A Travellerspoint blog

Japan

If I could have my cake & eat it too, what cake would it be?

Kyoto, Japan

overcast 55 °F

Got to thinking if life were all about bolting together all the things you want and making it work, then what are the things I want…for right now, the cake is pretty simple. I am not much of an elaborate dreamer, dreaming up bland things like "travel," whereas I know people who have very detailed dreams/plans/goals. Recent research shows that the more elaborate the dream, the more likely it is for the dreamer to not lose sight of it, to focus on it, and to develop habits that support the goal. It doesn't mean that the goal is achieved, it just means that the likelihood of achieving the goal is increased.

My life has been not much more than a series of events that have occurred by chance. The Queen of Serendipity! A few years ago, I spent a long weekend in Washington DC. Walked the Mall, the monuments, viewed the Declaration of Independence and saw the cherry trees and read about the Cherry Blossom Festival. And last month, like all the other unplanned things in my life, I got to see the Cherry Blossoms at the mother of all Cherry Blossom Festivals in Kyoto, Japan!! Seriously, even if I could have dreamt up a detailed dream, I wouldn't have dreamt being in Japan to experience this. So there is something to be said for the unplanned and the fortuitous.

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Japan is so very special - from the instant you land, you know you aren't in a country that feels like any other country. And it's not like as if they are anti-English language or more fiercely nationalistic than any one else. Me thinks its just such a strong, strong, undiluted culture that it has adapted to all that is happening in the world, and made it it's own version. Take the Elvis impersonators that I saw on the last trip - Elvis is Americana, yet, the Japanese are avid fans. Or fast-food "vending machines" where you punch in what you want, get a coupon, stand in line, and sit at a table with strangers to eat your ramen.

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We also observed people going to work, the "salary man" drinking late into the night, the girls dressed like dolls. The girls are particularly fascinating - many have a "knock kneed" way of walking (google it!). And Google tells me that it was how the kimono made you walk (the tight-ish flow of the kimono, the wooden sandals, etc.) and now the girls just make themselves walk that way because it's viewed as feminine! And then there are the incredibly short skirts that they wear…apparently, in Japanese culture, the legs are not considered a "sex-symbol" - so it's perfectly ok to show your legs and lots of it! And then my mind wandered to India - full of its taboos for women (not so many taboos for men!). Women wear saris, which, by design bare the mid riff, but it's not ok to wear a midriff baring tshirt! Oh well. It's these quirks that make a nation what it is, it is what has attracted travelers for 100s of years, no?

Some cherry-blossomy photos.

Posted by Goofy9 22:45 Archived in Japan Comments (0)

Socks and sandals

Tokyo

What's more fun than a trip? Finally going on a trip that was jinxed 3 times before! Had planned Tokyo at least twice before- but ended up going some place else for whatever reason. And their radioactive-tsunami- earthquake trio was a deterrent too. Well, anyway, Tokyo finally happened, much to my gleehappiness. While doing my MBA, I used to talk about wanting to visit, to live and to work in Germany and in Japan. And this summer, I both happened! 

Pictures

Tokyo was everything I imagined it would be in terms of fashion. Lots of short skirts, ankle length tight pants, lace socks with sandals. Practically every second girl was wearing the prettiest lace socks with the highest of heels.  Ankle socks, knee length, thigh-high, see-through white, patterned black, flowers, colors- all sorts of lace, with heeled sandals. Wacky but individual, in an odd collective sort of way. Takashitadori was adorable- with the cute girls and their frilly lacy frocks and blouses. Even staid ol' me got myself a cutesy, lacey, girlie zippered sweater. 

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Had tempura made personally by a chef at the table. Even had the best ramen in a teeny place with a long bar where the locals drank beer while slurping their ramen. Oh, oh, went to their fish market. The wholesale kind. Messy, wet as a fish market should be but so much fun. 

Oh, tokyo, you shall always be special to me. 

Posted by Goofy9 21:04 Archived in Japan Comments (0)

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