Opportunity opens up your antenna, which enables you to find something attractive.
To take an example of shopping, when you have no idea of what you want, it’s hard to find something attractive, whereas when you know what you want, it’s easier to find it in a store.
It’s because your antenna is wide open for finding that specific thing.
For me, it was Japan toward which I opened my antenna. When I was in Japan, I had little interest in touristic places in my country. But since I started living abroad, I became aware of being Japanese, which opened my mind to my own country. And every time I return, I decided to visit specific places I’d never been. And the more I travel, the more I realize that there are such a many great places that I never get bored of traveling.
But of course, traveling in Japan is not cheap, and I usually don’t have so much time when I return. This time, I spent only 1 week in Japan as a transit from Chile to Mongolia, but I could visit quite many places. And that was JR pass which made my journey possible.
For those who have never heard about JR (Japan Railroad) pass, it’s a train pass with which you can travel almost anywhere in Japan through JR company (which runs all over the country). And you can use this for JR bus (not many), local and super bullet train (Shinkansen).
Especially, Shinkansen is really rapid (faster than 250km/h) but pretty expensive: albeit different depending on the distance, it is pricy (e.g., it costs about 120USD from Osaka to Tokyo). And this JR pass for 7 days is cheaper than round ticket between Osaka-Tokyo.
You can select three different pass: 7 days, 14 days and 21 days, and the price will be 235USD, 375USD and 479USD respectively (based on one site I visited, and the price will change depending on the agency and exchange rate).
So those of you who want to travel in Japan, this pass is very reasonable (I travelled Europe with euro pass, but JR pass is way more reasonable). Also, what I like about traveling by train over airplane is to be able to see interesting landscapes from the train window.
Ok, so the reason why this amazing pass is not so familiar to Japanese citizens is that it is not mainly for Japanese people, but for foreigners who want to travel in Japan. And you have to buy it outside Japan (it is available for some specific countries).
But there are two exceptional cases in which even Japanese citizen can purchase: those who have permanent visa of the assigned countries (my case) and those who got married with foreigner (for more detail, please check the JR’s website).
With this pass, I could travel from Osaka to Aomori (via Tokyo), then to Hokkaido (this time’s goal). On my way back, I travelled via different railroad (Akita, Nigata) to Nagoya, then come back to Osaka.
The path I took: Osaka (dark blue)→Tokyo (red)→Aomori (yellow) →Hokkaido (green) →Akita (yellow)→Niigata and Nagoya (light blue)→Osaka (dark blue).
Here are some highlighted photos from my train trip.
And lastly, I would finish this entry with my dream place called “Saihouji”, the moss temple in Kyoto. You have to make a reservation in advance to visit this place, and it was also the favorite place of Steve Jobs. I could talk to a monk who attended him back then, and he said Jobs seemed to be deeply impressed with this “nature”, the main component of Zen Buddhism which impressed him toward the design of Apple product.
I made sure again that Japan is such a great place for nature, food, attraction, history, etc.
Living abroad opened my antenna, and JR pass gave me a wing to get to know a little bit more about Japan.