For the last 7 weeks, I spent my time in Chiang Mai, Thailand.
Being away from Nara at least once a year is my way to keepmyself objective, sensitive (sometimes critical) to the uniqueness and preciousness of my beloved hometown.
Chian Mai is the second largest city next to Bangkok, but it had been a capital city of Lanna Kingdom. There are so many Buddhist temples in the city, so it reminded me of Kyoto.
But, of course, cultural and nature elements are so different from Japan.
During 7 weeks of my stay, since it was dry winter season, it rained only one day. It rarely got cloudy, but sunny all day.
Still, there were so many colorful flowers and different tropical fruits to enjoy! So aboundant!
Now I am back to Japan in winter season with gray cloudy sky and many trees without leaves. Things look so monotone...
But thanks to this season, we can really appreciate the gradual approach of spring in every small details, such as the warmh in the sunshine, smell in the air, small pink and white flowers of Japanese plums, fresh new leaves and grass, and spring vegetables at supermarkets, etc. These things make us so happy, make us smile. Actually, just turning to March made such a difference. I can already sense Spring is not so far from now.
Without changes of clear four seasons, no Japanese culture!
Thanks to the four seasons, I think the Japanese naturally grew up to be more sensitive to different colors and beauties of nature. Maybe not so much in big cities these days, but that must had been the general case for our ancestors.
It is so true, but sometimes we take it for granted without fully realizing it.
I remember one good memory of my stay on campus in DC as a student. I was so facinated by many different shapes and colors of oak leaves, and was enjoying picking up my favorites among the fallen leaves. Later, I nicely decorated some of them on the table in my dormitory room. When a Thai friend visited me, she said, " Wow, I never thought colored leaves could be so beautiful. I didn't really care about fallen leaves on the ground.. Well, we don't have autumn season with colored leaves back home.".
This kind of simple story reminds me how much variety of nature we have on this planet Earth.
Next time, I would love to explore other places... !