Category Archives: Travel

Tokyo at night

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“Hello, goodbye and hello.

I met you, and now I say goodbye

Hello, goodbye and hello.

And then to this world without you, I’ll say hello”

“Hello, goodbye and hello. 

君に会って、今君にサヨナラ

Hello, goodbye and hello.

そして君のいないこの世界に hello”

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Our (delicious) Christmas cake!

From a postcard I sent from Tokyo:

FullSizeRender“It’s our last night in this messy little tatami room in Tokyo. It;s been a pretty hectic 5 days on Tokyo’s loud, cluttered streets, ‘a cacophony of mismatched colours and sound’*. Like most holidays, it has mainly been a crazy race, fighting the crowds and the clock to get to everywhere on our itinerary, interspersed by fleeting moments of whimsy and seemingly more frequent moments painfully awkward and mundane. I’m clumsy and blur and indecisive and my brother gets irritated a lot. I made my mum angry too. But sometimes we laugh about what we did during the day. Sometimes I don’t want to talk. I learn new words talking to Japanese people, but sometimes they get impatient. My feet get really sore from walking, but there are also moments where I suddenly feel alive in the cold night air and all the lights, these teeming streets”

[26/12/14]

*Borrowed this description from Nothing to Envy (even though the writer in that passage was describing South Korea)

These London corners

“Love makes you see a place differently, just as you hold differently an object that belongs to someone you love. If you know one landscape well, you will look at all other landscapes differently. And if you learn to love one place, sometimes you can also learn to love another.” – Anne Michaels, The Winter Vault

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Back in the +44 in January, turning all those familiar corners, taking to the old sunlit streets like a fish to water, everything so starkly familiar, as though I had been gone a long time, as though I hadn’t been gone at all.

Is 10 days enough? I saw Constable’s paintings at the Victoria & Albert, made a visit to East London, passed the New Year on Primrose Hill, had high tea at Bea’s of Bloomsbury, met my favourite people for dinner, watched the Curious Incident, did a speedy run of Oxford Street, had a night walk by the river, had Dutch Pancakes and Ramen, sat in friend’s kitchens, made a quick visit to Camden High Street, ate my favourite yogurts and drank Kefir, went home with 9 boxes of Special K Biscuits.

But I didn’t get to see Turner’s paintings at Tate. I didn’t get to walk through Regent’s Park, or supermarket hop.  I would have liked to watch another play, visit more people, see more of London that I hadn’t seen before. Much of the time I admit to huddling, freezing, in the room my friends kindly let me stay in. The England weather is forever unrelenting.

I sensed time passing, things changing from the time I was studying there. Everything a little colder and emptier, the streets containing less emotion than they did before. Still, with its gentle nostalgic light, this place is a comfort to me.

“背中にあった翼は今はもう必要ない”

“The wings I had on my back, I will not need them anymore”

[28/12/2014-8/1/2015]

The rabbits of ra.a.g.f Rabbit Cafe

Found this cute little rabbit cafe in a quiet corner of Harajuku after a long meandering search. We got to see these very fluffy long-eared darlings. The cafe allows you to take one rabbit out at a time for about 20 minutes each, provided they are not having their break time, and you can open the cafes and pet the others as well.

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Notice the cute little profile picture on his name tag ^^ Each of the bunnies had their own little avatar like that.

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Mittsu, this huge lop-eared bunny was the first one we played with.

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This girl is left-eared.

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This one had amazingly soft velvety fur.

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Little bright-eyes.

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[22/12/2014]

A winter walk in the Cotswolds

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My two friends and I traveled to the the village of Stow-on-the-Wold for a night. And on the second day we embarked on a walk to Bourton-on-the-Water. The YHA hostel was warm and pleasant, and the staff were very friendly. Our room had a window that led out to the roof.

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From there, we managed to catch a cold but pretty sunrise.

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It started out as a bright day, sun illuminating the honey limestone houses of the village.

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We headed along the road towards the village of Maugersbury.

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We passed some sheep and horses along the way.

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We headed down this road from Maugersbury, which turned out to be a mistake, and we ended up doubling back.

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A thick mist was rolling in by then, and we couldn’t see very far.

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We passed an abandoned farm filled with disused equipment

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And began the climb up Maugersbury hill.

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Eventually descending to the quiet village of Icomb, with its 12th Century church.

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After leaving Icomb, we began to pass through a series of marshy meadows.

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And crossed some bridges.

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Finally coming to the village of the bridges, Bourton-on-the-Water

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From there, we went to a delightfully pretty tea room called the Smith’s of Bourton. Every table setting was different and very princess-like. We didn’t feel very princess-like though, with mud all over our boots and frost in our hair. But the cakes and scones were lovely. After that, we headed back to the station and took the train back to the comforts of London.

Now that I think about it, it was a rather crazy thing to do, to head to the Cotswolds for a trek in winter. But it was still an interesting experience trekking through the ice and snow and mist, and one not devoid of pretty moments. The walk we took was car-free and can be found here.

[3/1/15-4/1/15]

Final flight home.

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I’m lucky to be sitting on an airplane for the fourth time this holiday. I like being carried in this slow rhythmic motion, up and down, as though in a cradle. I like the gentle vibrations, the soft blankets, the quiet dimness, the isolation from the world.

It’s been 3 weeks away from home, from the white slopes of Hokkaido to the cluttered, vibrant streets of Tokyo, to the cold marshy meadows of the Cotswolds and the familiar grey streets of London. Before this journey I was in such a poor state of mind that I didn’t even want to fly anywhere. It seems characteristic of disturbed minds to desire for all things to remain as they are. And perhaps it is that which leads to the curious tendency of depressed people to cling to their depression and reject possible routes out of suffering even where such routes clearly present themselves. In retrospect now, I am glad I embarked, glad for the excitement of Japan and the comforts of London. Three weeks away from the writing and reading and the anxiety of too many words and too many muddy thoughts, I feel like I’ve had a good mental reset.

The past few days the thought of going home and school starting has been filling me with a sickening sense of dread. In part, I am afraid of the sadness coming back. A few days ago I heard a song that I used to have on endless replay on those difficult nights where the pain prevented me from getting done any of the work in front of me. Suddenly I felt a wave of memory and an accompanying anguish. It is strange how sounds and smells can trigger such sensation-rich memories. Every time I think about looking at notes or cases I feel sick inside, as though I can no longer separate the sight of my law materials from the inner anguish I struggled with whilst they sat in the background.

I’ve been bathing in comfort since coming to London. Though many people have been away travelling or busy with family, I still had ample time in the presences of familiar people. I sat in friend’s flats, enjoyed high teas, went for walks through the familiar greys and reds and dark greens of the streets. I enjoyed being the sole occupant of a large bedroom. All these things relaxed me, and also made the thought of going home more daunting. I fear being separated from all that is familiar and kind. I fear the harsh programs and structures, and how artificial and inorganic they make life feel. I fear that sense of disconnect and the anxiety of not knowing what is going on and not wanting others to know it. I fear the fatigue from having no place to rest at home. I fear how it made me lose the quiet assurance I have always forged ahead with.

I remember whenever it rained and I needed to get out of the house I would just put on a jacket and hop onto my bike and cycle out into the downpour, with hardly a sense of the silliness of it. Just go, I would tell myself. It can’t be helped. Now I wonder that I did such things. It was that constant disconcertedness, coupled with anxiety and depression that numbed my sense of reality and drove me to do silly things or to carry things out in a silly way.

As I type this the plane has just gotten rocky. Over the PA a crew member tells everyone not to use the lavatories and the lift infants out of the bassinets. Perhaps I also ought to stop writing for now, and just allow myself to rest in the rocking of this vessel for the last 3 hours of my flight. Perhaps now, after bringing home these pieces of my London life packed into my suitcase, I will be able to live a little more like myself.

Good night.

Hello Hong Kong

 Took a short getaway to Hong Kong during recess week. It’s so strange to think that this big, bright, colourful place is just at the back door of our tiny island, which seems almost sleepy in comparison. (5 photos)

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Hong Kong is a really brightly lit place.

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The city skyline (part of), backed by mountains dotted with light. Twas quite a sight. 

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Always found it amazing to see tall mountains and tall buildings standing side by side. I suppose I’ve lived too much of my life on flat land. 

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Saikung, Hong Kong’s back garden.

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Just look at all those fish and stripy lobsters! The men will lift them up to you in a net if you buy some.

“Let’s leave for somewhere, journey somewhere. This world – it’s full of lies”

By Kata Noi Beach, Phuket

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The Brain—is wider than the Sky—
For—put them side by side—
The one the other will contain
With ease—and You—beside—
The Brain is deeper than the sea—
For—hold them—Blue to Blue—
The one the other will absorb—
As Sponges—Buckets—do—

The Brain is just the weight of God—
For—Heft them—Pound for Pound—
And they will differ—if they do—
As Syllable from Sound—

~Emily Dickinson

Rocks by the sea provide a nice place for pondering, while little fishes dart around my feet in little pools in the sand. I listen to the waves flood in and pull out, like words and other weighty, swallowing things do.