Streets of Tokyo

This picture was taken at Asakusa in Central Tokyo. It is predominently a residential area with the most famous Sensoji Temple. The roads areimmaculately clean and the footpaths are paved and quite wide to enable a large crowd tomwalk around comfortably. 

The street signs are predominently in Japanese – written mostly in Kanji. So if you are learning Japanese then this will be the perfect way to effortlessly study Kanji in a fun way. 

The lanes are in pristine condition, and a pedestrian is given the most prominence in this country. The vehicles take a back seat, and the pedestrian is given precedence. 


Incase you have an emergency, or you notice the traffic is sporadic – you can request for a pedestrian crossing anytime you want. 

At Yotsuya Sanchome I was waiting for the pedestrian sign, when a Japanese gentleman came over and showed me the device where I could request a gree signal if I need it in the future. They are pretty stict rules about navigating on the streets and it is a pleasure to see so many amenities that benefit at an individual level. 

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日本 – Beautiful Japan

Since I can remember, all the stories I heard of Japan were mystic and almost surreal. I always wanted to visit Japan, and never actually knew how it would materialize.

My geography class played an important role for me to develop an undying love for this gorgeous country. We were to memorize the 4 main islands – Honshu, Hokkaido, Shikoku and Kyushuu captivated my young and inquisitive mind. I read about Japan in the chapters that covered the World Wars in my history class, and then finally the Atomic Bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. My Irish teacher – Sr Peter explained to the class about the ramifications of the attack on these two cities and we were to explain the lesson to the class the next day and I still remember narrating the incidents without glancing at my book. Sr Peter had asked us to read the lessons once before we went to bed and re-read it in the morning before school. And i did. It had a great impact and I remember my geography class with clarity and precision even to this day.

My dad would tell me astounding stories of how the Japanese are so respectful and treat others with consideration. I wanted to see the beautiful country and it was my dream to visit Nihon.

The idea of planning my trip to Japan itself seemed unreal, as I could not really get my head around the fact that I was indeed going to Japan. I was bombarded with various opinions from family/friends on my travel, and I had fears of my own – would I be able to navigate as a solo traveller, would it be alright to manage with my Basic knowledge of the Japanese Language, would I be able to survive my solo visit in Japan? I was nervous as it was a foreign country where English is not widely spoken, I literally had butterflies in my stomach.

All my fears and apprehensions were set aside the moment I landed at the Tokyo-Haneda Airport. It is the most warm and friendly country you could visit and every single person is more than willing to help you. Buying a ticket for my ride to downtown Tokyo was a breeze and everything that followed was seamless.

Japan looked like someone has spilled liquid gold on the dark seas, as every inch of Japan glowed in the dark. It was a sight I will never forget. The rest of my stay in Japan was as splendid as my first glimpse of the gorgeous land of the rising sun.

My visit to Japan was filled with awe, admiration and jaw-dropping reaction to the surreal technologically advanced facilities in the entire nation and the vision Japan has for its citizens. In my opinion I feel that the Japanese have designed their country keeping the convenience of every individual citizen as their primary focus. This aspect of keeping the peoples comfort at heart itself is the epitome of humanity.

Japan’s holistic vision of creating a space for the comfort of its people is what makes it the IchiBan country in the entire world.

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!

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.

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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.

Christmas in Colombo

The reviews about a place are going to stay just as data points, until you visit it. Now when you land there, it’s a totally different equation, you might warm up to it, like it, love it or just be madly obsessed by the place.

When i first heard of Sri Lanka – i had no expectations whatsoever. I dint know if id like it, i dint even imagine what it would be like. I guess I was more apprehensive of the first day of arrival – the usual jitters about the logistics and how to reach Downtown from the airport.

When I reached Colombo on Christmas Eve – the ride from the airport to the center of Downtown itself was like a small debut to what was awaiting for me at Colombo. On the way there were immaculately arranged cribs all along the path and at the junctions of small walk ways. It was really dreamy, and it was a different approach to what i see in my country. Here I saw cribs decorated so well and only then did i learn that Sri Lanka is actually very famous for its cribs. I felt awesome to be a part of this luxurious festive mode. It was indeed beautiful.

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Every roundabout was lit up & all the streets were alight with festive decorations. It was like being given a VIP pass to Santa’s private party! The weather was at a comfortable temperature, pleasant with cool gentle breeze blowing from the Ocean. We were on the beach side restaurant for the evening fiesta and everybody around us was in a happy festive mood. A young bunch of people dressed impeccably, were taking turns to take pictures with the exuberant lights in the background. It was splendid.

It was indeed a Christmas to remember, I really do hope to visit Colombo again during the Christmas week.

Oriental Peace of Mind

While travelling through the Orient, you cant help but notice the affinity the people have towards inner peace. Nobody needs to tell you about it, for actions do speak louder than words. From the moment you set foot off the subway, all along your journey you will notice the love the people have for nature.

I honestly felt that people in the Orient are far happier than in India. It probably has a lot to do with the climate too I guess. Nobody would prefer to be out at noon in the blistering heat! Whereas the climate in northern China is extremely pleasant during autumn and its literally a paradise.

I saw many people performing Tai Chi, in the gardens with soulful music playing in the background. People were happy to be all by themselves in the lush green lawn. The atmosphere was peaceful and I saw many people smiling and at peace.

I was delighted to be able to experience such a beautiful feeling. I see that the Oriental people do take massive efforts in keeping their traditions and customs alive. I absolutely love that about them. The astounding wisdom they posses about healing themselves from within is admirable. For they practice tai chi with dedication and love, its a transcended lifestyle.

The young, the not so young, almost everyone absolutely enjoys tai chi. It’s a great form of relaxation and I guess that the elixir of peace. For no matter how many hours you spend at the gym, it’s the soul we need to fix in the first place.

Inner tranquility is of prime importance, to be in harmony with our outer self.