A Juxtaposition of Ancient and Ultra-Modern

Japan is a country steeped in history dating back thousands of years. Today it is a living testament of age-old tradition, co-existing rather awkwardly with all the trappings of a rapidly developed modern society.

An ancient bridge near Hiroshima.

High speed bullet trains zoom on tracks above thousand year old temples. Women wearing traditional kimonos walk side by side other women wearing the latest fashion trends from Europe. Glitzy Hollywood theme bars and ancient tea ceremonies. Businessmen diving Mercedes Benz's paying homage to good fortune at Shinto shrines. Avant-garde art and staid flower arrangement. Zen Buddhism and hedonistic lifestyles. Sumo wrestling and baseball. Heavy metal rock bands and the Kabuki theater. Whichever comparison strikes you, Japan is a bizarre mix of the latest fads and the ultra-traditional.

Old and new, expensive and cheap, subtle and brash, it's no wonder most first time visitors are overwhelmed with all the complexities. Yet, underlying the hustle and bustle of the big cities, and fierce competitive nature of its business and political system, one discovers a very traditionally-minded society. The Japanese people, the caretakers of this finely tuned system, are the real enigma within.

On a clear day it is possible to see Mount Fuji from the top
of this tower in Shinjuko, Tokyo.

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