Japan starts a new era of Reiwa – “beautiful harmony” – today. Reiwa was inspired from an 8th Century poem of admiring plum blossoms in the spring. How fitting, that this new age started in spring too.
A new spring, a fair-weathered month. Clear was the air; gentle, the breeze. Plum blossoms adorn the spring like a maiden’s blush, orchids perfume the air like a lady’s fragrance.
Indeed, like a beautiful spring with fair weather and lovely spring blossoms, "beautiful harmony" was exactly my experience in Japan so far. Everything, everyone, lived in harmony with one another. Or at least they tried their best. The effort is obvious, even to outsiders. I'm sure there's friction that a foreigner like me don't witness and see. But despite that, the day-to-day social experience of living there was indeed very smooth. Care and consideration for others seems to be a natural state of being for the Japanese, and as a guest in their country, I certainly didn't feel left out of that. People kept their presence subtle, their profiles quiet, so that it would not bother others. Not everyone smiles at you, but everyone was certainly well-mannered. Often polite too, beyond what's expected. In this crazy world, it's like paradise already. To me.
I'm a fan and rooting for you, Japan. May this new era of Reiwa is ever so beautiful and harmonious.