As I am writing this newsletter I am sitting at Narita airport in Tokyo after having spent 2 weeks here in Japan. This is my first visit to Japan and I thought I would reflect on some of my observations and experiences.
I have been asked what the best part of my adventure has been. My spontaneous answer has been the people. Everywhere I went the people have been extremely generous. Although very few people speak English, there is an openness and a willingness to be of service. Everything they do, from sweeping the street to tending their flower gardens to preparing and serving meals is done with such commitment and reverence. I have found the people so incredibly respectful and humble. They have an eye for simplicity and beauty.
The young women are so very lovely and dress to be “pretty” rather than “sexy” which is quite refreshing, while embracing “hello Kitty!” They are quietly spoken and considered.
The country is a contrast. Tokyo is busy, flashy and noisy, and in amongst it, it has pockets of gardens and water surrounding temples and shrines where one can find solace and peace. Kyoto is a beautiful city and has so many exquisite Japanese cultural experiences – including coming across a Geisha! I was lucky enough to stumble across the most beautiful temple area surrounded by ancient forests just near the popular temple and bamboo forest area on the outskirts of Kyoto. By turning left instead of right and crossing the river I was led to this temple oasis and had it totally to myself! Amazing!
Walking around the cities there are old parts and new parts, with lots of high-rise apartments with veranda’s filled with drying washing – they even have giant pegs to hang doonas out over the handrails! I have never seen so many electrical wires cross crossing the streets! It seems that the peace and tranquillity exists in harmony amongst complexity and chaos!
Taking some of the culture home with me – I am looking forward to spending more time in my garden to cultivate it with care and precision, and to admire its beauty. There is a reason that Japanese gardens are invigorating and recuperative! I am taking home the quite respect for everything that I do including decluttering and living in simplicity. And I am taking home a pile of goodies from my shopping including a new found love of Harajuku trendiness (think young Japanese fashionistas!) and Hello Kitty gaudiness!
I love it!