Saturday, 16 August 2014

it's easy, or not so hard anyway

I just wrote an entry here about the photos of Japan and other places of Michael Alvis – see below.

I'm prompted by that also to write about how it can be easy and not too expensive to spend time in Japan. But having asserted that I'll leave you to measure ways and means within your own budget and interests. With hope that it can be done, because it's worth doing, because it will grow new dimensions in your mind, give new understanding of the world.

We read all the time about the importance of tourism in different places, as well as all the touting by the 'tourist industry'. But the internet makes it possible to bypass the tourist industry: we can find simple or complex flight itineraries, we can find accommodation away from big hotels, we can access train or bus timetables. Maps on smart phones make walking so easy.

I look in wonder at tour buses passing me by as I walk streets: I am feeling the air and the local life, they chat inwardly about Mrs Smedley up there near the driver, in air-conditioning, en route from one fancy rock lump to another.  And they are paying 10 or 20 times more than my local bus or train ticket, infinitely more than my shoe leather, as I move through local life, maintaining my fitness and startling my brain. Their pathway controlled and clocked, mine free and open to following new turns, looking around unexpected corners.

Over a decade ago, I became a widower, in my 50s. Thereafter meeting people in ways not explored for decades. Shocked to find how many people, of all genders, were deliberately shutting down variables and pathways to the new as they got older. Perhaps in defence against the world. But it seems to me that openness to the new is a better way of enjoying the world and surviving, and more than surviving, in a difficult age.

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