Reflections on Business Travel to Japan
“To move, to breathe, to fly, to float, to gain all while you give, to roam the roads of lands remote, to travel is to live.” (Hans Christian Andersen)
Some of us are lucky enough to travel for business. While travel is hard and takes us away from our homes and families, we need to look at the positivity of being able to see different parts of the country and if you’re really lucky, the world.
A couple of years ago I wrote about how work trips which I dreaded had become welcome respites of peace and serenity, once I decided to take advantage of trips and schedule to see sights and experience cultures when I traveled.
I had the absolute privilege of visiting Japan for a week, from Tokyo to Yokohama, from Endoshima to Kyushu; it was a whirlwind tour and it was truly amazing. It was my first trip to the Far East and when I got back a great friend didn’t ask me what my favorite part of the trip was, instead she asked what I learned while I was there.
· Civility makes all the difference. Japanese culture defines civility across everything. From ceramic teapots in your hotel room to forming perfect lines waiting for trains. There are 40 million people in Tokyo and you walk amongst a sea of people everywhere in complete order. This level of civility creates efficiency but more importantly a sense of calmness and peacefulness.
· Food and gardens should be appreciated for color and beauty. The Japanese serve food on beautiful dishes in places with gorgeous and meticulous gardens. The food is many colors and textures and is to be enjoyed fully.
· The Japanese are incredibly more advanced than Americans — There are triple decked highways, a train system like I’ve never seen in the world, from regionals to the bullet trains, and complete use of space in every nook and in every corner.
There’s a Japanese proverb that “the day you decide to do it is your lucky day.” When it comes to business travel, try to visit other sights along the way and go out and make today your lucky day.