The 500 ...

My second day in Kumamoto. The weather is quite windy and a bit rainy. I wanted to go to the mountains today, a bit far from the city center but possible.

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Few research and I found that by tram and bus I could go to visit a temple in a cave, it's a 1h30 journey. After a nice coffee at the 7 eleven in front of the bus stop, luckily the number 6 arrived. While riding to the hill, I realized that the driver wasn't speaking English and all the announcements were in Japenese! Only 3 peoples in the bus. I asked the man in front of me, he told me that he was a swordsmith working in the mountain and he kindly asked the driver to let me know when I should stop.

It was very windy up there, I really like to watch the wind bending the trees tops.

While walking to the Temple in the mountain through a narrow road, I realize that bamboos surrounded me. A beautiful bamboos forest playing with the wind and making an incredible sound. On my left a river cascading. After about 1 miles I arrived in a small village, quite traditional and very quiet! Alone on the road I continued straight up. I finally arrived in front of two old statues, far away I could see an entrance looking like a gate.

That was there. Thought the window I saw an old man smoking a cigarette. 

I walked in... They were there waiting still, sitting on the slop of the mountain, the 500 boudha disciples. Cover by moss, eyes closed meditating.

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I walked a bit and sat to watch them, listening to the sound of the wind in the tree, some small birds are singing, sometime I can feel few drops of rain blow by the win ending there journey on my skin. 

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they all have a differents expressions and postures, they all feel in peace and one with the nature, they are one with the slop of the mountain. They are the mountain.

The color of the moss is incredibly green. 

After a while I realize that no one was there, I could stay as long as I want here, just hearing, watching, breathing.  

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The sky is white, the wind is bigger. Its raining, a small rain. 

I'm spending a lot of time taking, pictures and videos since I start my trip. This is cool but looking life through a camera is not really the best. Its good to keep record of memories but before that you need to live your memory. Now, I'm not leaving a place without staying at least 30min looking around, enjoying the pace and the quietness. And I really feel the difference.

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That's really incredible to be alone in this place.  

The 500 are still peaceful and still, whatever rain, win, moss, snow or sun, they are the mountain. 

There is some place on Earth that give you inner peace only by being there and looking around, that is what nature and stillness can give you. It was hard not to stay, after almost 3hours I decided to leave and go back to the real world.

Walking back to the bus stop it start to rain quite intensively. I found my way back but no sign of bus stop in the other direction, I decided to wait at the same bus stop.  Under the rain like totoro I was waiting for the bus. A car came and a lady told me in Japenese that I should wait on the other side of the small road and the next bus to kamamoto was in 30min. The choice not to have internet all the time didn't make it easier but I like it better like that. Instead of browsing and browsing while waiting I'm watching the bending trees.

When I jumped in the bus , the same old lady was sitting at the same room in the bus. Like the 500 she was still and peaceful watching the landscape through the bus windows.

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I watched it as well in silence ans could see the rice field and the mountains.

On my way to Kumamoto...

Back from the feeric Yakushima Island to Kagoshima starting my train journey in Japan from south to north, Kagoshima-Sapporo with multiple stops and detours on my way.

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I have two months and an half to get there and so many places to see.

My first stop will be in Kumamoto, very close to some volcano mountains and lakes, I have booked a cheep but nice capsule hotel there. 

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Yesterday when I woke up in Yakushima for my usual breakfast before going for a hike, I was planning to go to a beautiful beach, Nagata. But that didn't go as plan. The weather wasn't that good I thought. Seing other peoples leaving quite in an hurry, I asked. An other typhoon was aiming to Japan and the slow ferry was close. My host adviced me to take the fast ferry today which was still able to sail and booked a room for me! (Otherwise I could get stuck on the island during the typhoon) In less than an hour I was in the bus to the port and could see huges waves hitting the shores and the wind bending smalls trees.

when I arrived at the ferry terminal there were a massive queue of people trying to exchange there ticket to leave early. Luckily I had a reservation number thanks to my host and I could get in the ferry, I was the last one getting on board!!!

The ferry Journey was quite jumpy!!! But after two hours I made it to Kagoshima!  I had no idea what direction to go : Miyazaki or Kumamoto, finally I made my mind and activated my 21 days JR pass to start my train journey.

I think it should be good enough to go to Mt Fuji with it before heading to Tokyo with of course multiples stop in between.

Im planning maybe 7 stops before being there, Which mean 2 or 3 days stop max. But it's still quite blurry where to go next and I like that. 

The first afternoon in Kumamoto I've decided to visit a garden, weather was alright, I thought, but not awesome. 

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I had to go on a ride on the tram and end up on the other side of the city. When I entered the garden I saw this magnificent pond reflecting perfectly the clouds in the sky. That was stunning, this light when it's oscillates in between blue sky and rainy mood. Really dramatico-romantic.

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I stayed maybe 3 hours there walking around in this zen garden. The shapes of the trees and the perfect green of the grass, the city in the background!

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Don't miss this garden if you're going to Kumamoto! 

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It's raining under the trees...

Today I woke up early around 7am to catch a bus to the forest.

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I arrived yesterday on Yakushima Island. Straight from the ferry I had an hour ride bus to where I'll stay the next 3 nights, a very lovely place witha fantastic view on the mountains and the ocean. 

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Here you need to have a car or to take the bus, this is a big Island! Like all Island there is a main road going around. there is two bus to go there, one to go and one to come back! This forest is up the mountain. 

In the bus, driving along this narrow and tortuous road, you can already feel the nature surrounding you... Your leaving the civilization. It start to rain! While watching the rain pattern on the bus windows, I'm remembering my host telling me that it will rain haha and offering me an umbrella which I declined because I thought I had a good raincoat!!! Haha what a mistake! Always listen to Island peoples...always...they knows!

I like these ride on the bus, this is quite jumpy and funny, im thinking about the bus driver taking this road twice a day, certainly very used to this magnificent forest! Does he still enjoy it?

The bus is stopping! This is here!  

Under the rain, I'm entering the fog of the forest following the track.  

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The good think with this weather conditions is that not much people like to hike under the rain. I choosed the long track 2h30 and very quickly while entering the forest the voice of the other stopped. I'm alone listening to the sound of the water hitting the tree leaves anf dripping. Ploc ploc ploc ... Then a very loud water noise...

A river ? Deeper I go in this forest and more I'm attracted to it! These old gigantic trees, the unique shape of every of it... The young tree which hopefully will become as tall as the old one. 

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It's raining more and more but the trees are offering me a shelter... Keep walking I arrived to the river! There is a suspended bridge that you need to cross. 

The mist is everywhere now, I can distinguish some very unusual shapes, big shapes of the olders, still and imposing, there are wispering to each other. Certainly used to see some humans quite often but always surprise.  

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The track is changing, it's made of tree roots, I'm really feeling alone in this forest, surrounded by nature and mist. I'm soak now, haha !  Really miss this umbrella! 

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I'm thinking about the time when humans didn't have any bus or car, what trip it should have been going through this forest, climbing this mountain! They certainly didn't forget the umbrella!  

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Every step, every look at this forest is a unique one. Every tree got an unusual shape, somehow still and alive. Some look dead laying on there side, but you can see young trees growing in it! Like the old one were rejuvenating. This is incredible. I keep walking climbing, Ive lost track of time now, surrounded by this majestic world. Now that I think about it, I didn't cross the path of any animals, except a monkey, no birds, no squirrel, even no insects and no totoro... 

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There were an empty trunk which was a good shelter for a while when it rain very hard, I sat inside and watch the sky thought the hole. Maybe a cousin of totoro tree.  

Here and now... In a wild forest with elder trees, I feel happy, I'm thinking that so far I didn't care that much about nature, don't get me wrong I like it and always respect it, of course, but I never felt that connected.

Being here is putting things in a different perspective. Maybe this trip is putting things in different perspective too.

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Yakushima forest is an untouched capsule of time... Without realizing I found myself back at the entrance of the track, one step and I'll be back to reality...

Learn to be... Kagoshima

After a late and turbulent flight from Seoul, I arrived at Kagoshima airport around 5pm.

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From there you have to take bus number 2 to go to the city center, it take approximately 1 hour. When I arrived there yesterday it was quite rainy, the tail of Trami Typhoon certainly. Surprisingly I couldn't find any pocket wifi at the airport and decided to give it a try with only free wifi spot, like in Seoul there is not a lot in Japan, so back to the basic paper map and it works! Well it almost work I've missed my hotel from 2 road ahead and it was night! Haha ...

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While I was trying to figure out where I was on the map, in the night, it's raining...very dramatic ! A lady with is little boy ask me if I needed help and after having a look at my map offered to walk me to my hotel!!! Welcome back to Japan! She shown me the directions and I told her that I would be ok to find it! After thanking her I walked straight to my hotel! Looking behind me she was watching and waving at me to make sure I was at the good hotel! That was my first interaction with someone at Kagoshima! What a nice welcome!  

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For this first night I booked a simple hotel but with onsen. It was cheap and a bit behind the town center, I had the great surprise to find that they upgraded me to a Tatami room, I loved it! Again a very good way to feel welcome, I guess the room was available, I'm a foreigner and they thought that I would enjoy the experience! And I did! 

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I spent the following day walking around, enjoying some coffee, a nice croissant-omelette in a very nice cafe and I found out where and when I could take a ferry to Yakushima a not so far Island.

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What? An Island again!!! You already been to zamami! Yes but this one got a giant and antic Forest with olds trees that I want to meet! Full story short, yes this is the forest who inspired mister Miyazaki for "princess Mononoke"!

I've decided to wake up early around five in the morning to watch the sunrise, with a view like that, that would have been a shame not to! 

Mother earth offered me a special welcome too : the sun was rising and the volcano was smoking when I woke up. During the night I felt some earthquakes like vibrations, I thought I was dreaming but it appears that that was real! Nothing to worry about, apparently this volcano is in activity sometime. That's remembered me my good old wellington, New-zealand back in the days. The sunrise was beautiful! That's always a thing when you see the nature and a city waking up at the same time! 

Im in the ferry to Yakushima now, enjoying a coffee, waiting for the boat to sail! Four hours trip.

It's 8:13am, an old man just sit next to me opening an Asahi can, apparently enjoying the refreshing beverage. Maybe he had a long night at work and going home or maybe a long night with friends.

Who knows? 

it's a curious feeling to find myself on a ferry sailing to an island. Exactly a month ago I was behind my computer working. A lot of people ask me but I have not plan much what's coming next. I'm thinking about it sometime, but I really don't know. When people ask me I have the feeling that it's always about what work is coming next. When you put yourself on the side of the busy world you realize that 'next' can be a lot of thing and not only the next job! Next trip to Bali or to Tibet? Maybe!?

Starting my minimalist life teach me few things so far, including that less you have and less you will worried about the next day or the next week. Yes travelling cost money, but as minimalist your are able to tight your budget. Of course you still need a budget but when you choose to travel like that you won't keep any flat to pay the rent for or any bills. Luckily this part of your monthly expense can go on your trip, at least the first month.

In Japenese ferry, there is an extra features that other ferry doesn't have : a tatami area usually used by family with kids or by traveler who want to take a nap like me. And guess what this is nap time! 

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When I'll arrived to the Island I'll have to catch a bus to where I'll stay for few days. This is about one hour bus along the coast. Again a trip in a trip is very exciting. I've heard a lot about this Island...

Bye Bye Seoul...

After a week in Seoul, it's time to say goodbye. The typhoon Trami has been through Okinawa during the night and is aiming to Kagoshima at the moment.

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I'm in the train to the airport and I just received an alert email from Korean airline, but no internet in the Tube! Let's wait for the big surprise at the airport!

I can remember the change of mood when I arrived in Seoul after being in Okinawa and zamami, the quietness of an island and the busyness of a big city facing each other.

I honestly like both but that was an abrupt feeling haha!

After an hour of train to arrive at the city center my friends Cecile and Arnaud were waiting for me at the tube station, they kindly offer me to stay at there place and that was amazing.  

The weekend I arrived was a long Holiday week-end and I had the pleasure to discover some part of the old city, some temples, some gardens with them.

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Seoul is a surprising city surrounded by mountains, walking it make you go up and down the hill all the time, you need to be ready for a bit of a hiking. One day I took the bus number two, a fabulous small green bus with not that much room inside, very enjoyable to discovers some small streets of Seoul and go up the hill.

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So I took this bus and walked to the Seoul tower to enjoy the view, and what a view, the mountains are fabulous and you can see all the city! A mix of modern building and old houses.

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Talking about the view, luckily the flat of my friends had a terrace with a fantastic one where I was able to do some timelapse and photos enjoying a nice local beer.

The weather (after being hit by the sun during two weeks, yes I can still feel the sunburnts, this is the time when the snake is changing skin... Yes... Haha ...) Well the weather in Seoul was very different at this time of the year. Just hot as you wish with a small wind to refresh you, at the end of the day you even wonder or not if you'll take your jacket to go out! 

Temples and palace are very impressives, very colorful, I never seen that before, the ones we went were very big and you could walk around a full day contemplating the beauty of the architecture.

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People around like to wear traditionals clothes, certainly to celebrate. Sometime when you walk around that give you this feeling that you are back in time. 

Day after day, Sunny day after sunny day, walking, biking the city, taking bus or metro I enjoyed it every minutes! I didn't get the time to go the mountains but that will certainly be on my list if I come back to Seoul. 

I, of course visited the busy town center with his high modern towers and new monuments, statues dedicate to the Olympics. You might call me 'classic' I still prefer the architecture of a temple or a gigantic palace full of history every step you walk.

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My train is arriving at the airport now, my flight has been delay by 2h, enough time to check-in, grab a snack and continue to tell you my Seoul adventure.

That was something to wake up myself socially after being alone this last two weeks, interesting to see how somehow we all need to express ourself, I was happy to talk again in french! Haha...

Travelling alone is something I really like, there is a lot of fun part and the most important to me it's that's is all on you, good or bad decisions this is you, which is quite a good exercise to face yourself truely.  A lot of to discover ...

They are calling for boarding, bye bye Seoul that was a pleasure! Next stop Kagoshima!

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Sayōnara Okinawa...

You know this feeling when you come back from holiday and you're happy to be back home?

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Back to Naha town in my favorite Capsule hotel after 2 hours of Ferry from zamami Islands, I've jumped straight in the onsen.

Very relaxing after this small travel. Thats really something I enjoy in Japan : the onsen. I've been told that on my way from Kagoshima to Tokyo there is some good ones.

It's already diner time and what's best that some nice Soba! It didn't take long for me to fell asleep.

The following day Ive checked-in for my last night in a nice guest house close to the center, traditional tatami room with shared facilities, shower, small kitchen. This is like flat sharing again. For those who think Japan is expensive it cost me £20.

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The floor is all tatamis and you got a foldable futon mattress with a sheet and a blanket. It's up to you to make your bed in the fashion and orientation you want. I love it! Really comfy! I slept like a baby. I really recommend it for anyone who wants to visit Japan, at least one night for tge experience.

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Today I'm flying to Seoul to meet a couple of Friends there : Cecile and Arnaud. I'm looking forward to see them and to discover Seoul. That will be my first time there!

It's gonna be a social event in my solo traveller life! I didn't speak that much to peoples the last two weeks. But that's true that when you are traveling alone people talk to you more. 

Since I'm traveling all my landmarks have changed, from one place to another every 2-3 days. Unpacking, packing again. Im adapting myself to this new life and even after two weeks I can see that I didn't use half of what's in my bag. That make me think that you don't need much to live as an itinerant traveler : some good resistants and clean clothes, a jacket, a hat, sunglasses, some good shoes, a small toilet kit, few electronics devices to communicate and stay connected to the world. Up to you to turn it off! And thats it!

That's all I need! Less you have, less you carry, less you worry! 

My camera, my GoPro and my laptop are taking a fair amount of space in my bag, maybe more than half of it. I also have my travel yoga mat which I didn't use yet.

I'm trying to re-organize my small backpack for the next part of my adventures and I'll need to make some hard choices haha!

Since I arrived I bought only 3 things : an umbrella (then I lost an umbrella and I bought a new one, this is the umbrella chain...), my hearplugs and a small Muji toilet kit, mine was too big. 

Before leaving I found a garden on the map which was quite far, that was almost one hour of walk and of course I got lost! Haha!

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I ended up walking/climbing a hill under a hot sun. I noticed that the houses there were very simple in the way they were made... No windows...

Well that was the cemetery!

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I've finally arrived to the garden and again thought. : All that for that! A parking lot, few cars, few taxi. After buying some refreshing water I entered the garden, that wasn't only a garden!

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I was happy to discover there some pieces of Okinawa history! Traditionals houses and a zen garden. Quiet and peaceful... With many paths and bridges to walk around.

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There is two traditionals houses you can enter and visit. I was so happy that I spent my entire afternoon walking around and chilling.

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Again, I felt like I was the only one in the garden. Where are the people!

That's a true pearl! A small gem in the city! When you sit and look around you can imagine kings and queens walking in kimonos, sandals and fan. Sometimes architecture and nature are speaking to you to remind you a past that you never knew. These gardens are the memories of the city, the latest witnesses of the old Japan.

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Here I am, having my last breakfast/brunch in Okinawa! I honestly loved my time here! It's hot!  I was always sweaty, chasing the shadows on my long walks in the city and inevitably got sunburn!

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I've discovered some fantastic gardens, some curious traditions, some indescriptibles Islands and some very welcoming peoples. I've watched my first sunset in the rising country sun! I met a turtle! I had one of the best Soba in my life! I tried to be and not to do and I'll keep going. I learnt that there is so many way to communicate and to be understand, no need for a specific language. A simple smile sometime is a good start.

I'm still looking to find some questions to start to find some answers. 

During these two weeks I realized that travelling is really something I want to do as much as possible and that is totally different that "long holiday".

I want to witness unknown cultures and meet differents peoples. There is a lot of to learn from difference.

Okinawa is a mix of  the welcoming traditions of a tropicals Island and the legendary japenese hospitality.

That's a part of Japan you don't want to miss if you are traveling Japan! 

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I'm sitting now at the airport of Naha finishing this article and looking at the sky and the ocean, time to go gate 42 to a new adventure!

Sayōnara Okinawa... You've been good to me!

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Make an Island of yourself...

This morning I get up early to take the ferry to zamami Island.

Theres is something magic to jump on a boat when you are traveling, this is like a travel in the travel. It took two hours to arrived at Zamami. After checking in my new room, I walked straight to the beach to jump in the ocean. The water is green blue and 30°c.

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When I arrived I was suprised by the simplicity of zamami town, I was expecting big hotels resorts all along the cost with thousand of tourists swimming around. No, that's not what you'll find in Zamami, you'll find the opposite : simplicity and authenticity.

After almost a week in Naha town, you need some time to adapt yourself to the pace of Zamami. Just sit and relax and don't forget your hat and some sun cream!

There is two beaches 20 minutes walk from the small city, they are both beautiful and perfect for a morning bath or sun bathing, the blue emeraude ocean is singing to you a peace song to help you to be in the present moment. Luckily I found not much peoples there, that was like the ocean was mine! Alone with nature enjoying the sound of the wave, clean, clear water...   

A small paradise, an unknown destination? I found myself almost being the only occidental walking around, which increased the feeling of immersion.

The first day there I choosed to take my time and to chill around, stop doing,start being...

An immaculate sand beach is perfect for that. Leave all your electronics devices in your room and enjoy!

Put fins and mask on and go for some snorkeling to see some beautiful fishes, coral and if you are lucky you'll meet one of the local stars : The turtles!

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There is a lot of scuba diving shops around, I went to see one and we agreed to meet the following day for two dives, where I was able to meet turtles, shark and an octopus.

Dive were shallow, but no need to go deep to see amazing fishes and coral diversity.

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During the first dive we went through some narrow caves with open roof letting some godrays coming in, that was stunning. Unfortunately on the second dive, a part of my equipment failed (out of the water) and I decided that I will snorkel the following days. I was lucky to spend almost 20 minutes with this beautiful turtle and I saw some magnificents school of fishes.

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After few days in zamami, I felt really chill, peoples here are very nice and welcoming.

Close to my room there is a nice cafe where you can sit in the garden, coffee is awesome and sandwiches are really tasty! Yummy! That was perfect for lunch break, you know the break in between the bath in the ocean and the nap;) haha...and then bath again ...

This town/village really kept a sens of simplicity which I really like. There is 500 peoples living on the island and even less during off peak.

One night, I was walking in the street looking for diner, and I couldn't really find some restaurants, when I saw two peoples looking at a wall and opening the door which looked like a simple house to me. That was a restaurant! I pushed the door as well and was welcome to sit in the living room on some tatami, tv was on, open kitchen, the couple leaving here was cooking diner for the guests. I had some very nice Soba!

It remenbered me my first experience when I arrived in Japan last year, I was walking around looking for a restaurant but everything seemed to be close and hidden behind a curtain, as a shy European you need to open the door and to ask, most of the time you'll be welcome to enter to have awesome food.

when writing about Naha, I told you that music was everywhere in the street. This is the same in Zamami, regularly I can here some music and announcement while walking in the city. Every hour there is a gentle music, and sometime someone is announcing something I can't understand. Haha!

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After a day snorkeling in the water I got sunburn, so no beaches for me today, maybe tonight to watch the sunset...

Sunset time was around 6:30pm, I Walked to tbe beach and found a nice spot to enjoy it! Quiet time watching the sun going down and listening to the ocean song.

I've spent 5 days on Zamami Island and could have stay longer. I really felt in love with the rythm here, the time to be, to look at birds, ocean, fishes, clouds. That was a good time not to think, just to be one with myself. I know now almost every streets, every small hidden restaurants, where to find the turtles, when the tide is the best, I wonder if I'll come back one day...

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Here you just have to let it go and everything will follow... Time will stop... and everything will be up to you...

A Horn is ringing, this is the ferry calling us to go back to civilization. Good bye Zamami! And thanks you!!!

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Are you ready to be an island?

To plant a garden...

To plant a garden is to believe in tomorrow.

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There is this curious thing happening when you stay fews days in a row at the same place when you travel. You start to know every streets and shops around, you got news habits, peoples recognize you at the cafe and some restaurants you already been.

This morning I went to the Ferry office to buy a ticket for my trip to zamami island. A fair walk under the sun made me discover an other part of the city. The less touristic Okinawa. Like many cities in Japan, concrete imposed his style but I'm always surprise to cross a garden here and there which break the concrete monotony. I won't call that the perfect balance but the contrast is very surprising. It's like finding some small glimpses of a forgotten past.

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I've localized one of these garden on the map and decided to have a look to it. After all I don't have much to do, I'm waiting the day I'll take the ferry for my next adventure. By the way, im receiving some "big waves weather notification" from japan weather center, i hope they won't cancel it. 

First I found what I thought was the garden and I have to admit that I was quite disappointed as it was looking like a normal garden square to me. After walking a bit through it I've noticed a beautiful wall and a gate! Ha! That's the garden I was looking for!

I've crossed the gate and wah... That was like stepping in a other world, in an other time! A peaceful place where you could stay forever.

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What is the most remarkable is that even surrounded by the city the garden is keeping is authenticity. From the garden watching through the window is like beiing able to see from the other side. It's a strange feeling to watch the busy city from their.

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I've stayed quite a while walking around and chilling, watching the fishes in the pond, the turtles. This garden is like a beating heart for the city but you need to find it. It's not that far from the city center but it's almost like it need to find you more than you will find it. For a long time I was by myself walking around, some gardeners working.

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I was hungry and thirsty, time to eat something, walking back to the entrance gate I've noticed a other path I didnt follow. Ok 5 minutes just to make sure I saw everything, and I didn't. There was a garden hidden in the garden with 2 big pagodes dedicated to Budha.

The 5 minutes became an hour. Time to jump back to reality, really need to eat something, i went for a burger... But a Japenese burger, not very typical Japenese food, but that was good.

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I had to change capsule style, that was a very comfy one, I really enjoyed it! Thihs one was big as a king size, just close by a curtain.

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later that night before going for diner I heard sone noise in the streets some people were singing. Let's have a look!

I honestly have no idea of what it was, if you have any hints, please let me know!

Stop doing, start being.

So where is the Ocean, where are all these fabulous beaches I saw on googles pictures ? 

The Ocean is definitely surrounding the beautiful city of Naha but after checking yesterday at the tourism center it seem that the closest beach is 40min away by bus. The tourist officer recommended me a trip to the kerama island which I'm planning to do next week! Scuba diving Ya!!!

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I've heard that a typhoon was coming in the next days. Let see how it goes!

Today, I've decided to take a day off! Haha Yeah..

I mean not visiting much, walking randomly in the city as I like to do. Behind the market I found few typicals streets with a lot of pottery shops, workshops.

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The sun was high and no one was in the street, my guess : everyone is taking a nap!!! The cats were taking a naps.

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It's been almost a week that I arrived in Okinawa. The weather is good as the people always smiling and welcoming. Chilling around when you are in holiday is the best. No stress of what you should or shouldn't visit. By trying making the most of our time we sometime miss the most important, the now. 

 Stop doing, start being...

 When I red this sentence few days ago it seems so simple and obvious. We are all busy doing things, working, acting socially, chating, walking, always trying to find something to be busy with. When I say "we" I should say "I".

Since I've start working years ago, focusing on my career, I stopped being. I got busy over the years and I missed something essential "Being". I forgot what I really like to do. I was always aiming for better, more and better. When you think about it there is alway better somewhere and we can always get more. But that's like chasing something you will never aim.

Recently I was writing about how I've discovered meditation, in a way that make me realize that I should stop doing and start being.

That's not an easy one to recenter oneself. This might be why I choosed to travel alone, to feel and to be again in the present moment.

Being by myself force me to think silently, to look around and to be more aware of my surrounding,  to notice small things in my daily life. Travelling a new country is a way for me to shake up my cue, my habits. It's a way to meet me again, a way to be.

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On my way back, I've walked by a square garden with a giant rope.

Walking around I found few workshops, that was the Naha craft center with craft shop and workshops. I could stay hours to watch them worked. A glass-blower(not sure if its the right name in English) and a craft potter... You can book some time with them and learn how to...

If you are wondering what are these small/big statues half lion/dog you can find in front of all houses In Okinawa, they are called Shi-sa.

A protection against some evils.

You can learn to make one with the craft potter. 

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Would you try one of these workshops?

 

 

The high Castle ...

Wake up early... No not yet, still feeling the jetlag but this is way better...

God thanks to my new earplugs I could rest last night! After saying hello to the cleaning team and a good shower it's time to visit! I've heard that there is a nice castle to visit, not far.

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First, I thought that I could do the 55min walk there. After 20 minutes under the sun and 10 liters of myself evaporated somewhere, I crossed the path of the monorail! Thanks god of the monorail!!! Cheap and efficient!

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Still 15min of walk to the high Castle, going up, going up! I'm calling it like that because is up a hill. You can actually see it from the monorail when you get off.

A castle is a castle beautiful piece of history, big wall!!! Nice garden. 

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Unfortunately the castle was under renovation, but I could visit inside.  As a good French who used to live in Fontainebleau, I'm used to castle stuff, yes we got one there and it's a beautiful one, fully furnished. I think it might be the most furnish in France. No kidding.

Anyway I highly recommend!

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This is the second castle I'm visiting in Japan (I've visited one in Kyoto last year) and I've noticed that they are not really what we can call furnished. Instead you walk on the path of the king and queen in beautiful rooms withs Tatamis(for who knows me, you know that I truly love tatami and futon bed), most of them open windows to a very nice garden and some bonsai, some funny old dready tree. Beautiful and peaceful.  On your way some rooms are exhibiting old kimonos and furnitures, the tea set used to celebrate new year eve. 

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While walking outside the castle a guard called me. He wanted to make sure that I won't miss the dragon fountain where the king used to drink and explain me that I could visit as well this beautiful garden, on the left other there, few staircases... 

After thanking him, I went to the left, few staircases and discover a beautiful garden with a point of view of the city. 

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Did i mention that it was damn hot!!! Yes? It was damn hot! like my hat was melting with my hair. 

Anyway, walking in this garden, alone, meeting only some (a lot indeed) dragonflys was so relaxing and peaceful.

Oh of course, I never found the dragon king fountain...haha... Classic! 

Some Archaeological excavations ☝️☝️☝️ (when someone lost his wallet in Japan this is serious stuff 😀)

Back in town center with my favorite Okinawa transportation (yes the monorail), I'm enjoying a nice moka writing this article.

 But wait I was about to forgot my "interaction of the day" : while coming back a blind man was waiting at the crossway where a car was waiting to let him pass. The 2 girls in the car point to me and to the guy apparently asking me to tell him that the way was safe! Luckily he was speaking English haha! I think I scared him with my big voice... But he crossed the road safely! The two girls wave at me with a big smile to say thank you! 

Time to speak about food.

So far I've been lucky finding random restaurants. I'm snacking at lunch time, which is breakfast for me (you know the jetlag).

Tonight That was really good! I loved it! Good peoples, good food!!! Sometimes walking randomly give you a very nice meal! ;) The place is called 'Mahobora'. I highly recommend it if you like noodles!

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Later this night, I was at the onsen while my dirty clothes were in the washing machine. There is two baths, one is a 41°c and the other one is about 15°c. I usually only go in the 41°c which is quite relaxing. But this time I tried the 15°c, oh my god!!! So cold, slowly but surely I made it and immerse me a long five minutes in it! Victory!!! 

 Did you ever tried Japenese Onsen?

Let sea ...Okinawa ...

This time I've set my alarm clock to 8am...

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And ... I woke up at 12am, hearing the cleaning team working outside my capsule. "Housekeeping, housekeeping ...."  A cleaner is singing.

It's seem that here in Okinawa everything is related to music.

Every morning there is a very organise team cleaning and changing the sheets of every cabins/capsules. We are suppose to be out by 10am to let them work peacefully... Well, I'll try again tomorrow...

The jetlag is there and it was really difficult to sleep last night. I've forgot that sometime it can be noisy, people going in and out all night despite the tiny thin curtain you can hear everything...it remembered me to buy some earplugs...   

Today, I went to see the Ocean ... That's what I thought... 

On my way to the Ocean I cross a fabulous small garden with some really nice intricate trees... Some old peoples were playing tennis, some cats were taking a break... A cat break ... 

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Then I arrived to what I thought was the Ocean, the blue part on google map I was aiming for! You know... Well that was more a highway to the Ocean... A lot of highways indeed...

But from far I could see a rock, a big rock and on this big rock, something looking like a shrine! 

When I arrived there I found a small beach, under the highway bridge, few peoples having fun swimming in the water and playing volleyball.

I finally made it to the shrine after taking few staircases. When I enter it, not much tourists.

A couple was waiting on the side. After few minutes a priest came with some encens and start to pray with them. 

He's holding a bell and sometime he's ringing it. 

And again, and again, faster and faster, like a crescendo.

He started to sing and pray and ring the bell again...

Time is suspended, I'm thinking for whom is this prayer ? A son, a daughter ? A father, a mother...

After maybe 10 minutes the bell is not ringing anymore, the priest is quiet... 

Time is back to normal. 

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A day like that, under the sun, walking around, there is always something to look at. I really enjoy looking at people daily life and taking pictures.

It's been almost a year that I'm not taking that much pictures of peoples. I did some nice polaroid experiments but my Fuji XE-2 was on the shelf lonely. 

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Today I took few shots, slowly trying to tame my 35mm and my eyes again. I really like this focale because you need to be in the action and you need to be close to your subject, to interact and take some risk in a way. Taming the wild animal. This year was a year of reading and I red some interviews about photography with Cartier-Bresson, he was saying something like :

"It is an illusion that photos are made with the camera... they are made with the eye, heart and head."

 Yes that is true, for me there is always a story I can remember behind a photography I take. This is the moment and the now. Im not saying it's always a good story. But this moment is one shot, one clic, one story.

I ended up my day walking around in the center of the town, this is alway a special time when the sun start to go to sleep, the sky is becoming pink, the road is crowded of people looking for a place to eat.

You're wondering what this man is doing on this video.... No kidding, me too! I'll find out soon by testing these yummy cookies.

On my way back to my hotel, I found this nice and friendly restaurant. I have to say indeed that they found me haha! Most of the restaurant have a Japenese menu so it's always hard to know what will be serve, but walking by this one a friendly waiter invite me to have a look to an English menu version. A beer, some chicken and this very nice rice/eggs/pork/tofu, that was a delicious diner, eating in front of the cook at the bar doing giants flames while grilling some chicken!

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 Tell me what's your favorite Japenese food?

And yes I bought some professionals earplugs! 

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Good morning Okinawa ...

Good morning Okinawa! It's 2pm.

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After a comfortable long night in my capsule and postponing ten time my alarm clock initially set to 8am, time to wake up and explore Naha Okinawa. 

Shower, put some adequate clothes and go! 

Wait ... 

It's raining!

Damned!  Hopefully everything is ready in Japan and I could buy an umbrella at the hotel lobby. A nice transparent umbrella! 

 Ok where to go? I'm right in the middle of the city. Maybe let's have a look to the Ocean. 

A step outside... Wooow that's hot and humide, it remember Hong-kong in a way... it's around 3pm and there is no one in the city, where are the people... Certainly inside enjoying the aircon, ha wait... Working maybe !

While walking under the rain in small streets, I always choose to walk the smalls streets and I always got lost...haha... So I got lost... But while walking in the street I realize that a lot of cars were behind waiting patiently walking at my pace, so I put myself to the side to let them keep going. That's might sound nothing but for me that what I like in Japan, call that as you like, I call that Japenese courtesy. No horn, no sad face... Just wait... There is so many countries where even one car would have used his horn to warn me that I was on his way. Not here! 

That make me smile. Welcome to Japan I thought.

 After few minutes chasing for a coffee place I found a Starbucks. I know, not really typic Japenese but they have coffee and I needed my daily americano !

Originally while planning my time in Okinawa, no I'm kidding, I didn't plan a thing! Haha ...

I've finally choosed to stay around and to have a long walk in the city center. I've discover a very nice cover market which remember be a lot one I visited in kyoto, but this one seem to be way bigger with more small corner and dead ends, you can find a lot of variety of food and a lot of shop for everything. I've crossed the road of an old lady who was selling some complex origamis Tupi.

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I really like the mix of colors of the building under a shiny sun on a rainy day . From every shop you cross on the main street and under the market you can here some music wich are quite different along the walk, that give you this really funny feeling.

From afar, I see a man, salary man dancing in front of a small LCD Tv, trying to mimic the dance of a Japenese Boys band. Thay look to be a quite serious business and he's doing well haha!!!

back in the Starbucks to write this articles while looking at thr windows, the main street is crowded now, it's around 6pm and the sun is on his way to go to sleep. Through few clouds i can see the end of the light day.

This is time to find a place to eat diner. Along the street waiters are waiting to show you some menu but today I've choose to go back to eat at the hotel and enjoy a nice onsen bath.  

 Good night Okinawa...

  

The day I left ...

Time to put the hat back on.

 Good bye London !!!

Good bye London !!!

After a year living in this beautiful flat in London, I'm waking up in the couch. The flat is empty, next to the fire place my 38L backpack and my scuba gear... Ready to go... 

The last few days were weird, I don't know how to explain that. I guess this is always like that when you live somewhere for a year. You want to go but you got this nostalgic feeling, maybe you don't want to stay, maybe you're only scare to go somewhere else. 

After handling the keys of my flat to the inventory clerck, last good by to Belsize park by having a nice breakfast at Gail and I jumped in the tube direction airport! I'm sitting now next to the duty free enjoying a glass of champagne to celebrate my first day of traveling :)

Not bad especially after I realize that by mistake my family name and name were inverted on my flight booking :) Finally it wasn't an issue.

After 11 hours sitting in between the airplane windows and a chatty grandma going for the first time in Korea to meet his grandson, I made it to Seoul airport. One hour after I was in a plane direction Okinawa and arrived there around 6pm, grabbed a pocket wifi(a bit expensive to hire but honestly worth it), asked for direction, jumped in the monorail while realizing that I didn't really know where I was going... finally made it to my capsule hotel, shower, something to eat ... Meditation .... Good night!  

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First night in my capsule.

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Let's grab some food.

Why I love sitting and reading in a cafe?

That might be a totally french thing but one of my favorite hobbies, passion, things I love to do is to sit in a cafe, grab a book and read.

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Anywhere I've been so far I always find a place I like to go for coffee and book reading.  I like to feel life around me, to look at people around, to smell tea, coffee. This is very relaxing, almost like you are becoming the only spectator of life and time moving around you while you stay still.

I'm usually staying an hour or so and often realize that I didn't read as much as I expected but watched life around ! 

There is always a lot of going on. That's remind me this poem from Charles Beaudelaire : 'La passante' describing a stranger he's watching passing by, I always been intrigues by the intimate connection he had with the woman he's describing, like he knew her since 20 years.

I find people fascinating when you watch closely, that's why I like to do photography, if you're lucky, the magics happen, the perfect timing, funny or intimate moments, "un regard", a look, a smile.

It's been a year now that I'm coming almost every weekend to the Hampstead Waterstone upstair cafe.  That's where I'm writing this at the moment. Being surrounded by books  and readers is very pleasant! I love the smell of the books stack up on there shelves waiting for someone to read them, annoted them, walk away with them. The mix color is a beautiful patchwork for the eyes!

Suddenly two kids are running around the tables laughing making this place their new Castle maybe.

I like to fold cranes when I'm here, it became a habit which was noticed by the waitress as I always leave the cranes where I'm folding it and often taking a pictures of it as a memory.

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And you what's your favorite place ?

Less is more ...

Over the last months and few reads, after 1 year of work in London. I've chosen to go on travel again for a long period.  Why? 

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Less is More ...

 

Minimalist traveller.

I'm 43 year old, single, working in the Visual effect industry and I'm sitting a fair amount of hours in front of the computer all day long. 

When basics questions came to you regularly as 'What should I do with my life ?', or 'Does this job is for me?' 'Should I go back to France to live there ?' 'What's next ?'. It's usually time to answers them but that's not that easy. My first thought was: I need to travel?, escape ? discover myself, I don't know. 

One day after lunch it hit me! My flat tenancy in London was ending in September, my contract jobs a month later, that seemed to be a perfect timing. So : Let's go! But where ?

Being in Japan last year during a month, I really enjoyed it and felt that I had more to discover there. I've started meditation (yes ... can you imagine a year ago..it changed my life by the way...), Origami and did a lot of read about Japan this year : Zen, Japanese arts, Japanese cultures.

So why not going back to Japan I thought!, but why not take the time to visit all. Starting by Okinawa to do some scuba diving and finishing at Hokkaido to do some skiing. (I know that sound already too expensive....but let see..). South to North.

Three months seemed to me the perfect amount of time to road trip Japan and most important to be back in France for Christmas! Yeah, let's do it :)

Ok, that's one thing to take the decision but that's an other to organize it so it become real. I'm usually a 'doing at the last time possible' person. But here how it worked for me. 

First I've started to think about my bag and my last travel back from New-Zealand, 2 suitcases, one backpack, 1 ukulele (you think you'll play some every night, well you won't haha !) and that was a pain to check-in/check-out, find a place to store it. One suitcase was full of my T-shit collection which I never wear since year... but you know : just in case ;)

Never Again! That's when I was thinking about it that I had a look on the internet, thanks to google : 'travel light' ... And I met minimalism .... I had no idea that some peoples could live with that small amount of objects, that sounded crazy to me, who don't need 100 books on his shelves and A collection of 50 T-shirts you never wear. OK, ok ... digging more into google, here I am, some guys are packing a bag with the essential ... That's what I need yeah ! OMG, 4 T-shirts (yes I know that's crazy) / 4 underwear /  1 pair of shoes / 1 Shirt /  4 pair of socks  and so on ... 

Well... that sound not much but maybe I could try! And I will.

Over the last month, I've started to unclutter my flat, my objective was to live my flat with my 38L backpack,my Scubadiving Gear and avoid to store anything somewhere. Considering the amount of objects I had in the flat, that seemed to me impossible in the first place, I just bought a piano 3 months ago, how funny! 

That's started by throwing away what I'm not using and what I cannot give to a charity or sell, basically things that you put on the side because 'I can use it later', well 10 years later it's still standing in your living room! Yes you know this old fashion computer that you were planning to repair one day...or this lovely collection of coffee maker that you will use one day ...

Then I put on the side what I wanted to give to a charity, starting by emptying my wardrobe and put all my cloths on my bed. HA my lovely collection of T-shirt. Ok lets do it! the one I give on this side (the ones I never wear or will wear) and the one I keep on the other one. that's was hard, and I have to do it few time to make my mind, but finally I've ended up with a fair amount of clothes to donate. Putted all in a bag... and boom... go to charity shop, clothes / books / DVDs ... I think that's the first time I entered a charity shop in London and in a way even if what you give is nothing, well it's something, and that gave me a nice feeling. 

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About the 4 Tshirts / 1 Shirt / 1 Pair of shoes etc.. i have to admit that I'm still not there haha ... but I'm getting there :)  I've sold most of what I had, using this money to buy flight and trains tickets. 

As my flat became less clutter, I've started to enjoy more and more the empty space. As I was having less and less objects, I felt more and more happy and had a kind of a freedom feeling, hard to describe, but yes.

So here I am, writing this first article for my blog in a beautiful cafe-library in Hampstead, heading to Okinawa in 2 weeks. I'm planning to write few articles along my trip to share my Minimalist experience, my photos and videos. 

Apologize for my English and pardon my french ;) But if you made it until the end of this article without burning your eyes ! All good!

Take care ...