Spring, Tenkawa Mountain, Nara, Japan
photo via damali
No way, it’s too beautiful! Oh Japan, one of God’s many beautiful wonders.
We watched ‘Memoirs of a Geisha’ again, I’ve lost count, maybe my 6th time. We watch it before we take guests to Kyoto, it’s a tradition and gives insight into the old Japan that is still visible there.
I’m stirred to tears by the story that is told and still amazed that a man wrote it. So much insight into a woman’s heart and longings. There are many beautiful, painful and insightful scenes and lines but one section has been coming back to me since my last viewing. (Minor SPOILER Alert.)
"I am not worthless! I am not worthless!"
The deep cry of every woman who has been abandoned, overlooked, used, mistreated and/or abused. Isn’t this all of us? The women who tell me their stories have all experienced some tarnishing of their beauty. Some more horrifically than others but no one seems exempt.
And then this morning I read this excerpt from a book on Masculinity and Femininity, I want to rest in God’s delight and draw others to be consumed by His beauty. It takes courage to rest, to give up the striving to please and instead freely live a life of love. Be courageous.
Capturing the Cherry Blossom Season in Japan
In Japan, sakura (桜), or cherry blossoms, stand as the symbolic flower of spring and start appearing all over the country as the seasons change. During this season, rows of cherry trees with their pastel-pink crowns transform the country and shower the streets in falling petals. People go out to gardens, streets and parks for hanami (花見), or flower viewing, to appreciate the beauty of the cherry blossoms and the mild weather after the long, cold winter. Often, hanami involves picnicking in the best sakura locations and enjoying food and drinks with friends under cherry trees. The blooming of sakura begins from the south around late March and spreads northward through the beginning of May.
Want to see more photos and videos from some of the most famous sakura locations in Japan? Explore the location pages below:
Cherry Blossoms, Kyoto, Japan
photo via vidya
Can’t seem to be in Kyoto on the right day to capture this stunning beauty, but I can imagine it after seeing the beginning of Sakura Season.
Cherry Blossoms, Tokyo, Japan
photo via linda
It’s time to start searching for these beauties :)
Capturing the Beauty of Wagasas with @atsuko12
For more photos and videos from Atsuko, follow @atsuko12 on Instagram.
"My first encounter with wagasas (Japanese umbrellas) was when I started working at a shop that sells them,” says Kyoto Instagrammer Atsuko (@atsuko12). “When I first held it in my hand, I was immediately drawn to the beauty of the traditional craftsmanship that shines through them.” For Atsuko, this was not only the beginning of a job, but the start of a mission to spread her passion for the umbrellas with their hand-carved handles and oil-paper tops.
Through her work, Atsuko came to discover the decline in the overall traditional craftwork industry and felt alarmed by it. “Currently, the number of artisans who produce the wagasas are decreasing, and they are aging with very few successors. There are only four stores left in Japan that specializes in selling them, of which three are in Kyoto. As much as we want to preserve these traditional crafts, it is becoming increasingly difficult to do so.”
Atsuko decided to start a series on Instagram to express the elegance of wagasas and send this message to the world. “I want people in and outside of Japan to understand the beauty of the traditional umbrellas and familiarize them in people’s lives. That’s why in the photos of wagasas I share on Instagram, I like to intentionally go outside of the classic Japanese settings and arrange them in artistic or everyday scenes.”
Atsuko takes the wagasas to the historical and modernized districts of Kyoto, where she captures them in the seasonal landscape of the city or blending in with the surrounding architecture. “Most of the portraits with the red umbrellas are self portraits, but I also have friends and other Instagrammers who shoot me and model for me,” she says. The figures with the wagasas are often dressed in western clothing, fusing modern and traditional cultures. “When I shoot the wagasas, I always keep in mind to tell at least one interesting thing about it in each of the photos I take.”
Henri Nouwen, Show Me the Way, p. 14 (via recycledsoul)
"…winter and spring struggle with each other for dominance.."