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About two months ago, I was invited by my Japanese friend to someplace in the countryside. Since I always wanted to see the countryside of Japan, it was an obvious yes for me.

Unlike Tokyo, there isn’t too much public transportation in the countryside. There is no complex train system, although there are buses. So, most people in the countryside drive. This reminded me a bit of back home. In my hometown, there are trains and buses, but they don’t have the complexity of the system here in Tokyo so a car is definitely a must in order to get around. Luckily, my friend was able to drive us there so I was still able to get around in the countryside. If it weren’t for that, I’m not sure if I would have come across the beautiful views I experienced.

Another difference is the countryside is calm. The idea that the countryside is quieter than one of the loudest places on Earth is a no-brainer but the difference is jarring. It felt like I entered a new world. It was crazy. As I was walking, I could hear water flowing downstream, leaves and grass rustling with the wind, and I could even hear myself breathe. It’s hard to explain but before going to the countryside, I didn’t notice that I couldn’t hear those sounds. My brain had muted so much noise from Tokyo that I didn’t even notice I couldn’t hear myself breathe. So, when I was in the countryside, I was pleasantly surprised to be reminded of my breathing.

Finally, I want to talk about the people. In Tokyo, people dress a certain way. There is an abundance of salarymen in their Western suits and office ladies in Western attire. The people in the countryside were not wearing such attire. Instead, they were wearing simple things like jeans and shirts. I think part of this is the peaceful atmosphere and the other part is the fact that Tokyo is the place for higher-skilled jobs while the countryside has a lot more mom-and-pop shops.

The countryside is a beautiful place. Yeah, Tokyo is cool but if you are coming to Japan, I cannot recommend experiencing the countryside enough.