Cee’s Which Way Challenge

fullsizeoutput_4c0

Prince Gong’s Palace Complex

Here’s my first entry for Cee’s Which Way Challenge where bloggers post a photo that shows a way, e.g. a road, path, bridge, etc.

Above you see a short path cutting though a patch of bamboo at Prince Gong’s Palace in Beijing. This palace is a less crowded, smaller version of the Forbidden City. A nice place to visit when you don’t have 3 hours or you want to avoid crowds.

(Does anyone else get annoyed with the autocorrection forever changing Cee to See?)

Advertisements

Ikigai

ikigai

Ikigai is a Japanese word that refers to the intersection of your mission, passion, profession, and vocation (see below). Héctor Garcìa and Francesc Miralles investigated a village in Okinawa which has the highest number of residents over the age of 100.

ikigai-300x298

Their secrets to longevity and quality of life are useful, but the book as a whole could easily be edited down to an article. The authors travel to Japan and interview several active, healthy centenarians but all that’s shared are a few conversations and a list of quotations along with a description of 10 common qualities of these vibrant centenarians and explanations of how they implement them into their daily lives:

  1. Never retire – always participate in meaningful, helpful activities
  2. Take it slow – no need to rush which makes people stressed.
  3. Don’t eat till you’re full – stop eating when you’re 80% full or fast a day or two a week. One trick is to eat on very small plates, perhaps the size of a saucer and don’t pile food up.
  4. Keep moving through light exercise. You don’t need to do contact sports or run an marathon. Keep it simple.
  5. Surround yourself with friends. Have several relationships so if one ends, you have back up.
  6. Smile
  7. Reconnect with nature.
  8. Give thanks.
  9. Live in the moment.
  10. Follow your ikigai.

The trouble I found with the book was the meandering. I think there were 10 qualities just because ten is a round number. In addition to information about ikigai, there’s a lot of fluff about yoga, tai chi, Csikszentmihalyi’s flow. They also add paragraphs that should have been deleted about their trip from the airport and such banalities. The ideas about flow, tai chi, etc. were from the authors and not from the Japanese elders.

I’d hoped that this would be like The Little Book of Hygge, but it lacked the wit and the tone of the book. I think I’d rather read such a book written by an insider. Someone from Japan would be able to add insights two outsiders couldn’t.

So this is a book to get from the library and skim. then go out and find that passion, make more friends, smile and eat till you’re just 80% full.

That Night’s Wife

michiko etc

The father’s over acting the “bad guy” too much for my taste

Directed by Ozu, That Night’s Wife is one of his early silent films. The film quality is often blotchy, which was distracting at times and the it does seem that Ozu is figuring out his craft, so this isn’t a “must-see” film.

The story is about a man who’s pursued by the police for a robbery, which we don’t see. The man evades the police and gets home to his family, which consists of his wife and his young daughter, who’s critically ill and may not make it. They live in a small, squalid apartment, which for some reason has several old movie posters with English and Russian titles leaning against their walls. I suppose this was a homage to Ozu’s idols, but I’m not sure.

Clad in a kimono, the wife talks with the girl’s doctor. If Michiko, the daughter, makes it through the night, she’ll be fine. The devoted father does get home and gives his wife the money for Michiko’s medicine. The wife figures out that the money’s stolen and there’s some disagreement about that. However, the dispute’s not resolved as a police officer comes to the door. The husband hides, but is found. The night wears on as they all watch sleeping Michiko hoping she lives. The cop is sympathetic to the family but also has to do his duty.

The film was quite melodramatic and by 1930, I’d have thought any director would seek more subtlety, but no.  All in all, there were some surprises, but this was done before Ozu hit his stride. While the wife takes some surprising action, I’m still not sure why this movie is entitled This Night’s Wife.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Weathered

zhujiayu1

Zhujiayu, Ancient Town in China

taipei.jpg

Shrine, Zhujiayu

DSCN3577.JPG

Pekanbaru, Indonesia

DSCN3580

Pekanbaru, Indonesia

fullsizeoutput_198

At the British Museum

1. Each week, we’ll provide a theme for creative inspiration. You take photographs based on your interpretation of the theme, and post them on your blog (a new post!) anytime before the following Wednesday when the next photo theme will be announced.

2. To make it easy for others to check out your photos, title your blog post “Weekly Photo Challenge: (theme of the week)” and be sure to use the “postaday″ tag.

3. Follow The Daily Post so that you don’t miss out on weekly challenge announcements, and subscribe to our newsletter – we’ll highlight great posts. Add Media photos from each month’s most popular challenge.

Just a few wonderful posts:

Nengajo

adprint-nengajo-inu-2017

In Japan they don’t send Christmas cards, they send New Year’s cards called nengajo. On January 1st the Japanese postal employees deliver all your cards to your house. They’ve saved each posted card for each address and work this holiday to deliver everyone’s cards.

This year is the Year of the Dog in the Chinese system. Japan celebrates New Years according to the Western calendar so January 1 is their New Year’s Day too.

I thought I’d send you my wishes with this cute nengajo.

Note: In the drawing above the dog’s head is made with an “i” and the body’s made with a “nu” in hiragana, which is one of the Japanese writing systems. Dog in Japanese is inu.

Weekly Photo Challenge: 2017 Favorites

1. Each week, we’ll provide a theme for creative inspiration. You take photographs based on your interpretation of the theme, and post them on your blog (a new post!) anytime before the following Wednesday when the next photo theme will be announced.

2. To make it easy for others to check out your photos, title your blog post “Weekly Photo Challenge: (theme of the week)” and be sure to use the “postaday″ tag.

3. Follow The Daily Post so that you don’t miss out on weekly challenge announce
ments, and subscribe to our newsletter – we’ll highlight great posts. Add Media photos from each month’s most popular challenge.

Just a few wonderful posts:

 

How I Miss Onsens

Unless you’ve been to a country where public baths are part of everyday life, you can only imagine how lovely it is to scrub and scrub all the dirt and probably one layer of skin off and then to soak in a big hot bath with a bunch of strangers. It’s an amazingly restorative practice and lots of fun. Afterwards you feel like you’ve washed away the problems of the world.

 

Onsen-pasttime-3

If you’re ever in Osaka, I highly recommend you visit Spa World, an indoors hot bath entertainment center. It isn’t an onsen, which is a hot spring and has a more natural setting, such as nearby mountains or a forest, but is indoors often in urban areas. Not only do Spa World’s baths have various international themes, like France, Spain, China, India or Iran, but there are restaurants, a big room full of reclining chairs and a movie screen showing Japanese TV, and an arcade.

Note: You’re only naked in the gender segregated baths. In the entertainment center, you wear the cabana outfit they provide, i.e. matching blue shorts and a top for men and pink for women. There isn’t a more Japanese activity to be had.