Two Cities; Two Worlds
3 Differences Between my Small Hometown and Tokyo, Japan.
Tokyo is a very large city. When I first came to Japan, I had no idea just how big it truly was.
On the contrary my hometown is small, very small. My hometown has 799 people who currently live there. My graduating class at my high school was just over 100 people.
So needless to say, it was a pretty big shock moving from somewhere so small to a place that is much larger.
There are three big ways that Tokyo is different from my hometown.
FIRST, INFRUSTRUCTURE IN JAPAN IS CONSIDERABLY DIFFERENT.
Tokyo and my hometown are different in the way of infrastructure. Tokyo’s infrastructure is incredible. Anywhere that I want to go is a simple walk or a short train ride away. The trains are reliable and clean and they are fairly simple to navigate. Tokyo has the perfect mix of train to walking to driving ratio. For fairly basic tasks (like going to the grocery store, bank etc.) walking is the best option as typically the grocery store is only a few blocks away. For more advanced things (specific stores, Universities etc.) the train is the best option with decent train fares and fairly fast commutes. And for longer tasks (like vacations and other long-distance tasks) driving can be a good way to get to where you’re going. Obviously, you could drive if you didn’t want to take the train and you could take the train long distances, it’s up to preference and what you have available. Compared to my hometown in the USA, this is very different. In my hometown, the only way I can get around is through driving. The nearest grocery store is much further away. There are no trains or buses to get around. Public transportation is fairly few and far between. The infrastructure is sub-par and lackluster. You would think that for such a small town the roads would at least be clean and well-marked! Tokyo’s infrastructure is very good and pleasant to travel with.
THE SECOND DIFFERENCE WAS IN SIZE.
Another way my hometown is different from Tokyo in the way of size. As previously mentioned, my hometown has a population of 799 people living there. Compare this to Tokyo’s 13.96 million and this is huge. To this day I still cannot fully understand how many people live here. Other than population size Tokyo is also much larger geographically. Tokyo has multiple prefectures and multiple wards. Each with many thousands of different offices, houses, apartments and restaurants. Tokyo has tons of things to do. Most, if not all of the buildings, have multiple floors. Many with some kind of shop on the bottom and offices on the upper-level floors. This gives you the option to shop, eat and work potentially all in the same building! My hometown however, does not have these things. When looking at the population it can easily be seen that my hometown would not have as many buildings and such. Most buildings are single floor buildings with everything very widely spread out. The town does not have but two restaurants, both are fast food. There are a few small businesses like a bank and a barber shop, but nothing compared to the massive number of places in Tokyo.
FINALLY, THE COMMUNITY FEELING IN JAPAN.
The last difference in my hometown and Tokyo is the sense of community. You would think that being in a smaller town would grant a larger sense of community, right? I would answer no. I feel far more connected to the people in Tokyo than I did in my small hometown. I think it has something to do with the festivals and many different events it has. Festivals, that are often free to attend, feel like a great way for me to get connected with the country and city as a whole. Even as a foreigner who does not speak much Japanese, I still feel as if I can attend and feel welcomed. Tokyo has tons of these events every month. There are many different festivals and celebrations. Many different areas have celebrations so you could attend multiple festivals for the same events. My hometown does not have anything like this unfortunately. There is no large celebrations or events that happen there. The closest thing we have to this is visiting relatives on large holidays. Outside of that if you want to attend a large event you would need to travel hundreds of miles away to a nearby city. Most of these events also require an entry fee and a parking fee. Sadly, my hometown does not have the large festivities and sense of community as Tokyo does.
Tokyo is a fantastic city. It has great infrastructure, plenty of things to do and makes you feel welcomed with tons of festivities. It feels like the city is welcoming and easy to maneuver. When compared to hometown, and many of the other cites I’ve been to, Tokyo seems to shine bright and excel in almost everything that it does. So, what are you waiting for?
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