Wabi-sabi is a beauty of things imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete.
It is a beauty of things modest and humble.
It is a beauty of thing unconventional.
While sitting beneath the cherry blossoms at a typical Hanami (“flower viewing”) party in Japan it’s easy to forget that behind the alcohol-fueled revelry you’re actually taking place in a very particular form of appreciation centred on the acceptance of transience and imperfection. Nothing lasts, nothing is finished, and nothing is perfect.
Aesthetic ideals are central to Japan’s cultural identity and the Japanese language has all sorts of fancy words for describing our feelings towards how we perceive the world but underlying them all is the notion of wabi-sabi (侘寂). Read more
As a child I spent many happy summer holidays at my grandparents house in Southend-On-Sea, a seaside resort town on the north side of the Thames estuary. I remember being told stories of how my great grandfather had been a baker and that, although under different ownership, the family bakery still existed in the area. Read more
During my time in Asia I’ve seen more than my fair share of Buddhist, Taoist, and Shinto temples but never have I encountered one quite as unique as Sazaedo (さざえ堂) that I found on my final day in Aizuwakamatsu. Read more
On our second day in Aizuwakamatsu we decided to head south to the former postal town of Ouchijuku (大内宿) that lies along the Aizu-Nishi Kaido trade route, which connected Aizu with Nikko during the Edo Period. Read more
Back in February I spent Chinese New Year in Shanghai and, having eaten more than my fair share, decided that brisk walk was in order. Heading to The Bund we took a leisurely stroll along North Suzhou Road. Read more
Sankei-en (三溪園) is a traditional Japanese garden in Yokohama (1 hour from Tokyo) which was built by a silk trader called Sankei Hara in 1906. It contains many historically significant buildings bought by Hara himself from locations all over Japan, among them Tokyo, Kyoto, and Kamakura. Read more
After spending the morning at Koh Ker we jumped back in the car and hit the road bound for Siem Reap. About 40 km east of Angkor Wat we stopped at Beng Mealea (ប្រាសាទបឹងមាលា), another ruined temple that’s about as Indiana Jones-esque as you can imagine. Read more
On day two of our trip into northern Cambodia we set off early from the hotel. Owned by the family of a military commander it was situated in the middle of nowhere but, despite looking brand new, nobody else seemed to be staying there. Read more
By far the best thing we did during our trip to Cambodia was to hire a driver for two days to visit some of the remote temples in the northwest of the country. The circular route we took was as follows:
Siem Reap → Preah Vihear (overnight stay) → Koh Ker → Beng Mealea → Siem Reap
Our driver, a friendly guy named Sophea, picked us up from our guest house early in the morning and we drove around 5 hours north over dusty roads to the border between Cambodia and Thailand. Read more
Travelling is rarely as glamorous as it’s made out to be and after a nasty encounter with an aggressive Tuk Tuk driver, upon our arrival into Siem Reap, my impression of the city was immediately soured. Read more