• Shrine of the Times!

    Tokyo, Japan…Today Japan awed and inspired me at the Meiji Shrine (明治神宮 Meiji Jingū), located in Shibuya. This is the Shinto shrine that is dedicated to the deified spirits of Emperor Meiji and his wife, Empress Shōken.

    A peaceful oasis in the heart of modern Tokyo, Meiji Shrine is sheltered by a 700,000 square-meter forest of 120,000 evergreen trees, donated from all parts of Japan when the shrine was established.

    The shrine grounds are entered through two of Japan’s largest torii (shrine gates), made of beautiful cypress wood more than 1,700 years old.

    The shrine was rebuilt in the 1950’s after being destroyed in World War II…this is the most visited shrine in Tokyo.

    In part of the compound, you can write a wish and place at the altar and shake a cylinder of thin sticks till one pops out revealing a wisdom or poem relating to your life! Mine was great!

    This was an amazing yet solemn place that just evokes a true sense of Japan’s long history and proud people! The design is a hallmark of Japanese beauty!









  • A Cultural Ceremony!

    Tokyo, Japan…a short walk from the hotel in Shinjuku and a world away we found the Meiji Shrine.

    Tucked away in a wooded and peaceful park, this sight is the spot for traditional Shinto weddings!

    As we walked around, one wedding procession after another made their way through the grounds…a dull drum beat and the slow walk of the bridal party was shaded by traditional red Japanese umbrellas!

    Each bride was resplendent in different kimonos and unique by wearing different styles of tsunokakushi (head piece).

    Absolutely beautiful, this ancient tradition and ceremony was so cool to witness!






  • A Bali High!

    Ubud, Bali, Indonesia…the rooster crowed to the sun rise in Ubud as I woke up in Bali! I was so excited to be in Ubud, Bali’s cultural capital, that I took a 6 am bike ride around the hillsides of Ubud…

    The morning light, the green rice fields, the morning offerings, and villagers starting their day were all on full display!

    It feels special here…what a beautiful morning!





  • Gotta Love the French!

    Paris, France…it’s a cold and rainy Friday night in the city! But I love Parisians resilience to it all…they still look chic and fill outdoor cafes with their love of life; albeit with outdoor heaters warming them as they enjoy glass after glass of wine and delicious fare! They really do know how to live and seem to truly enjoy themselves to the fullest.

    I would be painting an untrue picture if I didn’t mention that Parisians are a difficult bunch! They have zero tolerance for visitors that do not perfectly speak French and really do not go out of their way to be friendly.

    I have been yelled at more times than I can count these last few days! I had a store clerk scold me for touching the merchandise, I had a metro attendant scowl at me for asking a question, I had a waiter loose patience and walk away, and have had more stares of utter disgust than I care to remember! But that’s the uncanny charm of the whole experience…once you chill, let it roll off, and call them on their behavior it all becomes a series of funny French moments! Don’t get mad, don’t raise your voice, and don’t fight! It’s like a cat and mouse game that shouldn’t spoil a moment of your time in one of the most beautiful cities I know!

    The French and their personalities are like the memorable stars of a magical movie set to the most breathtaking cinematography! It’s all the magic that makes up the City of Light!