Sunday, November 05, 2006

Impressed myself!

Hello Folks! I just did up a website with photos from highlights of this year. Well, I know the year has not ended, and the photos are not complete.. But, this is it for now. Enjoy. :)

My Photos

Time to get some sleep now!

Friday, November 03, 2006

A fresh perspective

I should never ever show this to my work colleagues. I have an audit coming up in the next two weeks which means loads of work but at this juncture, I feel like I need to think through what has happened while I was in Japan and to recollect the good, bad and the ugly. (this is because there is cell group tonight and I am supposed to be sharing...)

So, I am currently thinking like Le Corbusier, a notable architect whom coined the term "less is more".Keeping up with the spirit of this, I have written a Haiku.. (end of blog entry if you are interested). Zen, minimalistic concepts are very much linked to Japan, though this is probably not the most common representation as one wanders through this amazing land where contradictions is the norm. Yup, anyways, while less is more, I should write about how this trip went, before old age or forgetfulness strips this of me.

So Japan....we spent in total 16 days and my favourite memories include watching a show at Disneysea, visiting the sites at Hiroshima, taking hot spa baths and just walking around with my fat sloth (my backpack).

So, the plan with going to Japan is that we will be anti-establishments... haha, but within the first day, the plan fell through with us visiting Disneysea. After spending a fortune (equivalent to 2 nights of lodging at our cheapest stop) to enter Disneysea,I was like, urm... why again did I want to do this. The thoughts of dislike of Tokyo disneyland, which i visited the last time I came, flashed back.. I remembered the frustrations with Japanese Speaking Pooh, Mickey and the whole family. But hey, when you bugged the man to visit this place with you, you better look like you are having a ball since it is entirely for you! Yup, so we went around the different stops, did the rides and all and finally we went into the little mermaid "chamber". This was the place for the tiny tots, not 23 year olds but there was a show in 20 mins and we were both tired on our feets so I insisted that we shall watch it.... And I am so glad that I insisted to take it. (For non Disney people, sorry that you have to read this if you are reading it that is) The show was about Ariel and it was really a circus show with the whole cast, Flounder, Sebestian, Ursula and all. Nope, no prince but it was really quite a spectacle. They were doing lots of somersaults in mid air.. and everything was very magical.Its been a while since I was awed with such "man-made" wonder. This is good, better that Cirque De Soliel (Sorry, spelling going down the drain)...I was teleported and truly believed in the magic for that moment. There must be a reason why I like disney! So as of now, need to visit the one in HK, Paris and Florida and I will be done with the disneys. STOP building them!!!

After visiting Disneysea, the next day saw us start our shinkansen trotting around the various stops, somewhere between Tokyo and Kyoto, we decided that we will fully utilise the pass and go to Hiroshima (yes, it was NOT on our original timetable as we thought that we might not have enough time)which is quite far down south. I am glad for the change in plan. Hiroshima is in a league of its own. Well, it spoke to me in many ways. It was not a grand city but a rather quaint city where walking will bring you pretty much wherever you want. Also, with the rich history where humanity has been so severely insulted with worldwide attention, its hard to not be a place that evokes much emotions.So my favourite story is about this vivacious girl who during her infanthood was exposed to the radiation but managed to live through it. She was a school runner and at the age of 12 was dignosed with cancer. Upon realisation, she folded thousands of cranes as her wish to be alive. As all real stories go, she died subsequently but since then, a Childrens' rights monument has been erected with lots of cranes folded. There is something about the laughter of children that does it for me.... I can't help but smile when I see a child smile,or cringe when I see a child suffer.

Yup, so I like Hiroshima. It's nice, quaint, emotive, clean, pleasant, and last but not least had heaps of good food! :)

The places that we stay are all budget places, some better than others and some had the traditional Spa Bath. It is basically a big pool (just like a Jacuzzi) where u sit down and chill. haha, perhaps not chill since the water is like 40degree celcius.But after a loong day of walking around, it is really quite pleasant... There is a skill to it this using of the huge bath tub, but not exactly "G" movie rating so I shant go into it... But, it is GOOD and the antidote to every worry to life. :)

So, my sloth. After like 3 days of dragging the bag, one day, I got really upset and started kicking my backpack. Nope, it didnt do anything to warrant such violence but I was just frustrated at how heavy it was and how despite my best efforts, I get a backache within 2 mins of carrying it. So, on that fateful day, I started crying after carrying it and I started scolding it for not doing anything except to plop on the back... yup, fat sloth. Everyday when its time to move, William would help with its mounting and graciously put my bible in his bag to ease the load. I felt like an eeyore with the load on theback but in time, I enjoyed the moments shared with walking around with the bag. Yes,it did make me cranky on several occasions but on the whole.... sweet.

Thank God for being able to not worry about work. There is something very sweet in thinking about where we will go and not have a plan, where we will stay when we dont have a clue... :) Japan is a very interesting place. I cant put my finger on what it is. It will be arrogance should I say they are empty and so they fill their lives with merchandise (yes, they are a very materialistic society) but there is the spiritual arena that I cant decide about. I can't decide if it is empty or I am too simplistic to figure it out. There was a period in Japan's history where Christians were persecuted. There arent that many christians in Japan today. The Japanese are such obedient people. I can see why at many junctures, they are held at the other end of the spectrum to the Americans... But I am thinking, which is better. To be a yes man and do as you are told... or to question everything and kinda insist on your rights. Well,as with everything, it is a balance. But balance is not my favourite.... Anyways. I think I am equivocating. Wanna end soon as the day has ended. Pictures will come. I promise. Have a blessed weekend.

Travel ends.
Heart yearns for more
Longing lingers.