Radiant Family recently took a quick 12 day trip to Japan.
This trip originated in part from our distinct love of travel, and in part from a unique opportunity for Jason to enhance his skills in Reiki Healing by way of instruction from a veteran Japanese Reiki Master, Hiroshi Doi Sensei.
It was a wonderful whirlwind of a trip. I still have yet to unpack and really get settled, but I wanted to write a little about our trip before the to-do list catches up with me and I never get around to it.
So, I have chosen to share a few things in photos, and few words. Keeping in mind my fatigue, the following writing may come out in silly statements, so bear with me.
# 1: Traveling with baby-toddlers is the worst; traveling with baby-toddlers in the best!
Here is a saucy Mr. Pelden wearing his robe in our Ryokan room in the village of Kurama.
Travel with a spicy toddler is distinctly different than travel as a lone adult or couple.
Mr. Baby isn't up for skipping meals, can't just shut out the world and nap on demand, and needs more from us than we would provide ourselves when globetrotting.
Meal-planning, diaper-changing, fitting a stroller on a crowded train. Taking the baby means early nights and early mornings, no romantic dining experiences, more planning and less improvisation. It can be an exhausting juggle of managing a baby's needs and emotions when constantly on the go.
But travel with a baby also means moving slowly when a tree is really very pretty and rocks can be balanced perfectly on a branch. Travel with a baby means unrestrained joy at the sight of a train rushing by. Travel with a baby means filling the subway car with choo-choo sounds and illiciting the glowing smiles of strangers.
Travel with a baby is much like life with a baby in general: uninhibited joy at the smallest marvels of life reminds us that everything can be new and wonderful if our perspective allows it.
# 2: Beauty is everywhere.
Everywhere we would turn, there was another lovely image to frame with our eyes.
Beauty is everywhere, it is just so much easier to take note of in a foreign environment. This is part of the glorious nature of travel: getting out of your accustomed surroundings helps you to see the small lovelies normally taken for granted. Travel is not necessary for this to happen, it simply makes it easier.
# 3: The unplanned route should be a required part of any travel
Here is a lovely single-lane road winding up into the woods that the baby and I went exploring. Whether it was an unexpected wandering walk while the Little Mister napped in his stroller, or taking the wrong exit out of the train station leading us through a neighborhood we didn't plan to explore, the unplanned parts of our travel were often the most treasured. Both when traveling as well as in everyday life, it is important to take time to wander, to take time to explore without a plan, to let surprise enhance your experience of the unexpected.
# 4: Food is communication; eat with respect and reverence.
Japan goes to great lengths to communicate beauty, value, and respect through cuisine. Portions are small (a good lesson to take home, America!), and often artfully laid out. This is conducive to mindful eating. If you only have two bites of one dish, you had better savor it. If you appreciate how lovely it is, perhaps you will slow down and notice every color, contour, and texture as you enjoy each bite.
Our food should demand respect and reverence; it keeps us alive and thriving (or at least it should do so). The fine art of cuisine was a great lesson to bring home with us, and we hope to incorporate this into our cooking and meals at home.
# 5: Nothing says comfort like a warm toilet seat.
Toileting is a phenomenon in Japan.
This is one example. Good luck figuring it all out before you need to flush.
The one universally wonderful aspect of potty time in Japan is the heated seat. Man, oh, man, it was a tough moment returning to L.A. and sitting on that first cold American toilet seat. Warm seats, you will be missed.
# 6: Serenity is sometimes found where you would least expect it.
I am a distinctly introverted person with oddly sensitive hearing. My favorite places generally don't involve crowds of people.
While in Japan, we visited many quiet spots, some isolated spots in nature, yet the most profoundly serene and spiritual place we visited was filled with hundreds and hundreds of tourists and located right in the center of huge Kyoto.
This is the Fushimi Inari Shrine, sometimes called the Temple of 5000 gates due to the more-than 5000 red gates spread throughout the winding paths and many memorials in the shrine complex.
We were both surprised to find this place, packed with people, to be the most memorably serene and rejuvenating of all the places we visited in Japan. Sometimes there is something more potent than the effects of the crowds that gives an honored site the significance it deserves.
# 7: Traveling with a baby makes everything cute.
So...I really had no good reason to throw this one in.
But he was very cute. And held up to the travel very well.
Okay, okay, enough about the baby.
# 8: A trip with intention to honor the location you visit enhances your ability to receive something meaningful from your journey.
Jason has been a practitioner of Reiki Healing for some time now. Our trip to Japan was initially meant to be a pilgrimage of sorts to some of the significant sites in the development of the Reiki Healing tradition. As the trip planning developed, Jason was offered the honor to learn from and be attuned by Hiroshi Doi Sensei in the Gendai Ho school of Reiki. This opportunity has allowed Jason to become the first Master level Gendai Reiki practitioner on the west coast of the U.S.
Obviously, this is a great honor. Therefore, our trip was carried out in a sense of honor and reverence for this ancient healing method that has helped countless people heal over the years.
Taking a journey, a pilgrimage, or even a vacation with a deep sense of respect for the traditions of the location you are visiting lends travel a special dynamic. When you go into a situation appreciating the positive in advance of your experience, you are primed to find more and more things to honor and appreciate. Going into any new environment with an appreciation of the benefits that culture or environment has shared with the world allows you to leave with more than just photos and souvenirs.
In our case, we have come home with a deeper respect for the power of traditional healing methods and a renewed appreciation for the potential for us to help people heal through our work.
If you would like to learn more about Doi Sensei, here is a link to an interview published in a 2014 edition of Reiki News Magazine.
If you would like to learn more about Reiki as a healing method and how it may be a benefit to you, please get in touch with us at Radiant Family.
Our thanks to everyone who has supported our journey and enjoyed following our adventures as they unfold.
Stay tuned for more travel later this year!