092 warmth found in the cold

“the cold was set at 7 degrees celcius, the chilly wind bit me at my toes and fingers. but the sun’s warmth on my face and neck made it bearable.”

last december, i was in japan for a couple of days. i spent my christmas with my family abroad and it felt… empty. you may not know but the japanese don’t celebrate christmas, so there was no holiday. but the warmth from being with your family and familiar faces of our japanese hosts made our stay warm and comfortable.

we ventured many prefectures although it was our second time in osaka. even though we were in the city, the streets were almost deserted and quiet. it was really difficult to tell apart if it was a weekend or a weekday or a holiday even.

the train rides were another favourite. i love the way the rail worked and sounded, even the loud horn that the underground train worked was amazing. well, the long rides were therapeutic as well!

one thing i enjoyed during my stay were the people. the japanese smile and greet you even if you didn’t see them coming your way. it took me quite a while to get used to it but after a while, i was excited to smile at the next stranger i met. maybe it is just me and how i get so fascinated with strangers and old people.

during our christmas eve dinner, my family spent it with my father’s senior colleagues. one of them knew (and mentored) my father way before my birth, so you can only imagine how old he is. he told me all about his experience in singapore and countries that he has worked at.

so old, so wise, and when retired it all runs dry one day, all you can do is tell stories. and it only requires a keen ear to listen. i hope i can do that when i visit japan this year.

although christmas felt empty, i wanted to be alone in that country and wander the empty streets with the cold wind in my face. that sounded like a really good plan. hopefully i will do that in time to come.

more photos at http://www.flickr.com/13nicoles

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