“We are fools whether we dance or not, so we might as well dance”
Things I love…
- Clean air, beautiful green mountains and harmonious architecture
- A social contract that requires you are aware how your every action will affect those around you
- the blend of old and new, elderly on bikes, moms with babies on bikes, and wonderful food…
- Toilets with heated seats and bum washers!
- Trendy unique women’s fashion!
Things that are hard…
- Figuring out which side of the sidewalk I should be walking on
- Ordering the food I want without using a picture
- My complete lack of language skills
- Feeling like I am breaking some kind of rule every time I turn around
As we got on the plane for our flight to Japan I was in the red zone on the anxiety scale. All those months of planning and reading were going to be put to the test. Would we make it through the airport and manage to find our hotel!! Do we have the proper documents? Will we manage to find our way! What in the world are we going to eat!!
Well, my anxieties have been put to rest. Travel in Japan is seriously a breeze. If you enjoy organization and logic the way Japan is laid out will make your heart sing. The food is wonderful and easy to come by in restaurants or the local 7-11.
We have seen a few of the temples in Kyoto and managed to take the train to Nara and Kinosakionsen. I won’t bore you with descriptions of how beautiful and amazing everything seems to be, but I will say if you have the opportunity to travel to Japan, DO IT!
More Pictures and Videos here..
State of Mind…. September 2017
Where do I start? The past 8 months have been a whirlwind and it is hard to believe I am actually sitting in a room in Kyoto, Japan. One year ago I was struggling to figure out what it was I wanted to do with my life. When the opportunity to travel to India with two of my yoga teachers came up last September my heart cried out to take that trip and Eric supported my desire. After committing to that trip I had a heart to heart with Eric about where we were going with our lives and I encouraged him to think about what/where he really wanted to spend his time and energy working in this next chapter of our lives. I felt we were at a threshold. And now here we are traveling the world!
It feels good to have our first international stop under our belts. Japan has been a gentle entry because it is so easy to travel here. Although, it is expensive! I do envy the travelers who are here on vacation who have saved their pennies to splurge on all the wonderful offerings. Lucky for us we don’t have room in our luggage or our home for too many travel goodies. Vivian spent her Japan money on a lovely fan and Leo has used his money on the well placed vending machines. (one vending machine for every 23 people! interesting link here) He loves that we are allowing him to buy a coke with his own money and takes advantage of it as often as possible. We have spent money on bus rides, temple entry, food, and a few treats here and there. We are barely staying within our daily budget. Tonight it is ramen noodles with eggs for me cooked in our very own room!
Anyway, as we are on a pretty tight budget it has been a bit of a challenge to define ourselves as traveling vs. vacationing. I imagine this will continue to challenge us as we travel from place to place. So many new offerings and wonderful unique crafts to admire and desire. I explained to the kids (and reiterated for myself) we are not here to buy things we are here to experience traveling in foreign lands. In this day and age buying ‘things’ is pretty easy. Most of what the kids desire we could buy back home and I explained that with global commerce these things are really not as precious as the experience they are having. Lifting their heads and eyes to take in the view of the sun setting on the western mountains, the experience of riding the bus/subway, the feel of the air and smells of the food, the kind smile of strangers, the unique sounds of Japanese cicada and our time together will be what we treasure most from this time and place in our life. Experiences not things is the motto for this trip and hopefully for our lives.
(although…..there are the cutest clothes here that I am dying to buy!!!)
The theme for my yoga practice here has been presence. It has not been easy, although it is easy to remain present it is exhausting! I can see why we often tune out basic everyday life. It is really tough to be paying attention ALL THE TIME. How do I read that sign? Where are we suppose to get off the bus? Where do you want me to place my money? Why is that person looking at me with such a look of disgust? What did I do wrong now? Did I do something wrong or is that person just disgusted with me in general? Did I look the right direction before crossing the street? What did that person just say to me? Whew!!! So, yes the yoga of presence, breathing, taking each moment as it comes, and letting go. That is my practice right now. It is interesting to experience daily life in such a different way and it brings up questions and perceptions for how I live my life on a daily basis when I am not a ‘gaijin’ (Japanese word for foreigner). How do I perceive the world, people, situations, and landscape that is familiar to me and has my perception been skewed by time and familiarity. Is it possible to refresh my perceptions of those things I find ordinary and everyday back in my homeland? Also on the yoga page is the study of Buddhism in Japan, it’s history, evolution, and connections to India. Fascinating.
In mom news we have made the decision to stay ‘home’ a few days to just read, work on school (we are doing math, spelling, reading, and history) and just let ourselves rest. The kids have been been awesome, but the social rules are a bit like living back in the 50’s. Children are to be seen not heard. Although I consider my kids to have pretty decent manners, they are kids, and they are brother/sister so remaining ‘well behaved’ all day long is also exhausting. We have not had many kid outings. Outings have mostly been temples, gardens, and museums. We had a day at the Ghibli Museum yesterday and they loved it and i have promised them another day at Nara feeding the deer. They seem to be happy with that and a day at home watching American TV and playing iPad games. If we do a second trip around the world….I definitely think farm stays or doing some kinds of family exchange would be great.
The inner work of co-traveling/parenting with my husband has gone surprisingly well. We have a pretty good dance going. He recognizes my strong desire to lead and let’s me and when I get tired and strung out he takes the lead. So far we have only stepped on one another toes a couple of times. It is fun watching him unfold and explore a new side of himself. He has lived a pretty regimented and controlled life it will be fun to see what he does with his freedom. He is getting his blog up this week. It is called Eric’s Hair Adventure. Be sure to check it out for a lighter and more comical view of our travels.
As our Japan travel comes to a close we look to the Western horizon and a new adventure in China.
So until next time,
Deer and Giant Buddah
Traditional Music Variety show