As time passes, we forget sometimes how to have real fun. I remember when I was about 6 or 7 years old, I cartwheel in frenzy. Twirling in circles over and over. Doing it just for the heck of it. No real purpose. I forget how fun it is to be a kid again. 20 or so years after, here I am relieving an old pastime. And I tell you, I did stretched some muscles while doing it! Almost sprained myself actually. Lol!
What happened to me? What happened to us? When did we stop playing? Why did we ever? Play stimulates creativity. It stimulates happy hormones. It create an atmosphere where nothing is wrong. Play should be part of our adult lives. We need it as ever. And I’m not talking about flirtations, sexual innuendos. But plain, innocent, children’s play.
When was the last time you played? Or just plain have fun? I say if you can’t remember, start now! Play!
One Saturday morning, with the Filipino team (Lol!), we decided to travel one and a half hour by Hankyu and JR train to Nara-koen. Nara-Koen located in Nara City of Nara Prefecture (Hahahaha) is a public park home to thousands of free roaming Sika deers. Sika deers are said to be messengers of God according to Shinto beliefs. Beautiful from afar but pretty nasty medium-size creatures I might say if you happen to encounter one.
Luckily (or not), we got ourselves a free tour guide from the tourist information center in Nara Station (JR Line). If you happen to put Nara in your itinerary, I would advice you to inquire about this free tour guide service. Although at the bottom end of the brochure it says “accepts donations”, still it will be worth your time. Our guide, Tomoko-san, is fluent in English. She is after all a teacher in a junior high school. She was able to supply necessary historical facts and was patient enough to guide 4 Filipinos (with no plans) to various places around the park as well.
Just a trivia, in Hyogo Prefecture, Sika deers are considered a pest. They are overpopulated and tend to destroy forests. Hyogo Prefectural Government is devising a plan to “exterminate” some of them. To keep the balance of nature I supposed. It is only in Nara Prefecture that Sika deers are protected.
Rickshaw guys have hot legs… LOL!
Waiting to be fed…
Oh, just strolling around… humdumrumdrum…
Ariel: Here you go fella
Ariel: Stop following me! One is enough! (Well, well, one is never enough for these guys)
Monk: (whispers) please stop giving me crackers!
Sika deer 1 (on the right): What are you doing?… Sika deer 2 (on the left): the girl just blew some nasty stuff!
Sika deer: all I want to be is a monument
pondering about life in the park… humdumrumdrum…
short cut to the garden
… the artist.
Japanese tea house
Everything is generally expensive in Japan. It includes dining out in fancy restaurants. General rule of thumb for international students is to stick with inexpensive restaurants or household cooking. Of course there is always an exemption of the rule. Especially if you don’t do it everyday. So for two random days, I decided to eat out and just try international cuisine.
First stop is Restaurant Jamaicana in Kobe-shi. It is owned by a true blue Jamaican musician married to a Japanese woman. The ambiance is pretty homey, with little taste of Jamaican art and of course, Bob Marley. I went there with two friends, one Japanese and one Malaysian. House specialty is Chicken Jerky. Oishii! The host is quite entertaining, sharing his history of global knowledge while performing in high-ends bars all over the world. Luckily, since we were the first customers, he gave us free orange juice. Yay! My Japanese friend feeling a bit generous, treated us!
Signboard along the pedestrian walk
Sauce for the house specialty, all the way from Jamaica
Chicken Jerky is ❤
Next stop, Akash. This Indian restaurant is just two blocks away from our apartment. Walking along the streets, you can already smell the delicious curry. It a small cozy restaurant, beneath a traditional pub. We went around 8pm and found the place packed. We have to wait to be seated. Sound system is playing mixed of Bollywood music and JPop. The walls are plastered with psychedelic posters of Hindu gods. Smell of spices around. Price ranges from 500 yen to 3,000 yen. We decided to order a set somewhere in the middle. The food was heavenly. From the samosa, salad, hot plate chicken, nan and Chai tea! (We forgot to bring a camera so here is one from my friend’s Iphone)
With the royal wedding and now Osama Bin Laden’s death, everyone seem to forget the radiation problems in Fukushima. Before, I decided not to talk about this issue because of one reason. I don’t want to be more paranoid that I’m already am.
However, when I visited Kobe last Friday, I was greeted by a musical protest of Japanese people saying no to nuclear. It is a big issue in Japan, although majority of the population would rather keep quiet as a large portion of their energy comes from nuclear power. Still, there is a minority voicing their distress, not only because of what happened during the March tsunami but because they know that there are other safer and cleaner options out there.
This particular creative protest is just one of the many gatherings happening around Japan. Musicians, activists and general public are coming together. As a nation, they are not only trying to survive the tremors of the earthquake and tsunami, but they are trying to find right alternatives for their problems.
We can help them!
Internationally, Greenpeace is “carrying out crucial radiation monitoring” within Japan’s 12 mile territorial waters. It is part of their initiative to conduct independent monitoring, sharing expertise on the issue. However, the Japanese government is “blocking” this initiative. To be part of the movement, Greenpeace is asking for your help. Tweet Japan’s Prime Minister to allow independent marine radiation monitoring.
Friday was the start of Japan’s Goruden Wiku (Golden Week) celebration. It’s a week of public holidays. From the Emperor’s birthday to Children’s day, it’s as if they jam-packed one week to lessen holiday celebrations.
Infiorata has nothing to do with the Golden Week but since it was a holiday I decided to venture out from my apartment to Kobe. Infiorata literally means “to cover with flowers”. This celebration originated from Italy, after the Great Hanshin Earthquake, to inspire the city’s rehabilitation, the local government decided to capture the beauty of laying flowers in the streets.
Thousands of tulips were used for this event. And artworks were stretched from North to South of Ban Kitano (old English residences). The theme for this year’s Infiorata was “Scent of Kobe”.