Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Twenty Seven Little Happiness For My 27th Birthday

“It takes a long time to grow young.”

Pablo Picasso

And so, I turned twenty-seven a couple of weeks ago. To all of you who wished me all over the places - Facebook, Line, Whatapps, Instagram, text messages, etc, here is a BIG THANK YOU from me. I sincerely appreciate each and every wishes from all. This year, it was a little extra special because I celebrated my big day in Kyoto. Why Kyoto, you may ask. That's because it was a birthday-cum-honeymoon trip. Haha, just kidding! I know it has been a while since April 1st, but no, this is not another April's prank from me lol!

This time, I will make it simple. As I had just turned 27, here are the 27 wonderful things during the 2-day-1-night trip in magical city of Kyoto.

#1: Hello from Kyoto!

#2: The long pathway of endless vibrant torii gates at Fushimi Inari Shrine.

#3: Kyoto city, as seen from one of the slopes which is surrounded with little shrines, tombs and neighbourhood.

#4: An antique green coach of Japan Railway, more commonly known as JR, on its way to Kyoto Station.

#5: Kamo River (鴨川), which literally means "duck river". There are no many ducks in this river, but the riverbanks are popular walking spots for residents and tourists.

#6: A group of random Japanese girls in colourful kimon, spotted along the way to Kiyomizu-dera Temple.

#7: This temple, built without a single nail in the entire structure, needs no further introduction. 
Kiyomizu-dera temple is part of the Historic Monuments of Ancient Kyoto (Kyoto, Uji and Otsu Cities) in UNESCO World Heritage site

#8: Higashiyama shopping street, which is a great place to experience traditional old Kyoto.
Narrow lanes, wooden buildings and traditional merchant shops here invoke a feeling of the old capital city.

#9:Kyoto is well known for its matcha desserts and one of them is matcha soft cream.

#10: The Philosopher's Path (哲学の道) is a pleasant stone path which follows a canal which is lined by hundreds of cherry trees.

#11: A close-up shot of the cherry blossom, or sakura.

#12: A trip to Kyoto will not be completed without experiencing the stay in a traditional Japanese ryokan.

#13: Served with hot green tea, sweets and warm hand-cloth upon checking into the ryokan.

#14: One of the popular area in the Gion district is the Hanami-koji Street, which are lined with preserved machiya houses many of which now function as restaurants, serving Kyoto style kaiseki ryori (Japanese haute cuisine).

#15: Chicken broth based ramen at Monsen (門扇) in the Gion district. This bowl of ramen was fantastic!

#16: The beautiful light-ups at Shirakawa area in Gion. As it is a little off the beaten path, the Shirakawa Area is typically somewhat quieter than Hanami-koji Street.

#17:Enjoying the night sakura, or yozakura (夜 桜) at Shirakawa Canal. The canal is lined by willow trees, high class restaurants and ochaya, many of which have rooms overlooking the canal.

#18:The Golden Pavilion of Kinkaku-ji Temple, which is one of the most recognised structure in Japan.

#19: The Zen garden at Ryōan-ji temple (龍安寺). Placed within it are fifteen stones of different sizes. The stones are placed so that the entire composition cannot be seen at once from the veranda. They are also arranged so that when looking at the garden from any angle (other than from above) only fourteen of the boulders are visible at one time. It is traditionally said that only through attaining enlightenment would one be able to view the fifteenth boulder.

#20: Cherry blossom tunnel in between Narutaki Station and Utano Station on the Randen Kitano Line.

#21: My first visit to Arashiyama! The station was simply beautiful.

#22:The magnificent bamboo groves in Arashiyama.

#23: Two Japanese girls clad in their beautiful kimono, walking along the bamboo forest, striking a great contrast with the refreshing green bamboo.

#24: The wooden Togetsu-kyo bridge that spans the Katsura River in front of Arashiyama Mountain, offering incredible views of the spring cherry blossoms.

#25:Visitors can hop onto a wooden boat and enjoy a short ride around the river.

#26: A set of tenpura-don at Kyoto station for dinner, before heading back to Tokyo.

#27: And to cap of a wonderful day, some home-made desserts and supper from 7-Eleven over several candles in glasses.

Sometimes, I guess you do not need fancy presents, candle-lights dinner, or big parties to celebrate your birthday. Simple little things, and when they come around with the right company, in fact make things more meaningful and memorable. And for that, I am very thankful for.