on his own while messaging his parents using Docomo’s phone for children (キッズ携帯), commuters being dead quiet in the train, and how people interact with each other when they meet.
But, the thing that was most obvious to me when I walked around the streets of Tokyo is the way how buildings and nature are seamlessly designed to be kind to each other. I could see different flowers being planted, like the beautiful hydrangeas. Also, I have come to realised that many green parks are reachable within a few stations away.
Being a city boy my whole life, I believe having a green city benefits every single city dweller, although most of them do not realise it, that needs the powerful healing of nature to put a stop on their fast-paced, eight-to-five hectic lives.
Good Practice of Hygiene
I was surprised to stumble upon a green net that was fixed on a wall while I was walking with my friends to the university that was hosting the programme that we attended.
From an engineering student’s perspective, this is the simplest and most useful creation ever! Having nets to hold garbage to the wall will ease pedestrians passing through and it looks more managed while waiting for the garbage truck to arrive and be picked.
Furthermore, I was again astonished by most of the escalators in Tokyo. This is because most of its handles are actually antibacterial. So, you do not have to worry about having germs on your hands when riding the escalator.
Having these kinds of miniscule methods for hygiene management is very important, especially having many people living in places like the city.
Overall, I have learned a lot throughout my one week stay in Tokyo. Travelling to another country and learning its cultures will help us improve and affect the way we live our lives in the long run. Thus, I could not wait to visit more places in the future. Anyway, what about your unforgettable experiences during your travels?
Name: Wan Muhammad Syafiq Bin Wan Rozali
As a way to release stress from my studies and a time for self-reflection, I love going for a long run while observing the surroundings around me. Furthermore, studying at a coffee shop with a cup of hot latte (with no sugar!) is, in my opinion, one of the most perfect ways to spend the day.