Taiwan 4: The Englishman

The airplane took off leaving Tokyo; taking me with it, and my expectations about Taiwan. I had done my research. I always do, I mean since I am an obsessive-compulsive reader, it’s not a surprise that I read everything I could possibly read about Taiwan. But what I hadn’t done were hotel reservations, that’s right ladies and gentlemen, this traveler doesn’t like making hotel reservations. Before you condemn me, hear me out, because I have valid, if not, strong reasons to not make hotel reservations

1.- I want to go to the places, where tourist doesn’t usually go; and don’t want the travelers’ websites to tell me where to go. I want to discover my journey on my own. 
 2.- I want to search and look for the city treasures as soon as I land. 
 3.- I want to get to know the locals and talk to them; not as a customer/tourist but as one of them. And nothing better than getting utterly lost to do this 🙂 
4.- I love the adventure.

I know this might sound illogical for some people, but one of the reasons why I learned some much other cultures is that I always tried experiencing the country as one of them, not as an outsider but as a local. And arriving at a hotel makes it difficult for me to achieve this.

I know, I know this might sound strange for some (ok maybe for most of you), but it works for me. However, I have to admit that I regretted my decision when it started to rain; and the heavy drops began pouring on the English man, who bravely accompanied me in this adventure and me. He needed refuge and candidly asked me “Where did you say we were staying,?” he asked hopefully.

And it broke my heart to answer “I haven’t made any reservations, remember?,” I said awkwardly.

The disappointment darkened his blue eyes making them as gray as the sky above us. I could literally see his hopes shattering with every drop of rain that fell on him. And the sting of guiltiness pierced my heart.

Yes, I felt guilty.

But as always lucky was on our side, we found a warm, dry shelter for our tired souls and hungry bodies. We found a hotel within walking distance that promised us the experience of our lives at a reasonable price. Once the English man recovered, we started exploring the city, getting lost together in the tropical night of Taiwan.

The English man smiles, and I felt the universe in my heart. 

Taiwan 3: Lanterns at night

I was walking around in Taiwan getting to know its secrets, observing, enjoying its many aromas, sounds and learning its rhythm when I saw endless rows of lanterns firing up the night.

On that first night, I discovered the intensity of Taiwan, its subtle puzzles and the beauty and the people enjoying the night.

Taiwan 3: Lanterns at night

Arthur Huang: The artbytecritique, his drawings and Nakanojo

Knowing Arthur Huang is knowing an artist and scientist who has decided to use art to make an impact on society.  And following his desire to make an impact on society he actively participates in exhibitions and open shows in different parts of Japan, being his last exhibition in Nakanojo Biennale (中之条ビエンナーレ) where he showed not only his talent but his commitment to helping remote towns reviving and sustaining their economy.

Arthur Huang’s work is subtle  and yet it has a big impact on you, because it is just so beautiful to look at.

And if you see his work from afar, they resemble rain drops

Arthur Huang’s work is Friends and locals visited Arthur Huang’s exhibition

Here with Nick West from gensojapan.org discussing about what they know best, art.

Arthur welcoming visitors’s questions.

You can also find Arthur Huang in #artbytecritique group on Facebook and artbytecritique’s website is https://atobaito.wordpress.com.

Odawara: Its treasures and pinky ninja

The first time I visited Odawara, I didn’t know what to expect, but as soon as I saw it,  I fell in love, metaphorically and literally.  And even now after so many years, it still speaking to me.

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And to many people, because even the samurais stop to take photos in front of it (Odawara castle)

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Its solid wooden gates welcomed me as it has welcomed thousands of people before me.  And will continue to do so until the end of times. Perhaps.

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And with the brave “pink” ninja who kindly posed  for my camera before I left, I said goodbye to Odawara castle once more.

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Ark Nova: When goodwill and faith travel

Art makes us think, inspire us, and move us to do things for other people. And I humbly think I felt all those things together when I saw Ark Nova,  an inflatable concert hall created to support affected areas by earthquakes. An inflatable concert hall..!

 

 

And fulfilling its destiny, Ark Nova has been in Fukushima for a couple of years, but now it is finally in Tokyo to keep spreading its message of goodwill and faith in humanity.

 

And it (Ark nova) seems to bring peace with it. It surrounds it all with calm and serenity

 

If you have some time to spare, please go to Tokyo Midtown, it will be a great experience. And no worries, there is no way to miss Ark Nova

 

Warning: Writing is addictive

 

When I started writing my blog, I thought, I might do it once or, maximum, twice a week, nothing that could take so much time because I am always busy. Besides, there are other things to do in life, right?

 

Writing isn’t everything, is it?

 

Wrong..!!!

 

Writing is everything.

I can’t spend a day without, at least, writing a line. And even during the few months, I spent without posting. I spent them writing short stories, which hopefully, will see the light someday.

 

Maybe tomorrow, maybe next week. I don’t know yet. But you bet I am working on it 🙂

 

But I wish someone would have warned me. Tell me that writing is addictive. I got myself into this dependence on writing, I need it and crave it. It is like every emotion I feel must be processed through writing, otherwise, my feelings do not make sense. It is like the words burn and heal me, all at the same time.

 

So, if you are thinking of starting writing, my dear friend, welcome to the clan. But be aware that once you start this journey, there is no coming back, the words will pull you back in. There is no escape. You will never be same, you will be transformed by the need to create and to free the words from the prison of your mind.

 

You have been warned. Good luck.

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Kagurazaka: Gods in summer

During the Obon holidays, which are the holidays, where most Japanese people go back to their hometowns to visit their families and to honor their ancestors, Tokyo opens its secret dens for you.  And following the summer breeze one Sunday afternoon, I discovered: Akagi jinja (Akagi shrine)

When I saw this torii (entrance to a sacred place), I knew I had arrived at an extraordinary place.


Akagi jinja (Akagi shrine) was redesigned by Kengo Kuma in 2010, and he made of it (Akagi shrine) a master piece.

Those kanji above can be read as 蛍雪天神(keisetsu tenjin) The God of the diligent study

As always my enthusiasm took the best of me and I gave my offerings a little bit too loud. I think I might have woken up the God in its day off. I should leave now, but if the God wakes up, please do not speak of me. You haven’t seen me. Shhhh…!!