Today the world is as globalized as it could be - - yet we struggle to find meaning in our daily existence.

28 November 2013

Japan 2013 // 3. さようなら 東京!

Sayonara, Tokyo!

Everyone should needs to travel. As a caveat, my definition of traveling does not mean staying at a protected resort in a tropical island for a few days. I mean getting lost in the thick of things and trying to make sense of all the complicated sights, tastes, smells, sounds, and feelings of a completely unfamiliar environment. Looking back, I am thankful to have had the opportunity to visit Japan while my friends were there. Without a doubt, the first leg of my trip would have turned out completely different if Ken, Kaori, or Tomo weren't there to guide me around. (If you guys are reading this, domo arigatou gozaimasu!)

More than anything, I believe that traveling is all about gaining a different perspective in life. Imagine if you ate nothing but wheat bread, everyday, for the majority of your life. I mean if everyone else was eating wheat bread everyday for the rest of their lives as well, then I guess you would think that that's the norm. But imagine one day, someone threw in a few slices of choice deli meats, the freshest of veggies, the sharpest of cheeses, and a little bit of mustard onto that wheat bread. Your mind would explode. That's what traveling is like. In other words, if you are simply content in living your entire life in one place, you'll never be able to think outside that wheat bread mentality.

Don't get me wrong, I understand that it may be difficult for people to travel due to a plethora of reasons: financial constraints, lack of time, and other reallife responsibilities. I get it. But, if you're in your twenties, you have no excuses. This is the best time to try new things, get lost and explore new frontiers, and being okay with not knowing what's around the corner. Discomfort should be embraced with open arms. With a little bit of discipline and a strict budget, travel is more than possible. All it takes is a passport, an open mind, and some guts. Spending the last three and a half years to go and grow abroad was the best decision I ever made in my life. Sure, I might have had to put a pause on starting my career, but we all know how Aesop's fable of the Tortoise and the Hare ended.

On another non-philosophical note, I wish I had more knowledge in botany or dendrology, because I absolutely love looking at, and being surrounded by, plants and trees. Throw in some exotic colors in between the greenery and I can simply observe for a long time. Not only do we benefit from the increased oxygen intake, but I actually feel much more calm and at ease. Don't you? The Zen masters got it right. On the flip side, I love (and miss) living in the hectic and frenetic environment of a huge metropolis, such as Seoul. Day or night, there was always so much life happening. And while photography was much more conducive during the day (due to the availability of light in general), there was something about the grittier night life that was just as appealing... The clash between the aromatic and malodorous scents wafting through the air constantly battling my over-stimulated senses.. the over-exuberant street vendors shouting about in a vain attempt to lure pedestrians to buy their questionable delicacies. The clatter of footsteps and screeching vehicles drowning out any possibility of having, let alone enjoying, a silent moment.. Even in the darkest alleyways, the neon lights seemed to buzz endlessly into the night...

In this artificial world we have built, nature deserves a place. We are human, after all. How mindless would we become if Yoyogi Park (Tokyo), Central Park (NYC), Olympic Park (Seoul), et al., were not integrated into a metropolis' design. I have a new found gratitude to those city planners who have made it a priority to create such a harmonious area for those that cannot escape the shackles of the urban chaos.

Camera: Leica M6
Roll: Fujifilm Superia 400


















Happy Thanksgiving

from Los Angeles



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