Our travels to Japan

While on our trip to Japan to meet up with some friends and people we have been working with, we took the opportunity to visit locations that provided a great sense of history, culture, and day to day life. We visited Tokyo, Hiroshima, Nygoya, Nakatsugowa, and Shizuoka (home to Mt Fuji) which showcased the contrast of knowledge and wisdom from the past with many advanced technologies.

We broadened our understanding on their way of life, given that its population of 120 million inhabit only 25% of the total land mass. We had many ‘aha’ moments, met lots of people, enjoyed new experiences, that we would love to share.

Self Care

How important it is to be kind to yourself, and remember that it doesn’t take much to throw your balance out and feel overwhelmed, confused or even lacking clarity with decision making.

After an early start (3:30am) and a long flight, we found ourselves very tired upon arrival. Just acknowledging this, helped. It reminded us to take a breath, and do the small things to re-balance. We chose to break up the travel route, so as not to rush to the next stop, which we were grateful for. It gave us time to re-hydrate, rest, sleep, and gain clarity with next steps.
No matter how challenging something can feel in one moment, things can feel differently in another moment. The impermanence of everything.

It was a good reminder of the importance of eating fresh and well, and keeping up with our usual practices such as walking, stretching, stillness, noticing our surroundings and listening to our bodies, and self talk – so that we didn’t miss out on precious moments.

People and Planet

The thing we noticed straight away were the well kept state of the roads, footpaths and the buildings. We noticed the no smoking signs in public areas. Smokers used smoking rooms so as not to impose fumes on others, which also means there are no cigarette butts scattered. A reversal to what we are used to seeing at home, where a walk through the city, has us pass through many smoke filled locations.

We also noticed very few rubbish bins. We realised that people collected and managed their own rubbish and disposed of it, either at home or in collection locations. We wondered the mindset behind that decision and discovered how it came to be. We learnt it was after the 1995 gas attack in a train station that killed 13 people and sickened over 6,000 people, that authorities decided to remove bins, to avoid future incidents. The byproduct of that action, was a positive effect on the cleanliness of the city, and has continued this way.

It was clear how social norms can shift over time. In fact it seems we were in the midst of another emerging shift to the norm. We noticed regular requests over the loud speakers, to not take calls on public transport to keep voices down and consider others. We sensed that people supported these shifts, by the way in which they followed the requests.

Hiroshima Peace Park

It was a great choice to visit Hiroshima. We witnessed and felt the humility of the city, in the way in which it acknowledged the people who lost their lives from the atomic bomb attack towards the end of World War II, and the powerful message they share with the world, around world peace.

The beautifully constructed Peace Park with its shrines and symbols, provides the space for visitors from around the world, to remember. We loved the clock that chimes every morning at 8:15am, the time the bomb impacted Hiroshima, and the thousands of messages and origami cranes, with the simply designed memorials and museums with detailed stories derived from those who survived the initial impact.

They shared with honest expression, the nature of their involvement in the war, and the impact of the horrid crime that played out against humanity, destroying lives, their city and future generations.

Cultural Challenges

We had lots of conversations with people in the cities we visited, around how they were feeling. Many shared their feelings around transitioning from their deeply ingrained cultural and societal conditioning, to what they honestly feel in their hearts.

They shared the challenges of patriarchal and traditional expectations and living in a global environment with distracting technologies, and the impact of that on their level of happiness, mental health and well-being. The statistics on domestic violence, self harm and suicide, reinforces once again, a significant gap in what is needed to transition safely and well, in this rapidly changing global landscape we are all now facing.

We were grateful to have shared time with families where we enjoyed traditional cooking, and feeling day to day life.

We realised that when you travel, you are more able to see the commons that exist between us all. Despite different cultures, languages, and ways of life, we are experiencing similar things on a daily basis; working, caring for ourselves, our families, facing similar challenges.


It seemed people naturally wanted to do things that showed care for each other and the work they do. We experienced many people who wanted to help us along the way, one offering to carry my bag down the stairs at the railway station, giving instructions on where to find our accommodation and using the facilities in shops and restaurants.

We found that many people who worked in service roles, were visible, available, happy and willing to help out, when and if there were any questions or concerns. It was so comforting that a ‘real person’ was there to help out and guide in private and public places; in petrol stations, car parks, parks, shops, railway stations, airports. What’s more, they seemed to do their role with genuine attention and care.

We had read about ‘ikigai’ and the nature of living with passion and wondered the impact of this on inner joy, care and genuineness.

During our time in Japan, we felt the humility of the people who enjoyed our attempts to speak Japanese, and were openly prepared to connect with us.


We enjoyed so many amazing natural landscapes. The mountainous regions highlighted the importance of water management. It was wonderful to see that the respect for and reliance on the proven techniques and wisdom passed down through the generations, still applied today. It highlights how technology and human connection can work side by side, to achieve a purpose, rather than one over another. It may be an important message to people around the world, where there is still hope to learn from those who still hold the wisdom and insights to work with nature.

How wonderful that people take care to uphold what nature has so graciously brought to their country.

Economic Surprise

I remember back in the 1990’s going to Osaka in Japan, for the World Aerobic Championships. At that time, the cost of food and living was far beyond our Australian way of life. This was significantly different this time.

We found the price of food and products very affordable, with little signs of price gauging which we commonly see in Australia. In fact, prices in tourist locations, airports and stations, were often less expensive, which felt caring and comforting.

We discovered that housing and rent was affordable and available throughout. It felt comforting to know that people in the community had access to the simple basics needed.

We wondered how much governments, industries and communities shared their knowledge about such matters with those from other countries? Wouldn’t it be great to learn from those who are achieving success in areas that matter.

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