I’m not a morning person & the cold always bother me. But I’m glad I’ve put up with my sister’s New Year shenanigans & rose to the challenge of catching the first sunrise of the year, which in Japanese tradition is deemed to bring good fortune.
This was my first time to catch a sunrise in winter time too & I must say it’s totally worth waking up for. Winter sunrise is indeed more magical! ✨
Time & distance does reveal to you
Who matters to you most &
to whom you matter the least
It’s been over a year since I moved to a new land
And I just want to say hello again to the new faces I met this past year
And big thanks to old friends who stuck around❤️ Cheers!
“... you have the opportunity to bring so much depth in this superficial place...”
I was listening to Andy Grammer’s The Good Parts Podcast last week & the aforementioned words by his podcast guest, Justin Baldoni really resonated with me. His words perfectly captures my thoughts regarding my struggle with navigating the murky waters of social media, something that I have been contemplating a lot these days.
I am not a blogger/influencer so why do I even bother taking social media so seriously? The thing is, I have come to acknowledge the fact that each one of us is an “influencer” - our actions, our words, to some degree they influence the people around us, or in this case, the people we connect with on this platform. That is why I have started to make a conscious effort to be more mindful about what I post these days.
I must admit that I have contributed to this culture of vanity & superficiality, in one way or another & maybe I still continue to do so until today. But I believe that amidst all these “superficiality”, we can still make social media more beautiful & more meaningful.
After 2 failed attempts to get a decent shot from this spot, (but why go through all that trouble? I will share my thoughts about that on another post) I made it a point to come back early in the morning on my 3rd & last attempt. .
However despite my “preparedness”, for some reasons my remote shutter decided not to function that morning. But fortunately, a kind gentleman was also avidly shooting on that day & after some pep talk to my self, I finally mustered the courage to request him to take my photo.
After that short encounter I pondered to myself & wondered, when did I start getting scared again of asking strangers to take my photos? I thought that I’ve long since overcome that.
And then I realized that it’s not so much about self-confidence issues. I figured that over time, I have gotten so fixated on being self reliant, which now got all the more immensely influenced by this acute awareness of the Japanese’ culture on time & personal space.
I figured that I’m starting to become an island. And thankfully that encounter reminded me of this simple truth that no man is an island. And sometimes all it takes is just a simple “Hi & some Please...” to ignite that connection. #SoAngePonders
(2/2 please refer to my previous post for the 1/2 of this story😊).
And so on the last day & a half of my trip when I was roaming around the city on my own, I decided to take the mindfulness practice a notch higher by taking some time to just sit in a quiet corner & just simply observe everything around me & meditate.
I’m still a long way from truly harnessing the full potential of mindful travels. And in all honesty, I am still up to this day still working on refining my intentions & trying to find a more profound way of navigating this murky travel niche considering how it’s getting glamourized these days, which I must admit am guilty of patronizing in one way or another. But hopefully along the way, I will finally find my answers.
(Long post ahead 1/2) I previously shared about my musings regarding my summer vacation, a time supposedly for rest & relaxation that instead left me feeling exhausted & all because of chasing sunrises & sunsets & all the while [probably obsessing subconsciously] about nailing those instagrammable shots. ....“You’re not a blogger, why do you care so much about getting a pretty photo”... or something along these lines is the reaction I get from my friends whenever they reach a point of exhaustion for being my unofficial photographer during our trips😅. I don’t take that against them by the way, besides they still always do it anyway (shout out to my besties BTW. Love you guys💕). The thing is I really enjoy taking photos, I just simply looove creating pretty photos (I really aspire to have beautiful photos but I’m still way far from where I want to be in this aspect). This may sound rather vain to some but that’s how I really feel about this creative process. However after that summer trip, I have come to realize that I have probably taken this whole thing a little too far that I have started to unconsciously remove the sense of joy from the actual experience. I guess the universe agreed with me on this because somehow I was led to discover this concept called #mindfultravel . And so during my recent to Tokyo with one of my besties, I decided to channel mindfulness in my travel. For starters, everytime I go on autopilot & take photos the very moment we set foot on a particular destination, I would remind myself to first get a sense of the place, to take time to take it all in, to see it, to feel it, to hear it. I also decided to forego the IG stories so I could focus more on the moment at hand & really get a better sense of the place we’re exploring. But since I cannot really forego taking photos, I kept reminding myself to take photos only if I can think of a good narrative about the said photo. And in all honesty the practice actually helped me tame myself a bit from taking a photo each & every time I find a beautiful space (except when we were in Borderless Museum. It was just immensely magical & I couldn’t contain my enthusiasm)..to be continued
I turn away & close my heart
To the promise of love
That is luring
For the past has taught
Not to be caught
In what is not worth pursuing
To never do the things I’ve done
That once led to my undoing.
Sometimes in life we climb stairs only to realize once we get to the top that it was up against the wrong wall.
Have you ever wanted something so much in your life & yet the moment you have it, you realize that it’s not what you needed?
Or maybe you’re currently treading a path, pursuing something not because it makes you feel most alive but because it’s what you’ve already gotten used to, or that you feel that you’ve already invested so much into that something, be it a career, a relationship that you feel that letting it go would make all your invested efforts go to waste.
The thing is it is never too late to start anew. It is never too late to dream a new dream. It is never too late to hit restart.
You deserve someone who will love you for who you are, someone who can see your light even at your darkest times, someone who will not only calm your storms but walk with you through any storm. You deserve someone who can reciprocate all the love that you can give & even more, because while love is not selfish, a lasting relationship commands two hearts that aren’t half empty nor half full, as this allows you both to compliment each other instead of take away from each other.
Until then, wait.
Choose to be happily single.
Learn to love & enjoy your own company.
Travel solo, date your self, be your own best friend. Chase the best version of yourself & you will know when the right one comes along. Because you will by then know what you deserve & you will never ever settle for anything less than what you deserve❤️
One of the things I really love about Japan is the locals’ individual & collective sense of mindfulness of others. It’s just amazing how immensely mindful they are of the impact of their actions on other people. And this is best manifested (among others) in how they observe cleanliness & orderliness..You can’t find that many trash bins here (I had to keep this coffee cup I was holding in this picture inside my backpack from morning to midday-until which time we finally found a trash bin) yet you can barely spot a garbage littering around here. And it is frustrating to think that back in my home country, you can find garbage littered around, sometimes even just a few meters away from the trash bins & I wonder when will we ever catch up to Japan’s sense of mindfulness & discipline.
This is Icho Namiki (Ginkgo Avenue), the ginkgo lined avenue on the way to Meiji Jingu Gaien Park.
Too bad we came a little too early for Autumn in Tokyo🍂.
Imagine how beautiful this place is during peak fall foliage when these manicured trees turn brilliant gold.
Authentic VS Aesthetic? Where do we draw the line?
I edited this photo to magically remove some of the people that I think sort of “crowded” this shot (swipe further to see the original). .
Now, this begs the question that’s taking over the internet these days - Is photo editing considered wrong/cheating? Do you think it’s misleading?
I would love to know your thoughts below!
This is probably the most instagrammed spot in Omotesando. Would you believe it that I had to come back here 3times just to catch this place with “less crowd”. Good thing it was just 3stops away from our hotel.