I recently spent a few days in Joshua Tree upon my return to the USA. Coming from Japan, it was surreal to be walking through the Mojave Desert. I was suddenly in the old west full of cacti and cowboys. The land is bright and the views vast.
One morning in Kyoto, I set out to explore the famous torii of Fushimi Inari-Taisha Shrine. I woke at 5am and put my body on auto pilot, following my phone’s directions to the nearest station that headed there. Few people stood on the platform as the melodic chimes signaling a train approaching rang out. I boarded and sat alone on a bench as I watched the skyline of the city fly by in the morning light. Blocks of cream and blue blurred by as my gaze lost focus in my sleepy mood.
When I was a child, my parents gave me a small porcelain statue of a geisha. It belonged to my father’s mother who passed away before I could form a memory of her. The statue was all white with pale blue and pink markings. The geisha knelt with a small drum beside her as if she were about to play it. Her hair curved high above her head in a beautiful sweep and a small dab of color formed tiny heart shaped lips on her face. That one impression of a beautiful culture so different than my own, planted a seed in my child’s heart, growing a love for all things Japanese.
Long ago in Japan, a deity appeared on Mt. Mikasa riding a white deer. For centuries after his visit, deer were seen as messengers of the gods and to this day are protected under a national treasure status. Nara is the present day area where these once sacred creatures roam.
I arrived in the mighty metropolis of Tokyo after a sleepless ten hour flight from Australia. Dazed by the bright morning light, I heaved my bags through a sea foreign faces. Unknown to me, I was walking into a spring holiday and people had flocked to the Asukasa area to celebrate. It was one of those rare, first warm days where everyone feels the need to escape outside. The change of season finally sets people free from winter’s cold confinement.
My time spent in New Zealand was like a peaceful dream on this journey. I started living with such ease that I didn’t want to leave. Time slowed and the beauty of the country settled in. I spent one month on each island and traveled by car, bus, plane and boat. I also rode a horse into the ocean.
I came across a movie I never finished from my time in Lanzarote today. Why it wasn’t completed I don’t know, but it is now. My time there was peaceful, filled with sun and nature. I often found myself feeling as if I were on another planet and I think this movie conveys that as I travel through silent volcanic landscapes. Enjoy! For more information on Lanzarote, you can visit this previous post on the beautiful island in Spain.
Traveling around the world for over nine months has made me discover that I’m more of a small town girl rather than a lover of big cities. Yet visiting the city of Melbourne in Australia has turned that idea upside down.
A visit to historic Russell on New Zealand’s North Island was a step back in time. Normal architecture fell away, while charm and style from days past shone here. White picket fences lined the small streets that have kept their original layout since 1843. The time capsule town was a place of firsts, being the first European settlement and first sea port in New Zealand.
Tonight I walked south on Hahei Beach, the light a golden hue on the cliffs at the far end of the sandy stretch. I marveled at the orange bluffs with huge trees growing over the edge supporting a rope swing weathered by kids of summers passed. Water etches patterns of fire into the sand and snails are formed from sea plants.