Sunday, May 5

Japan Solo - Narita

There was a time (when I was not married and had no children), I was travelling for business to cities like Manila and Mumbai on my own. Those days, I had nothing to worry about, nobody to miss, but also not much to come back home to, you could say.

Six years have lapsed since I last travelled on my own for business, I received an assignment to go to Narita, Japan. I was really excited, but also a little apprehensive at the same time. I wasn't that same carefree person any more, I have a family and two young children now, would I still be able to enjoy a trip away from home like I used to?

I had to convince myself that it was time to take a long deserving break from my multiple roles. I am not only a mother, I am the teacher, the disciplinarian, the nurse, the hairdresser, the counsellor, the storyteller, the planner, the dictionary, some times the maid, some times the driver; everything rolled into one. Yes, I was liken a California sushi roll! A really huge California sushi roll, if you could imagine.

So off I flew to Narita, Japan and immediately found serenity in Naritasan upon arriving. I am not a religious person and wasn't expecting an epiphany in this age-old temple, but the tranquil of the surrounding calmed and relaxed me. My mind was as clear as the koi pond in the temple when I thought I should be zombie-fied, having slept only very little on-board.

It's spring and the blooming flowers and the beauty of nature captivated me. It was just so breathtaking. I totally immersed myself into this paradise and walked continuously for the next two hours!

I was a little too late for sakura, the most pretty season for cherry blossoms had past. However, I was fortunate to catch a glimpse of the beautiful flowers on Naritasan. It was quite enchanting to see carpets of pink flowers under the trees of the cherry blossoms.

Narita is famous for their Unagi (eel). I had my lunch along a quaint little street near the temple. The Unagi-don was indeed out of this world. It was the best I ever had. And the sashimi was... OMG! I could eat this everyday, until I die! So fresh that the fish actually tasted kind of sweet!

Narita is a peaceful little town. Most people probably know Narita only for its airport. It wasn't exactly a place you would come to for shopping, but this will now be changed, with the opening of the new Shisui Premium Outlet, which is 20 minutes from Narita airport by bus. There is a bus service from Narita airport to Shisui Premium Outlet, but it cost 500 yen for a single trip.

Although I couldn't read and speak any Japanese, I found my way to Shisui Premium Outlet, taking the route less travelled; I took the local train to Shisui Station and hopped on a free shuttle bus, saving myself the 500 yen! Some times, I am amazed by my own exploration spirit and my ability to navigate the complex Japan Rail network.

The days I spent in Narita were unforgettable, I met some very nice people whose hospitality warmed my heart. And I was beginning to find myself again. I am not just somebody's wife, somebody's mother, I am more than that. I put away the stress of being a parent and a spouse; I granted myself time to calibrate my life and rejuvenate my soul. It was a good chance to build strength and energy, to return home, hopefully as a better person.

More on Japan Solo to come...

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