Searching for Harmony: Tokyo and Kyoto

Hello! This is the second part of our Japanese photo diary, which is a constant work in progress. This time I’d like to focus on something that really impressed us: the Japanese sense of harmony. The search for harmony deeply permeates Japanese aesthetics and culture. From the perfect 90 dollars peaches on the shelves of fruit-boutiques to the stunning shinto temples in the woods to the never late and amazingly organized bullet trains, the western tourist is constantly surprised at how much Japanese society strives for perfection – and how well it manages to achieve it. You feel like you are living in the future, sometimes. Of course there are many critics of this tendency. The Italian travel writer Tiziano Terzani – among others – noted that this desire to achieve harmony and perfection can be sometimes “dehumanizing”. As far as we were concerned we enjoyed every single aspect of our vacation, and in 12 days it is really hard to get to know a society and its flaws….

Here you are some more snapshots of our vacation – taken mostly in Tokyo and Kyoto. I hope you enjoy them – and there’s more to come in the next days.

Andreas is purifying himself with water before entering the Meiji-Jingo shrine in Harajuku.

Above and below: Kyoto.

This is a zen garden. It does make you want to relax, despite the 38 celsius degrees.

On the shinkansen bullet train

And people in the metro really do not rush!

Amazing stamps, why did I only buy one? By the way, this is just a little part of the selection in a store at Kyoto station.

Inside an art installation at the Hermes foundation in Tokyo.

Without fan you’re dead in Japan in July!

The hi-tech toilets we found everywhere, from our hotel to the public toilet at the station, were also an expression of harmony!

Toilets came with a remote sometimes, this one was in our room’s bathroom:

Remember: do not do a bidet when the remote is running out of battery….Lastly, this was our hotel room in Kyoto at the Best Western. Small, but it had everything you need, from slippers and pajamas to green tea and cute china cups. Sorry Ando! Not the best photo of you but it was the only pic of the hotel room…

That’s it for now. I have to take this photo-reportage mission in little bites, or else it would take forever :-) Next you’ll see the rest of our trip + some crazy food.

The Italian book I quoted is In Asia, by Tiziano Terzani. See you soon!

PS: the layout and dashboard of WordPress is getting more and more on my nerves, posting a photo essay is turning into an ordeal every time. If any of you has any suggestions about other blogging platforms please let me know!

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