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In this way, development mostly happens in a piecemeal fashion, one building at a time, rather than in large redevelopment projects.
New things are mostly just layered beside old things.
That’s not to say that Japan embraces the large scale preservation of historical structures or that people generally practice traditional ceremonies, but people generally believe that if a small number of people want to continue on a tradition or preserve a building that they own, they should be allowed to do that.
Japan has often been seen in the West as a land combining tradition and modernity, and many traditional structures and practices are preserved, but modern structures and practices definitely dominate your experience in Japan.
Japan was the first Asian country to independently modernize, and the country continues to embrace new technologies and aesthetics, but unlike in many countries, Japan does not feel a particular need to attack or remove older technologies, structures, or practices.
In the middle of modern skyscrapers you’ll discover sliding wooden doors which lead to traditional chambers with tatami mats, shoji screens, and calligraphy, suitable for traditional tea ceremonies.
These juxtapositions can seem perplexing or jarring to those used to the more uniform nature of European and North American cities, but if you let go, and accept the layered aesthetics, you’ll find interesting and surprising places throughout the country.