Autumn leaves at Higashiyama Botanical Gardens, Nagoya, Japan.
Taken in November 2014.
I enjoy the precise nature of Japan. There’s precision in the timing of the public transport and precision in making up a futon. There’s precision in the way you take your shoes off and turn them around for when you go back out. There’s precision in the movements of the traditional tea ceremony. There’s precision in eating Hatsumabushi (grilled eel on rice). Calmness and efficiency in what is a busy and very driven society.
Let’s talk about my favourite precision of all. Putting on a kimono.
First, (take your shoes off and turn them around of course) enter a tatami room where several older Japanese ladies are getting a little excited about helping you dress up. Next, strip to your underwear and put on a petticoat, or bloomers and a thin cotton ‘under kimono’ (I’m unsure what they’re called, can someone enlighten me?). Don’t forget to put on some socks too. And then, it’s time to be wrestled into a silk clad sausage shape by aforementioned excited Japanese ladies.
The ladies used several pieces of cloth to shorten the kimono so that I could walk in it, and also to secure it closed. The left side should be over the right side. Then they added padding, and wrapped around the obi, and somehow tied a bow in it. Finally they added a cord and tied pretty knots in it at the front. It was all quite tight by the time they had finished with me.
For the grand finale, we were allowed to walk around a beautiful park in Nagoya, where the autumn colours are fully on display.
And unfortunately I wasn’t allowed to wear my kimono home!
From Atami to Izukyu-Shimoda station. Japan.
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A couple dressed in black and holding a baby walked down the hill towards us. A few other people were milling about dressed in black. We tentatively approached them, feeling a little awkward, and asked them for directions. They helped us as best they could, and then went on their way to their car.
A minute or two later, a car hooted at us, and the window was wound down. They came back! Because of the baby they could only give 2 of us a lift at a time, but they really wanted to help us! So 2 of us hopped in the car with the wife, while the husband and the other 2 began walking in the same direction.
After she dropped us off, the lady drove back to collect the other 2 of our group, and the husband ended up walking the whole way..! Such incredible hospitality. So very sweet of them to help the slightly lost gaijins!
The street lights may block out the stars but the moon rabbit is forever peeking out at us.
Although next week there will be a lunar eclipse!
This photo is taken over the houses of my new neighbourhood in Nagoya, Japan. I’m getting settled in now, and I’m very excited to be exploring the area over the next few months.
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This month, things are going to change quite a lot for me. Next week I will be moving to Nagoya in Japan until Christmas!
It’s come around quite fast, of course, and where I thought I had lots of time to prepare, now I only have less than a week. I’ve had to move out of my apartment and put everything in boxes (because I’ll be coming back to Thailand) and have the mean task of searching around for small things that I have put somewhere but can’t find for the life of me, and desperately need to take with me in my suitcase. Sigh.
Whenever I have planned a big change in my life, I have never been particularly scared, just very excited about everything, and of course that’s why I have gone on and organised it. But fear has always crept in towards the date of the flight.
I’m not panicking about the change, yet. I’ve had a few dreams where I wasn’t ready for certain different situations and in the dream I panicked a lot, got angry with myself and with other people, but during the day everything is normal. I’m enjoying reading up on Nagoya and planning trips out from the city. I know it’s coming though – a few nights before I go I will absolutely not be able to sleep for worrying about every single little thing, I might repack several times, and the night before I go my stomach will be churning over and over and I will possibly feel very ill. Anxiety and doubt have already seeped in somewhere without me knowing it, and are planning their attack right now, I can feel it.
And I’ll say goodbye at the airport and get on the plane, and arrive in Japan and I’ll be fine. Because I always have been before. Because I always am. Because everything always pans out somehow.
And because fear lies.
I just have to suffer for a little while before getting on with it and enjoying myself.
I’ve learnt that it’s pointless to wish to eliminate fear altogether. Fear will always pop up and say hi. There’s not a lot I can do about it other than choose to push past it. In any case, life would be pretty boring without fear, wouldn’t it?
So here’s to the future, fear. Know that I don’t really believe you.
I don’t think I do anyway…
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