Since we originally thought we’d be taking this trip during Spring Break, I have spent most of 2012 thinking and preparing for this trip. I read some Japanese fiction and nonfiction books & periodicals. Graeme and I watched documentaries, dramas and classic Japanese cult films (one of which was all about the history of tea!). I ordered guide books, I poured over this, this and this blog and watched relevant episodes of one favorite TV show. I studied wabi-sabi, an ideology introduced by one of my favorite interior designers.
I researched hotels and neighborhoods after interviewing friends and family who have lived or visited the tiny, yet powerful island nation. My interest in Japan is understandable: the way of tea, paper, calligraphy, minimalism, conceptual architecture & design, geisha, cherry blossoms, Japanese gardens, tempura, sticky rice. I will admit that despite this long list of things I’m looking forward to, Graeme and I have oscillated between shock and awe through our trip research as we self-educate on all that we may encounter in Japan. And despite the temptation to capture everything on film, camera and facebook: we will practice just being: observing and listening.
Our trip will take us from Tokyo through Hakone to Kyoto. We will returned visually stimulated, inspired, exhausted, changed.
My hotel list for anyone else planning a trip in the next season: