By Tessa Andrzejczak, Semester at Sea, Spring 2017

I had my first experience with international travelling last week in Japan. I went into this trip expecting everyone to hate tourists. I assumed that Japanese people resented tourists for the “trinketization” of their culture and that they would resent us, specifically the Americans. I couldn’t have been more wrong.

 Everywhere that I went, there were friendly locals who were ready to help. Several times I had people offer to help me find my train or bus without me even asking for their assistance. Multiple times, people approached me and offered to take a picture for my friends and me even when we weren’t trying to get a picture.

I’ve attached a picture of a waiter that I had who walked ten blocks with my friends and me to make sure that we found the café we were looking for. Another day, my friend and I couldn’t find the trailhead for a hike we were trying to do so we asked a group of locals to help us find it. Turns out they were about to hike the same trail so they invited us to hike with them and even shared their lunch with us halfway through the hike. I attached a photo of our group eating lunch.

Literally every person I met in Japan was willing to help me and apologized dearly if they couldn’t understand me or didn’t have the answer I was looking for. Japan as a country is great but the people there are what make me want to come back again. The Japanese people’s openness and willingness to help is sure to make you feel welcome so I would definitely recommend visiting Japan.