"And how did Tokyo welcome the hand off? With a nod to Super Mario Bros, of course. Japan's prime minister Shinzo Abe arrived at the closing ceremony dressed like the video game plumber, and popped up out of a large, green pipe in the stadium. " ~ People.com

Japan has become one of my favorite countries on this side of the world.
When mulling this post over and over in my mind,
the idea of condensing all of my feelings into a short list seemed daunting.
But, I am brave that way.
So, this post will include the 'Top Five Reasons I Love Japan' 
(in no particular order) 
and then embellishments will follow in another post.
There is too much goodness 
and I have only visited two cities in the Land of the Rising Sun.

The Prime Minister, at the closing ceremony of the Rio 2016 Olympics,
provided the perfect support for Reason #1.
This creativity spans every aspect of the culture.
From fashion, to food, to music, to theatre, to technology, 
to art, to electronics, etc., etc., etc.

Underneath the reserved demeanor, 
imagination and curiosity has been fostered and nurtured 
through parents' respect for the high standards of education in Japan. 

Ren Man and I first visited Tokyo 
during the hot sweltering month of July...
where we enjoyed returning 'home'
to the Hotel Claska each evening...
and began our day with an amazing Japanese breakfast.
Of course,
Ren Man enjoyed his 'common' breakfast of muesli 
while I savored every morsel on my tray.
This introduces Reason #2...
the food...
which will be featured throughout this post and the next.

Hotel Claska also provides insight into my Reason #3.
The toilets.
My personal favorites are the ones providing music 
for your personal comfort.
I actually look forward to public toilets in Japan.

When I read about the cultural significance of the Japanese pub, 
or Izakaya, as it is known locally...
I searched for one near us.
Of course, it was no surprise 
when we were invited to follow-up karaoke from our...
and this cultural hangout is #4.
Sake and new friends go together.

My #5 is moving location soon, 
so don't wait for the 2020 Olympics to visit this one.
Our walking tour with The Backstreet Guides,
included a visit to the infamous seafood market in Tokyo...
where 60,000-65,000 employees
 fillet fish, sell at wholesale, and auction off the catch in the inner market.
Future sashimi.

the outer market...
is where we found...
'the foodies' Christmas gift.

You can also find more of reason #2, the freshest sashimi and sushi,
 in tiny 'mom and pop' cafes throughout the outer market.

And there you have it!
My top five of many reasons I love this country.
More of Tokyo and beyond in the next post.

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