An unforgettable conference trip

I have just returned from my first-ever visit to Japan (for the 20th ITS World Congress), and I’m so impressed with the country, its people and culture.

My first surprise in Japan was while we were on our way to the hotel just after arriving in the country. After the first leg of the trip on the T-CAT bus from Narita Airport, we took a taxi from the bus station to the hotel. Close to the hotel, the taxi driver lost his way. He stopped the meter in the taxi, checked the map on his smartphone and found his way. He apologized to us.

After taking us to the hotel, in his broken English he said he was giving us a discount on the fare because he had lost his way and it had taken a bit longer. I was dumbfounded. Such a thing would probably never happen in Australia.

Everywhere we went, the hotel staff and other people were generally very polite and willing to help. After 11 days at the same hotel, some of the staff knew us quite well. As we were having our dinner the final night at the hotel restaurant, I told the waitress we would be leaving the next morning. When we were leaving the restaurant, she came running to me, grabbed my hands and, after a few moments of silence, bowed to me in the Japanese fashion.

Of the few countries I have been to, Japan is certainly one that I would want to revisit. Japan is great.

kamal weeratunga
hillarys, western australia

The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.