My first trip for the year takes me to Japan…and I am smitten! There’s an air of tranquility in every city I’ve been to in the Kansai region. You can always find a quiet place amidst a busy lifestyle the locals might have. One can have close access to nature. Even a train ride can give a quick down time – no eardrum breaking music or loud conversations on the phone. There’s organized chaos. The people here know how to wait patiently in queues even at peak times on the platform. There’s consideration for others. Despite the language hurdle, they’ve thought of means to make traveling easy for foreign visitors. A poster by the entrance at the Osaka International Judo Center sums up the core values the Japanese uphold – Manners. Independence. Nobility. Dignity. What more can I say? It’s love at first sight!