Romancing the Japanese Language

The first memory I have associated with Japan, was when I was a small school girl trying to pronounce Honshu, Hokkaido, Shikoku & Kyushuu 🙂 my Geography teacher tried her best to get us to say the names of Japan’s 4 main islands. From that moment it was hook, liner, sink for me!
I was enthralled by the stories my father told me about this great country. That it was one of the best countries in the world, that it was the land of the rising sun, that the people had very strong ethics and principles.

Few stories and incidents about the kindness displayed by the Japanese to total strangers left me speechless. I would often wonder – could this be just a tale,
could a person be this kind and offer unconditional service to another?

The first real connection I had with the Japanese was during my backpacking trip to Mainland China. I met 3 Japanese tourists who displayed disproportional levels of
courtesy, manners and offered assistance. These 3 individuals sold the concept of their entire country to me, and they dint even know the impact it had on me.
They were their country’s ambassadors and they did a fine job without even knowing that they were unconsciously advertising their country’s morals, ethics , principles and culture.
They all thought they were just touring as tourists – Wrong! They were samurais in their own way, and the living epitome of the most ideal prototype of how humanity really should be like.

Several other instances finally led me to enroll for the beginners course & I have been studying the Japanese language since August 2016.
Its been a wonderful experience, learning Hiragana, Katakana & Kanji. Everyday I learn something beautiful about the culture and eve the
conversations between characters in textbooks revels how respectful they are of each other.

I have just struck upon an endless reserve of knowledge that can keep me occupied for the rest of my life. Beautiful Japanese Language – Kireina Nihongo!

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Authentic Beauty ( 佳人 – a beautiful person)

There is a certain aura of radiating beauty around a person who is at peace, in sync with the inner self, and has a good heart with a clear conscience. There is an assuring, impressive level of confidence that comes along with being calm, composed and collected.

This quote in particular is one of my favourites, as I like people who are beautiful on the inside. When a person is kind, affectionate, and respectful to another, the kindness and affectionate streak of that person is the most seductive trait.

Whoever said that make-up does the trick? Well, it’s quite important to be aesthetically pleasing and presentable – it makes you feel beautiful and assured. Dressing well does have a psychological impact, will love yourself more and conduct yourself in an upbeat way, as compared to when you are under dressed.

My mother always keeps reminding me, that real beauty comes from within. Her viewpoint is eat veggies to get a natural and more authentic glow. And also be kind, loving, empathetic, well read and knowledgeable to emanate an essence of humanity and an undeniable sense of confidence.

To me the beauty emanated by a person who is empathetic and has a quite sense of assurance and the divine beauty that can be sensed. The aura and energy radiated is empowering and it feels great to be around a person who feels beautiful from within.

Beauty is indeed, skin deep.

External attractiveness has no relation to the goodness or essential quality. A persons character and values are far more attractive than the superficial aesthetics that float aimlessly on the shallow realm.

Auburn glow

Whoever said unused window panes were a waste? As simple as this artwork looks, it emanates warmth and looks lively. I was so inspired by this, that I tried to emulate a version of this when I got back home.

While I was travelling in Sri Lanka during Christmas, I was mesmerized by the beauty of the country, and by the extravagant decor all around the city of Colombo. I had been to ‘The Galle Face hotel’ to relax and see the sunset from the boulevard, I couldn’t help but notice the lovely decor that adorned the property.

There was something authentic about theses window panes, that adorned the walls of one of the corridors that lead to the beach.

The flowers adorning the corners are elegant and of exquisite taste, the candles were giving off warmth and glow that felt soulful. I hope the picture does some justice to what I experienced.

They were designed to be just window panes, were probably rejected, and now they have be reformed into artistic pieces of art and serve a different purpose – attracting attention, inspiring artists & radiating warmth.

#art #love #fire #warmth

 

Picturesque Lion Mountain @Mahébourg

Mauritius, an exquisite island off the south western cost of continental Africa is a delight to every explorer. Every place forms a natural gorgeous backdrop, takes you to a transcended state of mind. One of my favorites in Mauritius is the famous Mahébourg waterfront.

It was a pleasant winter evening and the temperature was just right with a cool ocean breeze. The place took me by storm – I had read about it, but to visit it for real was something else. It was blissful, soothing and there was an air of tranquility. The boulevard is beautifully paved in brick red patterns, aesthetically designed around the shore of the ocean.

This part of the Mahébourg waterfront has still-waters, and various shades of blue are splashed as far as the eye can see. The most captivating sight is the gorgeous view of the famous Lion Mountain. The lush green mountain forms a backdrop against the deep blue ocean. This is a place for that perfect picture you would like to take and cherish it for all days to come.

A visit to Mahébourg waterfront is a must on your visit to Mauritius. I would say – head there as soon as you land and drop off your bags at your hotel 🙂

A callous hunt

I had heard a story of a smart fish, trying to avoid the deathly gallows of a sharks jaw. Little did I know how beautiful this would be to watch – not the shark eating the fish, but the fish trying to escape and scoot for their lives. When I visited the Maldives, i went there with no expectation because the pictures i saw on the internet looked surreal. I couldn’t imagine if the place I would end up in would look like the pictures on the internet. I dint want to dampen my spirits, so i kept a low expectation all along. When I reached the resort I was definitely bowled over and the smaller details that no one really talks about were in fact the most significant in my experience. I indulged in these small little wonders that brought such a great joy to me. Just to watch.

One among them was the casual yet gorgeous interaction of a school of fish with the reef shark.
All over the island – when you walk by the share you can see a formation and they are really a group of fish drifting and exploring the tropical waters. The formations keep changing and these are a prime hunting spots for the Black tipped reef sharks.
It is really wonderful how beautifully these fish try and escape the attacks from the reef shark. The moves are strategic, and clever. They try to move away from the shark and when the entire group maintains a distance of a few inches away from the shark, it looks like there is a halo around the shark – its gorgeous.

I would sit on the plank most of the time to watch this interaction. It filled me with calm, poise and provided entertainment. One afternoon while i was watching, a small reef shark found it quite hard to hunt, he called his 2 other partners in crime, the 3 reef sharks attacked from different sides and they triumphantly swam away with a bounty in their mouth. It was cleverly planned and I was quite surprised by the strategy on how the payoff was achieved.

If you go to the Maldives, its not just the sun or the sand or the luxury, its these small little experiences that renders you speechless and turns you into a narrator.

Cycling on the City Wall of Xi’An

It was a pleasant morning in early November, when a bunch of travelers – who met at the parlor in the Hangtang Hostel the previous evening – decided to go on a impromptu cycling spree on the famous Xi’An city wall.

Xi’An is an enigma in itself, it has a intense cultural flavor flanked by modern aesthetically designed infrastructure. It is a laid back city, the people warm and courteous and there is a sense of peace and calm in the city.

Luca, Vincent, Micheal and I decided to walk to the City Wall, we navigated effortlessly through the streets with the help of Maps.me and before we knew we were at the City Wall. We bought our entrance tickets, climbed a flight of stairs to reach the Cycling section.I had heard about the cycling activity on the wall, but little did I expect to see these professional bikes lined up – it was a treat to the eyes. One thing is for sure, the cycles displayed will provoke anyone to get on it and go for that ride.

For 45Yuan we rented bicycles and we all were excited to commence our adventure. Luka was the most excited of us all. Micheal suggested that we take a tandem cycle and i was thrilled as i had never ridden in tandem before.

The feeling was exhilarating, it was was a thrill that one can only experience. A cold chilly morning, the sun barely peeking through a thick blanket of clouds, cyclist waiting to start the adventure. The air was filled with a excitement and thrill. The 4 of us cycled and it spontaneously turned to a race for a short whole, with Micheal and I on the Tandem cycle being the undefeated duo.

IMG_2148
Michael & I on the tandem cycle.

The view of the entire city from top of the wall was breath taking. The cruise on the city wall is unforgettable. We had a pit stop for about 20mins, we clicked pictures and spoke about the climate, countries, the movie Transformers, Optimus prime and our famous trek to Mt. HuàShān.

Luca & V – giving us some serious competition 🙂

The whole concept of letting people cycle on the wall is a sign of embracing change and defying the ‘way things were for centuries’. I was pleased about the fact that they were willing to change with time, accommodate to peoples convenience and not be pulled down by traditions and age old customs and let the preservation of architecture inhibit the authorities from letting people harmlessly cycle on this beautiful Historical Architecture.

We all spoke and rode our bikes and it was a pleasant way to relax our sore muscles after the exerting hike to HuàShān. It was a ride to remember.

The City Wall of Xi’An

In the ancient city of Xi’An, the huge fortifications built around the city, protected its inhabitants from invasions in the past. The Xi’An city wall is a magnificent, well preserved architecture, the pride of Shaanxi Province. It stands tall and strong, has passed the test of time and quite famous for the cycling spree. It also serves as one of the hot-spots for wedding photo shoots.

I was in this peaceful city of Xi’An exactly a year back, and I am very nostalgic about the events. I stayed at a traveler’s hostel and I met backpackers from around the world. After an evening of socializing with a few and talking about what our plans were for the next day, Luka a British traveler suggested we visit the Xi’An city wall. We decided to meet at the reception at 10am and then start our adventure. Vincent from Australia, Michael from Germany, Luka from Britain and I set out to see the magnificent city wall of Xi’An.

It was a beautiful morning, a cool wind blowing from the Huyain mountains, the weather was just pleasant. Michael was braving the cool wind with just a cotton shirt and was flaunting, with a few buttons open. He got many second looks since everyone else was wrapped in thick layers of woolen overalls to ward off the chilling wind, and a few passersby gave a friendly nod acknowledging his stunt.

We walked the sidewalks and navigated through the city with the help of Maps.me – it was a pleasant walk through the streets as Xi’An is a calm and serene city. We finally arrived at the north entrance of the wall and while we were collecting the entrance ticket we heard a roaring sound of drums and heavy footsteps. Out of curiosity Luka and I instantly ran to check what was happening, we took a turn, entered an arch, crossed a corridor and then we saw it. It was a show performed by impersonators of the actual warriors, a spectacular performance of the way the empire was run by the Shaanxi Warriors back in the days.

I was transported back in time and saw the love the warriors had for their land and the zest with which they pursued the attacks that came their way, to protect their land. They adorned heavy armor and it was just mesmerizing to hear the battle commands accompanied by heavy drum beats.

We have some nice pictures with them. The Xi’An city wall was an enigma in itself, we went there for site seeing but it was like a Pandoras box that opened up this awesome flash back to the past. I have fond memories of Xi’An and if you should find yourself in this beautiful town, do walk the roads at leisure and visit the City Wall. It will be well worth the time and effort.