|Saihoji Garden in Kyoto|
We (well at least Zen and I!) freely admit Japan is our favorite, most compelling destination in the world. Bev, Zen and I are heartened that normalcy is returning to this inscrutable land, despite the devastation and suffering of March 11.
Despite our many travels to Japan, there always seems to be an impenetrable veil in truly understanding this wonderful land. As David Pillig noted, “in almost every aspect of life in Japan from sumo wrestling and tea ceremony to business, one has a feeling of something other than itself, beyond itself.” A big part of Japan’s uniqueness is its wabi-sabi aesthetic. Wabi-sabi represents the Japanese worldview emphasizing simplicity and purity. You may think of wabi-sabi as a spiritual longing, the beauty of all things humble, unpretentious ephemeral and imperfect. In contrast to our Western celebration of perfection, permanence, symmetry, and bravado, wabi-sabi exalts imperfection, impermanence, asymmetry and humility. Many in Japan refer to wabi-sabi as a feeling of hopeful sadness – nothing lasts; nothing is perfect, nothing is ever finished.
The pervasive Japanese spirit of jishuku has proven an indispensable asset in Japan’s remarkable recovery. Although we have sent clients back to Japan over the past two months, Bev, Zen and I have not returned to Japan since 2010. We are most excited about embarking on our fifth (yes, 5!) sakura/cherry blossoms trip this April 2012.
Hello fellow global kid travelers!
|my cousins, Coco and Sofia, and Michelin – star chef Carrie at NAHA!||Yes, that’s me with the tortuous braces!|
Thank you to NAHA chef/owner Carrie Nahabedian for allowing my friends to take over her kitchen for my 11th birthday party. I loved the surprise panda birthday cake, Carrie! Yes, I know pandas are a big China stereotype – but who cares, pandas are awesome!
I guess you heard my family and I will be returning to Japan for our 5th cherry blossoms/sakura trip. We will be joined this time by my Florida friend, Zoe (Zoe’s mom is Marta of TravNET!). My mom and I had a debate of Burma versus Japan last night. I have been to Burma twice, while I have visited Japan six times. These are my favorite things in Japan and why it is my favorite place to travel:
|Zen-chan as “maiko”|
- Best food anywhere! Sushi(especially salmon eggs!), terrific ramen soba and udon noodle dishes, mochi ice cream, fun kaiseki dinners, and cute bento (box) lunches on the Shinkansen (bullet!) trains.
- Green Car (F class) Bullet Train – the Shinkansen (bullet trains) are so fast and so quiet – My 5th grade teacher, Mr. Stone, will be happy to hear I will have plenty of time to read on the Shinkansen!
- Cherry blossoms/sakura – I am so lucky that my Francis W. Parker School April spring break falls on the same dates of the cherry blossoms – so delicate and beautiful!
- I love Japanese culture! The beautiful tea ceremony, creating wonderful fun origami shapes, spending time with geisha (both geiko and maiko) and staying at our favorite ryokans are so much fun. My favorite ryokans are Tawaraya and Hiiragiya in Kyoto. I sleep so well on the soft cotton futons.
- Geisha makeover! A young apprentice geisha (geiko) is a maiko. When I dress as a maiko, I truly do feel Japanese!
- Did I mention the wonderful Toto toilets!?