Our April Adventure

My Rare One and I just got back from Japan. Yes, JAPAN!! We were originally supposed to go last year in the spring of 2011 but a couple of weeks before our departure date, Japan suffered its horrible earthquake, tsunami and nuclear meltdown. So our trip was postponed for a year and we went in the spring of 2012 instead. Probably no other nation on earth could have bounced back as quickly or as completely as Japan but the Japanese people have coped and moved forward with their usual dedication and efficiency.

This was truly a dream trip for us. Both My Rare One and I have long been enamored of the Japanese aesthetic principles of simplicity/minimalism, reverence for nature and wabi sabi (the beauty of age, imperfection and transience), whether in art, spirituality, poetry or gardening. I can still hardly believe we saw Japan first hand! Loved it, absolutely LOVED it!

Our guided tour took us to Tokyo and then south to Mount Fuji, Matsumoto, Takayama, Kyoto, Nara, Hiroshima and Miyajima. We saw many wonderful Buddhist temples, Shinto shrines, art galleries, museums and Japanese gardens. I'll share some of the highlights with you over the coming months.

The first photo is of Matsumoto Castle, a feudal samurai stronghold built over 400 years ago. Often called "Crow Castle" because of its black walls, it is Japan's oldest surviving castle. The second photo is of cherry blossoms and lanterns on the island of Miyajima which is near Hiroshima.

[Photos by Debra She Who Seeks]