I’m writing this on the plane ride home from my overseas trip, where I got to experience the cultural similarities between neighboring island countries: Japan and the Philippines. With a time zone difference and 1,900 miles between them, these countries have shown me two different worlds, all while also showing similarities in values.
Although these countries have their differences in technological advancement, security, and development, the following are the similarities I’ve noticed between them:
Public Transportation system
Japan is known for their bullet trains. The Philippines is known for their Jeepneys. Public transportation provides a safer mode of commute while also utilizing increased fuel efficiency, which reduces the use of gas, resulting in the reduction of air pollution. It also provides economic benefits for the communities.
Development is centralized to the developed areas as they grow upward rather than outward, resulting in the natural beauty being maintained. Japan and the Philippines have utilized, not only upward growth, but also use underground space to create room for parking in condensed areas. This allows for the nurture of the natural environment to flourish with time.
Tradition and History
Japan is a country infused with culture and history. Complimentary to their modern and technologically inclined cities, it’s temples and historic sites are a must-see. We had the opportunity visit Kyoto and its many temples and historical landmarks, including the Kinkaku-ji Golden Pavilion, and Kiyomizu-dera.
In the Philippines, tradition is commonly held in the household and community. Religious alters are arranged within the house and images of Jesus and Mary are placed at the front of the house gates for protection. Parades are also held in the neighborhood streets to honor various saints and especially Jesus Christ.
As we have become more environmentally aware of the damages that are being done to our planet. It’s imperative that we reduce, reuse, and recycle. Throughout the establishments of Japan and the Philippines, you can find bins are neatly labeled according to which type of material should be placed within. By providing designated recycling bins, this encourages the reduction of waste for the community. For tips on how to become more environmentally friendly, read our post here.
With collective cultures, such as Japan and Philippines, there’s a high regard for social rules that focus on putting the communities needs ahead of individual needs, putting respect and care at the forefront to provide for the society. This can be seen with with the promotion of recycling and regard for their surroundings. In Japan, the streets are very clean. That is because there are no public trash bins and it’s understood that it’s the individuals responsibility to clean up their own trash in order to keep the community clean. This is especially evident after Japan’s match with Mexico for the World Cup, where fans were seen picking up trash within the stadium.
On the train ride into Shibuya, I noticed that the commute was very quiet because it’s acknowledged that speaking too loudly or causing a ruckus on the train will disturb the people around you.
The core of community starts with family. Although we didn’t sightsee in the Philippines as much as we did in Japan, I got to spend a lot of time with family. We celebrated a number of birthdays during my visit. Food portions were large, karaoke was present all day and night, and the laughs were endless. It reminded me that as long as I take care of those around me, they’ll also take care of me.
A few take aways from my trip were that these countries have made an emphasis on recycling in order to preserve our environment, the sense of community through kindness and respect can go a long way, and being able to disconnect from the virtual world can refresh your senses with what’s in front of you.
What countries have you visited or want to visit and why? Leave a comment below!
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