It is a matter of personal choice where you would prefer to live - in a rural or urban settings? It is also tough to decide if rural life in Japan is better compared to an urban one as people live in the city more because of work than because of their personal choice. But if I look at the points below, I will certainly fall in love with rural life. I might sound bias because the criteria are my own and I have my own rural lifestyle in mind while creating and describing them.
1.Closer connection with the nature- I am among those who adores nature for its every bit and prefers living in closer proximity to nature. I love trees, flowers, birds, paddy fields and open spaces to view the sunrise. In Niigata where I live, I feel absolutely blessed because if I walk 5 mins I am at a river bank where I can enjoy the peace as I watch the flowing current. If I drive 5 mins I am at the sea and can enjoy the cool breeze and keep myself refreshed with the long walk on the sand. No matter the season, no disappointment. From spring to winter, every climate has its unique color and flavor. I also enjoy those paddy fields that produces rice for half of Japan. Rural Japan makes me appreciate the entire nature for its fertility and the ability to feed people and every life that has been created. Even a mere walk in the mornings and evenings helps me rejuvenate my self from inside out. Where would I find this bliss in a crowded, suffocating big urban setting in Japan? Every time when I go to bigger crowded cities like Tokyo, once I am back to Niigata I have that sense of relief. Bigger cities with those intense urban design, crowd and fast life style makes me anxious.
2.Less expensive apartments- I love bigger spaces and would love to have bigger rooms in my apartments. If I chose living in urban Japan, I might end up in way too smaller rooms than I have here in my Niigata apartments. Well, again comparing the price, Tokyo ones with smaller rooms will be more expensive than my bigger rooms here. Isn’t that an added bonus of living in rural Japan?
3.Access to locally grown vegetables and fruits- Living in rural Japan provides me an opportunity to buy locally grown vegetables and fruits. Niigata produces the best rice in Japan, plus the vegetables that I get to buy in the local market are very appealing as they are freshly picked from the farm. Sometimes, while walking around in the farmers field we get chance to buy freshly grown vegetables directly from the field for a very reasonable price. I have experienced this quite often. In urban Japan you basically rely on produce imported from elsewhere. So where would you find such a privilege in urban Japan?
4.Friendlier neighborhood- In big urban cities I find myself lost among people. Life being faster, and busy people hardly have time to even smile at neighbors. While my experience of neighborhoods in Niigata has been different. People in my neighborhood are friendlier and would greet and even talk to you for few minutes when they see you. Faces look familiar to each other because there are not many people like in big cities. It is a wonderful experience being among those few foreign faces in the neighborhood because even the young kids find your looks unique and would love to talk to you. I enjoy this special treat in rural part of Japan.
5.Not less in facility and services- People who have never been to Japan before might have in mind that living in big cities will give you better access to facilities, modern technologies and better services. Well, in the case of Japan this is just a myth because this country has been successful enough in balancing the development perks between urban and rural livelihoods. You will find equally good facilities and services in any part of Japan. There is nothing that I need to worry about while I am in Niigata. Nothing that big that I will miss Tokyo or another big city for. Moreover, nowadays since many services are also being offered online, living in Tokyo or living in Niigata hardly makes any difference.
Even after my above arguments for choosing rural Japan over urban Japan, people could put forward their logic that job opportunities are better in bigger cities. Well, again I would say - more the people, more the competition. I am a part-time teacher in Niigata and so far I have been lucky enough to find myself enough work to keep myself busy. Additionally, I have been enjoying the serene, peaceful and refreshing part of rural Japan.