KYOTO never disappoints. Tradition, both a proud heritage but sometimes an inhibition to innovation is making space for the new. This movement is particularly apparent in the numerous cafes sprouting up around the city.
My hotel, the Palace-Side, across the street from Emperor Meiji's former palace, is in easy walking distance. On Karasuma Dori above Marutmachi Dori, TIME DOU which occupies the space where a clock shop once stood.
The relaxed energy, fresh modern architectural design with light wood, new ceramics accented here and there with old wooden beams, drew me in.
I became a fan from the first bite of a delicious open faced sandwich of grilled vegetables, a glass of iced hoji cha, and serving of delicate hojicha pudding.
It wasn't just the food that brought me back once a day for a meal or a snack or just dessert, but the wonderful young staff, led by manager and chef, Ryu Nakashima.
I think you will feel extremely comfortable and well taken care of when you go.
I had an appointment to teach Mirai-san qigong on the grounds of this 12th century samurai castle in Aizu Wakamatsu. Kuniyoshi had scouted out a secluded place in the trees in the vicinity of a Shinto shrine dedicated to the Tokugawa Shogun of that period forthe class.
The weather, which had been fairly mild that day, suddenly altered, and a chilly wind poured into the valley from the surrounding mountains. After guiding the foundational practice of Wisdom Healing Qigong, LIFT CHI UP/ POUR CHI DOWN, we offered respects to the ancient shrine and the three of us went down to the little snack bar and ordered hot yuzu juice to warm ourselves.
I was waiting for Kuni and Mirai-san, who went to the restrooms and turned to find the most lovely, child-like being sitting next to me, smiling at me. Her energy was light--Light, itself. We gazed into each other's eyes and smiling for a while. I was utterly charmed by her innocence. Later, we saw her walking to her nearby home.
Aizu Wakamatsu, Fukushima Prefecture
Demonstrations against Nuclear power blocked traffic in front of Tokyo's main station on Tuesday, Oct. 30. With difficulty, I secured a taxi to my hotel. I asked the driver if the demonstration, which was extremely loud and ,many people strong, had to do with Nuclear, and he said he didn't know! Perhaps he didn't understand my question, or perhaps he didn't want to reveal what is now becoming a cultural about-face in a country with a history of not questioning authority.
There appears to still be a coverup going on in Japan about the man-made disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi plant the day of the Great Eastern earthquake and tsunami. Radiation is still leaking out of the plant and I was told that the radiation levels in the ocean in front of the plant are at the same high level as the first day of the disaster.
This event is bringing the Japanese out to voice their anger--something that has really never before happened in their history.
In Aizu Wakamatsu, Fukushima Prefecture, I witnessed a group of perhaps 20 people standing in the street with banners and placards demonstrating against the re-opening of a nuclear plant in the Kansai area. The government cited a concern for the need for power in the heavily populated area of Osaka in the coming summer as the reason to re-operate it.
Sherry Remez is an Internationally published Inspirational, Travel and Feature Writer specializing in Cultural Preservation; Entrepreneur; Artist; Certified QiGong Instructor and Energy Healing Practitioner.