The highlight and most awaited time of our trip is now behind us. These two last months in Kyoto passed by so quickly… Even quicker than when we came here last year.
Time passes really fast when you keep your mind busy with experiences. Somehow it’s not so good, because we never want anything to be over in a blink of an eye, but boy does it create a package of emotions and memories to go through!
Going back to Kyoto after a while of travelling through Tokyo, Fukuoka, Hiroshima & Osaka, was so soothing to think about – as it was it’s a place that we’re familiar with. A place that we fell in love with when we stayed here last year. It’s here that our minds expanded, that our souls really spoke to us and where the universe sent us all kinds of messages about how we were supposed to move to the next step of our lives. Where after just having started our nomadic journey, we explored the idea of what it means to feel “at home“, and what a “home” really is. We had stayed here for a while and made some special connections.
Coming back here this year was a completely different experience. A much more busy and intense one. We had the opportunity to share it with friends and family who crossed our paths, and we made more friends and more discoveries along the way. The whole of it made us experience a whole new layer to this city which we now like to call our “second home”.
Within these two months we experienced and done so many things. When I thought back about it, it didn’t make sense to me to write an overview. I think that this time I feel like every other little thing, important or random, is worth noting and remembering.
So let me start more unconventionally with a little summary of 20 of the things that happened while we were in Kyoto this time around.
On our first day here, we bought a used bicycle, a rice cooker & a low table. We sold the bike. The low table stayed at the house we lived in. And the rice cooker was so much fun to use, it’s coming home with us!
The weather during our stay was reflecting true seasonal change. We froze our asses off at a windy 7°C in March and then suffocated in our sweat in 28°C + 80% humidity in May.
No matter the weather, many picnics happened by Kyoto’s kamogawa river. Most of which consisted of yummy cold soba noodles!
We realized that this river is Kyoto’s heartbeat. All of this city’s life gathers here. It’s a meeting place for people of all ages and walks of life. School kids, teenagers, office workers, elderly folks, everybody. It’s fascinating to bike through it and to experience this deep communal ambiance.
On a hot day, we rescued a baby turtle that stranded away from this same river.
Falcons flying around there stole a sandwich off my hands twice. And it scared the hell out of me. But hey, they are such beautiful creatures.
My parents travelled to Japan and came to visit us in Kyoto. It was so cool sharing this with my own family, especially my mother who has been inspired by japanese culture for a long time.
I shared a really special experience with her – we went to a temple and participated in a zen meditation. The zen master hit us with a stick, it was good for focus. When we went out, the night had fallen and the moon was full, like magic.
David and I got drunk several times, because drinks here are really really strong. We shared this experience with my sister and then every friend who came to visit us here. It was fun but the last time that happened it was too much. We haven’t touched alcohol since about a month now, haha!
We learned that the people in Kyoto have their own insider way of saying thank you. It’s not “arigato”. It’s “okini“
Last year we spoke to a geisha at a friend’s bar. This year I was less lucky: I saw a geisha popping out for just about a fraction of a second. That fraction was all I needed to be mesmerised.
We discovered so many new spots. Many of which we included in our Kyoto guide!
We got interviewed by the japanese Tv in one of our neighborhood’s coffeeshops. That was really funny!!
We catched up with the people we met here last year, and met some new faces this time. One of them is definitely visiting us to Crete. It’s so much fun to meet friends in different environments and to be able to share that with them!
Despite being so busy with what these travels brought, we got so much work done as well. We worked on a bunch of new projects (for design clients and ourselves) and we finished editing our new online course as well. We thought we’d give that one up half-way but I’m glad we made it.
An ephemeral creative project took place as we created a limited edition series of art prints while we were here. We printed them downtown and they sold out within a week! The most fun part was wrapping & shipping them with japanese touches.
David used the opportunity of this longer stay to work on his music as well. A lot of time was spent composing & experimenting on the floor of our tiny kitchen.
I also used this time to develop my own creative projects. It was a great motivation to keep sketching, drawing and painting. Many new artworks were made during this time and I’ve been sharing some of this artistic direction in my personal instagram account.
Some days were just too emotional. Some of Kyoto’s places and experiences speak directly to the soul. This year I cried of emotion several times.
We met our new neighbours, which were the sweetest people …just the day before leaving. That was such a bummer, because we don’t even know when we will be back and if we will ever stay at that place again. Dear neighbours, if you are reading this, please know you brightened that day!
Many of these moments or others surrounding them were captured in pictures. We have such a giant collection of them, as we documented such a large part of it. As I was sorting through them, it was like living these moments all over again.
We have only shared a tiny portion of them so far. And many more will never be published simply because they were left out during the photo editing process. But the rest of them I want to share here, as a way for us to reflect on this trip visually.
So instead of writing a summary of our stay in words, like I did last time, today I will share it as a photo story. Hopefully by looking at these photographs, you’ll get a feeling of having been there with us, if not just a glimpse of what these two last months have been like.
Each picture can say a thousand words… right?