It’s Friday night in Asakusa Japan, and people are enjoying the humid summer evening. This scene looks like any other local hang out anywhere in the world on a Friday night. It’s the last round and the final customers are closing the place down. They have a few more thoughts to process or a few more ideas to share before they head home.
What I like about the back streets, side streets and local hang outs is that you get to see how the people really live. You see what tourists miss and what tour guides have no ability to control. Local life allows us to relate to people as real people, not as figments or pieces of a society. The people are the culture, they are what makes it work. The people you see when you get off the popular path are the ones who are most like you. They have real lives, real problems, have real wants and needs.
The challenge traveling the back streets also provides is that you may end up lost or in a place where you have no idea where you will land. The maps may not show it nor do the locals speak your same langauge, so you may be on your own. It takes some guts to travel in uncertain places. You may not know where you are or where you will end up…so travel without care. Not knowing is most of the fun. You never know who you will find to relate to or how pleasant a scene you may discover. The local spots remind us that the world is not so big, we all basically want the same things. We want somewhere to go, someone to share with, something to love. Local life highlights that no matter where you travel.