A Zen New World

These days I find myself increasingly reluctant to blog. Instead, from time to time, I like to browse through micah’s blog – she is one humorous (and kick-ass muay thai boxer and martial arts junkie) scribe – and just laugh my head off at her whimsical adventures and indulgent feastings.

I’m packing my bags again, ready to brave the cold and treacherous. Nope, I’m not going Alaska or attempting Everest. I’m returning to my favourite country – Japan! Don’t give me that look!

This time, I’m off to Hokkaido – think lots of snow, snow and more snow. I hope I won’t freeze my ass off there, so I’ve been frequenting Uniqlo lately to source for bargains. Truth be told, this is actually the first time I’m visiting Hokkaido, much to disbelieving scowls and “Not again…” jibes from my colleagues. Another first for me – skiing! God bless my bones!

Think I left off in Vienna in my previous posts, and I was wondering if I should continue from there, or excite you with images of Japan from my previous trips. I think you know the answer.DSC03591So I’m going to accost your sights with Kyoto, one of my favourite cities in Japan. Mention Kyoto and one automatically associates with Buddhist temples and Shinto shrines. So if temples are not your thing, don’t bother visiting Kyoto.

However, labelling Kyoto as temple-land doesn’t really do it justice. After all, this was the original capital of Japan for more than a thousand years before Tokyo took the crown in 1868.

A friend who recently visited Kyoto commented on his Facebook that he had never witnessed such a confused city. I’m not sure if “confused” was the right word to use but I believe what he probably meant was that no other city in Japan challenges your notion of time, space and normality than Kyoto.DSC03731Here, geishas toting umbrellas totter in wooden clogs on the cobblestoned streets of Gion. Shrines pop up in the most unlikely of places (for example, in the middle of Teramachi, a bustling market and shopping arcade). And just a stone’s throw away from the shopping belt, mega temples built on hilltops instantly spirit you into a zen new world.

How can you not fall in love with this city?  LS

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Nous sommes unis

The Eiffel Tower Paris

I’m sorry for going on such a long hiatus. And to be honest, it could have been longer if not for what happened in the wee hours of yesterday morning. I woke up to the shocking news of the terrorist attacks in Paris.

I’m sure many of you out there feel as indignant as me. Whether you hate or love Paris (or Parisians or the French) for that matter – one thing is certain! This is not an attack on Paris, or the French per se. It is an attack on humanity.

An attack caused by a collective of monsters. A group of cowards who hide behind masks and machetes and machine guns. Scums! Idiots! Bloody s***heads!

You who fight so hard for your cause, are alienating your fellow brothers and sisters in Islam.

You who claim to uphold the name of Islam through your acts, have instead succeeded in smearing its name even further.

You who call upon the name of Allah, to justify every despicable act you commit, will burn in Hell for eternity!

You who cry for blood and spill the blood of others, will yourselves be slain in cold blood. And no one will give a s*** if it happens, when it happens, and how it happens.

You who seek to spread fear through your acts of intimidation, have instead strengthened our resolve to rid the world of this malevolent scourge.

Today we stand in solidarity with the Parisians. And together we grieve, we pray and we unite. No forces of evil shall enshroud the City of Lights, nor diminish its lustre.

Nous sommes unis

View from the Eiffel 4