Thursday, November 10, 2016

Episode 231 - Together Is Happiness

Judith and I visited Japan again in this summer.

This time with our friends -  a team of 10 travellers.  We rented two cars and started our journey in Nagoya.  This journey was a little bit unusual as it was the first time we travelled overseas with people other than our family members, and we were entrusted with the task of organizing the trip.

Although I considered myself to be an experienced traveller (self-proclaimed?), I was actually worried at the bottom of my heart once taking up the task.  Could we get everyone happy with our planned sight-seeing points; restaurants; typed of cars; and hotels?

I designed a detailed plan for the purpose of this journey.

Could we meet the needs of all the members?

My expected answer was a "No" and the outcome was again a big "NO" - my plan only carried out elliptically.

Some of the locations we visited were not top sight seeing points as I originally thought; we did not have our lunches and dinners at some prestigious restaurants; due to the time management (my fault entirely), we failed to visit any shopping arcade other than the airport shopping centre; we missed an exit in the highway;  we encountered bad weather in the middle of the journey; we even got stuck at the airport for six hours due to mechanical failure of the return flight.

Was this journey a total failure?

Contrary to what I thought at the beginning, this trip turned out to be a success and all team members, including Judith and me, are still enthusiastic for the time we spent together in those five days. 

We were in fact happy with the unexpected challenges and problems that we met and faced together, and of course the tastes of the ordinary local restaurants and the local produce at the service areas en route.   Facing the uncertainties and enjoying the uncertainties, the friendships among team members were tightened.  This was the beauty of self-help travelling.  The sight seeing points and other initial plannings, if they did count in the success, played a secondary role.  It was the togetherness that counted.

For Judith and me, this journey would continuously bring back beautiful memories to us (and hopefully to all members in the team) in the future.

We of course would like to thank all members for the trust they placed in us for organizing this little journey.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Episode 230 - Harmony of Nature & Man

These photos were taken at the Humble Administrator's Garden in Suzhou.  

Comparing it with the Tenryu-ji Garden of Japan, I observe the following major stylistic differences:  complexity vs. simplicity; realism vs. abstractism;   implicit human input vs. explicit human input;  harmony of nature & man vs. nature according to the perception of man.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Episode 229 - Where Beauty Remains

Some photos taken at Arashiyama during the recent journey.

It has been more than 10 years since my last visit to Arashiyama.  This time:  no sakura, no red maple, no snow ........   but beauty remains.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Episode 228 - Garden at Tenryū-ji

These pictures were taken at the Garden of Tenryu-ji.  Tenryu-ji is a Zen Buddhism monastery.  Like most Kyoto monasteries, it has a beautiful garden inside.  With a simplicity design, the Tenryu-ji Garden is an abstract representation of nature from a religious perceptive  Human input is intentionally explicit.

I would usually include this Garden in my itinerary should I visit the Saga Arashiyama District.   Reason? The photos above speak. 

We used to enter the Garden through the North Gate of Tenryu-ji after taking a walk in the Saga Bamboo Groves.

It was a sunny day and the temperature was around 23 degree C.  People sitting leisurely on the wooden bench of the Main Hall watching the exquisitely craved / designed garden and listening to the songs of the swallows.

What a wonderful day!

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Episode 227 - Swallow at Tenryū-ji

These photos were taken by me during our visit to Tenryu-ji at Kyoto.  

The swallows built a number of nests under the roof of the Main Hall of the temple. 

This swallow was not afraid of me and let me take as many close up photos of it as I like.   

Before this, I never had a chance to be so close to a swallow.  I did not even know that swallows have colourful feathers and that they sing!