My three favorite Countries and Why I like them

Outside India, that is. I need to mention here that I have never been to any country outside India myself and I don’t even have a passport! So, the countries listed here are based on my perception of the outside world developed over the years.

Perception – We all know that the perceptions we have today would be broken tomorrow (if not today itself!), but still we feel the need to form perceptions of people / communities – Don’t we? Maybe perceptions are like a camouflage for hiding our ignorance!

This is not a list of Countries with my favorite (wanna go) tourist places. Its based more on my perception of a (perhaps non-existent) National Character, of which I think every country has one.

1. Germany

My tryst with Germany is more like first love – Seeking solace through perceived idealism. Some how, this first love stayed with me!

I don’t know why the English speaking people call this country ‘Germany’ while they themselves call it ‘Deutschland’. Maybe the Brits (back then) thought Deutschland was difficult to pronounce, and hence went with a more easily pronounceable word in English! But I like both the names.

To me, Germany represented idealism – Be it Science, Technology, Medicine or even Philosophy! Most of the innovations in the Eighteenth, Nineteenth and even early Twentieth centuries came from Germany.

Germany has produced a lot of world famous philosophers. That’s one reason why I am trying to learn their language – I want to get familiar with the works of these philosophers in their language as I think that translated works might take away the crux of the messages conveyed. A Tamil poem, translated into English can never match or even come near to the original text, for example!

To me, Germany represented tenacity, guts and will to fight powers that are much larger than itself. This is what Winston Churchill had to say after the two world wars – “They fought  the whole world twice, and almost won both the times”.

The brands from Germany signified new levels of dependability, quality and efficiency. Be it Mercedes-Benz, Volkswagen, BMW, Audi, Siemens, Metro or any other German company. The German football team has been one of the best in the world and Bayern Munich has been my favorite club for a long time. Back then, when India qualified for the champions trophy in hockey, I used to admire their style of playing hockey as well, in which they are one of the best teams along with Australia and Netherlands.

2. Japan

Japan, to me is about admiration & learning. I admire a lot of aspects of the Japanese people and society, and feel that the whole world has a lot to learn from them.

My earliest introductions to Japan were from my English teacher who kept praising the discipline and sincerity of Japanese students (She taught in some Japanese school as a part of a brief teacher training program), and compared them to us 🙂 I also remember seeing a photo in a popular Tamil magazine taken from outside a Japanese company – ‘Workers who come to the factory on Saturday and Sunday to work will be fined!’ 🙂 It seems, the Japanese workers would work more so that the company is unable to sell them and is struck up with stocks, when they want to protest/ go on a strike! Compare that to how others go on a strike!

Anything that has a Made in Japan sticker on it is considered a high quality product, at least here. Sony, Toyota, Mitsubishi, Panasonic, Honda, Suzuki, Toshiba are highly respected brands all over the world. Japanese management/ manufacturing principles like 5 Sigma are followed throughout the world.

I read in some blog about an incident that happened when the blogger was in Japan – When a colleague lost a purse (with money), it was deposited in a police station by someone who found it. So, while the blogger was expressing their happiness about the purse being returned, it seems the colleague said, ‘What else could that person do? Its not their money anyway’!! Try to beat that attitude – Only a society with very wise people can react like that.

In fact, Akio Morita – One of the founders of Sony Corp, writes in his book that Inherited property would not last more than a couple of generations in Japan, as the inheritance taxes were so high and the difference between the salaries of CEO & Workers was not more than 10x (at least back then)!! Inheritance of unearned wealth can hamper a whole society by making them lazy and taking away the incentive to work. Overpaying of executives has brought a sub-prime crisis, elsewhere.

3. Norway

Alfred Nobel assigned the responsibilities to evaluate and hand over all Nobel prizes to different committees in Sweden except one of them – The Nobel Peace prize. That in itself is a huge testament to Norway’s involvement in peaceful settlement of disputes.

Not every other country gets involved in maintaining peace between warring factions in distant nations. Especially when there is nothing in it for them to gain. That shows the genuine concern Norwegians have towards fellow beings in other nations.

Nothing is more important than peace and peaceful resolution of conflicts – Europe has learned this the hard way, and the United States will also learn it the hard way.

Norway has been involved in initiating/ forwarding negotiations in order to bring peaceful resolution of long standing conflicts in multiple regions including Sri Lanka, Sudan, Israel-Palestine, Philippines, Ethiopia, Indonesia, Columbia, Haiti, etc.

Some of them have succeeded but many of them have failed. But just for the sheer effort and their genuine concern in bringing about world peace and harmony, Norway has become one of my favorite countries and an example for all other nations to follow.

The world has become a global village after all. So, why not make it a peaceful one? Hats off to Norway for starting a positive trend.

Destination Infinity

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22 Replies to “My three favorite Countries and Why I like them”

  1. I have been to Germany and I can tell you that they are indeed very efficient and hardworking. It is a wonderful country. However, the country that I like the most is France. I find their language very romantic 😀 😀

    1. Everything about France is beautiful – Their language, buildings / architecture, art, etc. The society has an eye for poise and finery that is unmatched. It is one of the best tourist destinations, I think.

      Destination Infinity

  2. I like Japan very much… I read the book of Akio Morito and I am impressed by their ideologies…

    Germany… I never thought about them much… but after your take and thinking about it… yes… indeed they had of great people… Albert Einstein is one among them 🙂

    Norway… I know nothing…

    1. Albert Einstein might have been raised in Germany in his younger years. But his family moved to Italy and he studied and started his academic work when he was in Switzerland. Later on, he moved to the USA. He did stay for a short while in Germany as well, but developed a huge dis-taste to that country. He hated the discipline and rigidity of their educational system. Of course, later on he had to face the Nazi regime which was against the Jews – that might have furthered his displeasure for that country.

      Destination Infinity

  3. I entirely share your admiration for the Japanese people. About Norway I feel neutral and Germany I can’t say I like much. I have never been to the above countries and I too have developed my perception from the media. I agree with you about the German technology etc, but I guess the history of Germany still casts a shadow.

    1. The history of every powerful country casts a shadow – But certain things are hidden from us by the media and certain things are blown out of proportion. Propaganda is all pervasive.

      Destination Infinity

    1. I think we need to live in a place to form a good opinion about it – So, whatever was presented in this article is based on my perceptions, primarily.

      Destination Infinity

  4. My thinking angle is different…my nephews, 3 of them studied there and can converse in German very well. They talk to each other in German too! It sounds well to the ears! They have given a very good description of Germany!

    What you say about Japan is right, anything which has got a ‘made in Japan’ label, is always reliable, we feel and it is nearly true!

    Yes, too much money makes people – the next generations – lazy in mind and body! Now, many Japanese are coming here and love to live here with all the servants and other facilities!

    I always wondered why Norway is taking so much trouble to bring peace in Sri Lanka! They are going out of the way to help them. Great people!

    Where would you like to work?!

    1. Any country, including Germany, Japan & Norway (and the famous US of A) has its minus points. Its my opinion that when people migrate from one country to another, they do it based on little information – that’s why things look too rosy at the other side of the world! People tend to sort of close their mind on the negative points! The US of A might look much better on paper (and perception), but the ground reality is – they have their own unique problems, just like any other country!

      I have no passport, and no intentions to work anywhere outside India. Not because I think India is the best place to work, but because I think the positives and negatives cancel out at some point of time. I think where we live (or) which country we work does not really matter as long as we do quality work, where ever we are!

      So, working in US of A, Germany, Japan, Norway or India are all the same to me. And besides, the Internet has already created a (virtual) border-less world.

      Destination Infinity

    1. I have not been to anywhere 🙂 I too like made in japan tag – we don’t see that tag on products these often days do we? Perhaps Taiwan and China are overworking!

      Destination Infinity

  5. My fav countries to visit: Click here
    Germany: also represents “Hitler” 🙂
    I like Italy and Greece more. If you look back you will see more scientists and philosophers from these countries than anywhere else.
    Japan: totally agree
    Norway: neutral feelings.. dont know much about it

    1. Your post (and comments) have a nice list for travel enthusiasts. You could have added France/Italy in that list.

      Hitler was a small part in the history of Germany, you cannot equate a whole country to one ruler. Interesting info on philosophers from Italy and Greece, didn’t know about it.

      Destination Infinity

  6. interesting post. never thought about it. get a passport and make a pledge to yourself to visit these 3 countries at least in your lifetime 🙂

    1. I want to go around India first, and other countries later. I think its important to have a deep understanding of yourselves and your environment before exploring others – at least for me!

      Destination Infinity

  7. I think island countries hold a mystic charm.I have not visited any country outside india.But infuture if i can afford to go i would definitely visit Srilanka , mauritius , and small island counties that are dotted along. But i dont think i will ever be able to realise this dream. let me be happy with what i have.Let me consider myself fortunate that i am able to see and go for vacations to places in India. I have had a wonderful time in lonavala, mahabaleshwar , alibaug , Goa ,Munnar, ooty, Kodaikanal ,Mumbai, calcutta , Chennai . waiting to see many more destinations in india. Right now transferred to coimbatore .cant wait to see the places u have listed in cbe.

    1. Oh, that’s a lot of places you have already seen. Going by this track record, I guess you’ll start visiting Islands sooner, than later 🙂 Enjoy your stay and Cbe and learn some Tamil as well 🙂

      Destination Infinity

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