Travels, Day 18: Narita

Intention: kindness.

When sitting down to write of kindness, I feel a quiet metaphorical smile begin to spread across my insides. I feel in my body an ease, a mellowing, a warmth. What a gift true kindness is; what a gesture of support.

Kindness can shape-shift dramatically depending on the situation, the giver, the recipient. However, I would never characterize kindness as having a harsh edge, as its counterparts “honesty” or “assertiveness” — or even “respect” — can. Kindness, to me, has deep and unwavering roots in a sensation of softening. A relaxation of the muscles in the face; a loving caress that invites me to release. Reminds me there is nothing to fear. When authentic kindness is delivered to me (either by others, or by myself), I feel my spirit relax. And I feel safe, too, which is an important distinguishing factor. Joy, truthfulness, bravery, humility, many other traits I admire, don’t necessarily feel safe.

Today, I dare you to extend kindness to yourself or another. The type of kindness that allows an inhale to deepen, rather than quicken; an exhale to release, rather than hollow. The type that allows a nervous system to expand soften, rather than contract and toughen. What exactly this looks like in your life, and how you will execute, matters not to me; the feeling that’s left is what is so subtle yet significant, peaceful and profound.

Travel highlights:

  1. Upon arriving in the Tokyo airport, bleary-eyed and not-so-bushy-tailed,  managing to successfully find a hotel and set a tentative rhythm for our day.
  2. A miraculous magical materializing breakfast buffet! My mom had an urge to walk around the block, and we stumbled upon an unbelievable gem. After a long flight, desperately in need of good grounding and a full belly, this was a total bliss moment. Japanese rice porridge (with pickles, seaweed, and tiny dried fish to garnish), vegetable curry, smoked salmon, miso soup, even potato salad — wow.
  3. A walk throough the streets of Narita: such an astonishing contrast with Myanmar! The streets were busy, but all was startling clean, and people were extraordinarily polite and courteous; the vendors outside of the temple were much less gaudy and wild; the orderly monks chanting in unison; people wrapped their shoes in clean plastic bags when they took them off at the holy sites (this level of hygiene would’ve been laughable in Myanmar!).
  4. A peaceful and truly restful midday nap. Somehow, the combination of our tiny bed, a set of killer blackout curtains, and mama’s peaceful snoring allowed me to feel amazingly comforted and at ease. The room was the perfect temperature, and we had just enough sleep to stretch out and get much-needed ZZZs.
  5. Lunch: SUSHI FIT FOR THE GODS. ‘Nuf said? Nope — the toro was one of the most delicious bites I’ve ever experienced. Raw crab, whaaa?! And one of the nigiri pieces was a gigantic and sumptuous fish egg cake! Even our miso had tender and mouthwatering fish balls in it. Watching the sushi chef dance through his molding of the rice and slicing of the fish — fingers flying, right elbow arching and waving gracefully — was also mesmerizing. The artistry and beauty was impeccable.
  6. Having a kind man as a row partner on the TOK –> SEA flight; his excitement about the fact that we had the middle seat open lessened my disappointment about not having a whole row 😉


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