This year, I traveled to Japan.

Based on what people told me about their own experiences, I felt confident in my expectations…sushi, bullet trains and very very polite people.

But what about that feeling you get when you think you know the whole story?  Let’s say Japan’s story in this case.  It’s actually something that’s conjured up based on a few interactions – perhaps a TV show or the media, maybe even what your friend told you.  Chances are there’s more to it, and a one dimensional Japan can quickly be split into three.

So if I were to narrate a story, this is what it would be.

In Tokyo, there are busy little territories.

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With pockets of serenity to hide.

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In Spring, the Sakura blooms to line the trees with bright cotton candy.

There is something special about this flower, ‘Mono no aware’ (物の哀れ) which translates to ‘the pathos of all things’…you have to chase it to see it.

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There’s a rich cultural heritage.

From little paper birds.

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To ancient temples and grand statues.

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The Japanese attention to detail is second to none.

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They always go above and beyond to do their best work – even for the simple things.

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But there’s always time to play.

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Everything is neat, ordered and runs on time.

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And the garden’s are immaculate.

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You might even find an odd floating flower here and there…

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Or make a new friend.

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Two hours by Shinkansen, and you’re in the snowy mountains of Yuzawa.

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Or I might find you in an bamboo forest in Kamakura.

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And as the sun sets on Uneo Park on my last day, I thought to myself…look at these two territories;

Busy and calm

Old and new

Work and play

Moving from today to tomorrow.

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