Friday, March 1, 2013

To all my Nara friends ~ With love

Nara in Japan was a different trip.

It was a different world, a small place – with a lot to see and even more to feel. It was about people, people who taught me how to be generous and trusting of strangers. They shared their breads, laughters, joys and stories with us. They allowed us to sleep on their beds while they slept on tatami mats on the floor. They walked miles braving the harsh sun just so that we could have meals of our choice.  They did all that, that made us feel at home when the only thing we had to offer were words like ‘Thank you’ and ‘That is very kind of you’.

This is an open letter to all those awesome people of Nara, my blogger friends who saw to it that my trip pans out exactly in the way I always imagined it to be, memorable and unforgettable.

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Hello snowwhite, redrose, sarah, stardust (yoko) and cosmos,

How are all of you?

It's been almost a year since we met, but as I sat down writing one of my posts and thinking about all of you, I realized that all the lovely memories of the times we spent together have only gotten strong and more colorful today.

Snowwhite, thank you for being the eloquent guide to us... We enjoyed taking our tour with you. You patiently explained all about Japanese culture and history, about Buddhism and waited for me till I finished taking down my notes. It was fascinating to know more of the similarities in our concepts and cultures.

Redrose, whenever I remember you, your bubbly persona and energetic spirit pops up in my mind in no time.And yes, how can I forget your candy chocolates in the Todaiji temple, they were so tasty! After having them, we even bought some from Japan back home!

Together, we fed the deers and ran behind them, I remember how some of them were even pulling red rose’s bag in a bid to get something out of it. Haha.. It was fun, isn't it?

At Naramachi, though you both were yourselves tired and hungry and could have eaten at any place, still you chose not to. You left no stone unturned to find an appropriate eating place for us so that we all could eat together. Something that we highly appreciate.

Sarah and cosmos, the overwhelming memory of both of you standing with a placard of 'Welcome Arti' is very much still fresh in my mind. Those first moments had meant a lot to me, my first introduction to Nara, something I had been so anxiously waiting for. Thank you for giving me those moving moments of welcoming... they were, simply special. The placard coupled with your friendly smiles quickly drove away all the butterflies of anticipation and nervousness I had in my stomach and made me feel at home.

Yoko, sarah and cosmos, Thank you for the sumptuous and lavish spread you prepared keeping in mind our dietary preferences that evening. Though I apologize for being a bit fussy with my plate, but I relished all that I ate because it was prepared and served with a lot of love. To have it all in all your company was a thing of pleasure and deep honour for me.

Though all of you were years elder to me, but in your entire cheerful milieu, you were the ones who inspired me to be a child again, to shred my inhibitions and laugh, merrily and heartily. When I close my eyes I can still hear all our laughters, our giggles and soft conversations.. that was a truly memorable time all of us spent in each other's company, a home away from home and I thank you for that wonderful evening from the bottom of my heart.

Cosmos, It was a pleasure and a privilege to have gotten an opportunity to homestay with you. We’d like to convey our sincere thank you to you and your family for you'll were wonderfully warm hosts and we (both me and otousan) cherish the wonderful times spent in your loving company.

The only regret that I have carried back, if I can say, is not being able to make Indian chai for you. So that is something that remains due from my side to you once you come to India.

By the way, how is Koo? I can so imagine him shyly running away and hiding himself in one of those paper bags. Haha, how cute and adorable!

1 year on... the past is bearing down on me today. Under it's weight, I can see my window to the world of friends and friendship yawning awake. Behind it, a few muffled sounds of bonding laughters emerge from the mists of time. The peace and the quiet, the delight and the fun, the simple joys of life... ah! Thanks to all of you, Nara, for me, was, still is and will always remain - a world within a world.

I had gone there as a virtual friend but feel very much a part of family today. Arigatou Gozai mashita for everything :) and we sincerely hope to meet all of you one day... perhaps in India
once again.

The weather here has been getting warmer with each passing day, with day temperatures hovering around 25 degree cel., we are soon to step into the summers. Hope, Nara is doing pleasant.

A lot still remains to write, but will rest my pen until next time. Please accept warm regards from me and Otousan both.

PS: Please find attached an origami bird with this mail, my humble attempt while trying to utilize one of Yoko's origami paper, my gift :)

Take care,

Arti

My hand made origami bird, my priceless possession



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59 comments:

  1. A lovely post on gratitude and remembring old friends who hosted you in Japan!

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  2. I love your origami bird!! Thank you for sharing your wonderful visit to Japan, Arti!! Your posts and photos are the next best thing to being there myself! I hope you have a lovely weekend!!

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  3. I still remember pulling that origami's tail see its wings flap during my school days. Nice creation.

    www.rajniranjandas.blogspot.in

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  4. This reads like poetry Arti - so much loveliness in one post! The world is a good place, after all!!
    Happy weekend to you - come and see my giveaway!

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  5. Hello, Arti.

     Your work is embraced in your gentleness.
     Sharing a moment of peace.
     It is a joy for all.

     Your heart warm message in the cold.
     I always give mind of thanks to you.

    Greeting.
    Have a good weekend. From Japan, ruma❃

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  6. How sweet a letter! Lovely to know on your trips you meet and make so many friends Arti. Small pleasures of life that remains a treasure for a life time.

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  7. nice trip and your experience...

    letter is also nice...

    hand make bird is super

    thanks

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  8. A warm and delightful write up. I enjoyed reading it :)

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  9. Beautiful post, Arti!!! I can just imagine how you must be feeling now, a year later... remembering all those times... a lovely remembrance post!

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  10. A very beautiful way of saying "Thank you". A memorable visit to the land of the rising Sun.

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  11. @Arti Just read you beautiful post. Nice to saw your Origami Bird, Beautiful.
    Great to read your posts on your Japan Yatra. Thanks a lot :)

    ~Have a nice weekend to you & all of readers ~

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  12. Such a beautiful post.written from heart...Blogging is bringing people of the world closer...

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  13. So lovely to learn a little more about the people behind your trip.

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  14. What a touching thank you letter to your friends, Arti! I am so impressed. Yes, they showed you wonderful hospitality. I hope you get to see them again in the near future.

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  15. What a good way to say thank you.

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  16. Hi Arti,
    Sorry I have been off blogging for a while since I lost my father because of a sudden heart attack last month. He seemed quite all right till that day. I am sure he happily departed from this world to where my mother was waiting for him to come. Now I am all right and returning to my usual life. I'll try to catch up with your posts I have missed little by little.

    Your visit here to Nara was the highlight and a great pleasure of mine last year. I was so happy to see you in person and show you around.
    Thank you for coming, Arti, I'd really like to see you again!
    cosmos


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    1. Extremely sorry to hear about the loss cosmos, please take care of yourself.. glad to hear from you though. Please do not worry about the blog posts, you can always read them anytime later.

      It was a huge honor for me having seen and toured Nara with all of you, thank you for everything cosmos. I’d love to meet all of you again too :)

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  17. Whatever beautiful things you see it is often the people whom you meet that make travel truly memorable. A lovely tributeand thanks to your new friends Arti.

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  18. oh wow...this letter makes my heart grow kinda mushy :)

    http://www.myunfinishedlife.com/

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  19. Your Travel Letter very intresting,I Like Your Blog Very Much

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  20. This is such a heart warming post Arti. You're blessed to find such great friends and I kinda envy their names, told you earlier as well, they're so cool :)

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  21. That Origami bird is priceless indeed...your words make me happy as I hear about the goodness of strangers and your humble, always grateful heart is always an inspiration...I am sure your friends in Japan would love to have you visit them again....I would one sweet day love to talk to you in person...and to have you take a photo of me :) Happy weekend sweetest Arti :)

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  22. Hi Arti,

    Such a beautiful thank you post and I am sure that you will remember the kind and loving friends from Japan forever.
    The Origami bird is lovely.

    Happy weekend
    Carolyn

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  23. Nice friendship with them! I hope you will come to Japan in a future.

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  24. Precious memories indeed! Great way to say "thank you!". :)

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  25. Hi Arti, wonderful post. I remember seeing a book on origami for kids and bought it enthusiastically for my boys glad that they now could enjoy the wonderful art that I learnt in school. Unfortunately it did not arouse much interest and after 3-4 attempts I gave up. The book is still lying in my drawer though, waiting for a turn of interest.

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  26. I so enjoyed your posts Arti -- and love your origami treasure. :)

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  27. A marvelous letter. Your bird turned out great!

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  28. My dear friend Arti,
    It is wonderful feeling of friendship!!!
    And very kind of you, today's dedication!
    Yoko is my friend and wonderful woman!
    Be strong and always traveling!
    A hug and lots of kisses

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  29. I must say that you successfully made that origami bird. Sometimes I struggle with recreating the things that I learned in school :-)

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  30. That's wonderful and amazing in their hospitality, and you showed your appreciation beautifully too!

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  31. A well-written warm and lovely letter of appreciation.

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  32. what a very memorable and beautiful tribute for your friends Arti. Time spent with our friends are always priceless, and to think they started your e-friends first. we all are blessed to have found this kind of friendship evolving.

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  33. Hi, Sweet Arti,
    Thank you for your letters for us. It is hardly believe that one year has passed since we met. How quickly the time has flown by!
    Now I can confess that I was so surprised when I first saw you quietly sitting on the rear seat of Cosmos’s car with a smile on your face in Nara Park. You were much younger than I had imagined, so I was a little bit worried whether I could find any common topic of our conversation. However all my worries were immediately gone. I really enjoyed talking with you and your father in Nara Park!

    Yes, it was fun!The deer was lovely. I have to tell you that actually the deer know that I have always candy chocolates in my back pack! You did not know that didn't you? Haha..!

    Thank you again for introducing many things about our town Nara. I love to get to know your country" India" through your posts too. I hope we can see you again some day.
    Tomoko

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    1. True that, redrose. I never knew that though I could see the camaraderie you and snowwhite shared with the innocent creatures. All those times in all your love and affections were really very enjoyable for me, we enjoyed the conversations too and yes, time has indeed flown by.. and all of it seems like a dream today. Dreams that are filled with wonderful memories... memories that are here to stay for long.

      I hope we can see you all, again someday too. Thank you very much for all your sweet comments, redrose :)

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  34. Hi Arti,
    I'm glad that you wrote we are generous and trusting of strangers. As you are lovely and earnest person we wanted to do so.
    I could spend pleasant time with you and your father. I knew the difference of the culture between India and Japan in person. Thank you!
    There are many people or foreigners in Kyoto station so I was worried if we could meet you. After almost of passenger from the bullet train passed the ticket gate, you and your father found the placard" Welcome Arti" and came to us with smiling sweetly.
    I also am happy that the placard helped you.

    Thank you for wonderful memories and coming Nara instead of NewYork.
    I'd like to see you again.
    Sarah

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    1. Thank you so much sarah for all your kind words. It was a pleasure to have shared the same table with you, your soft voice still echoes in my ears. I loved the idea of the placard, wish I had remembered to carry it back home but it just slipped out of my mind. Your memory of lovely smiles and hushed voice is something that I will always have with me. It makes me very happy to see all of you here. Thank you so much. :-)

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  35. Thank you for this heartfelt letter. I was surprised to know you were much younger than I had imagined, but later I thought I should’ve known it from the tone of your posts which must have overflown from the powerful and pure heart. You folded a piece of paper into such an elegant paper crane, well done, Arti. And, I have to say it’s me who has to say thank you for coming all the way simply trusting your blog friends. Please give my best regards to your courteous, humorous and handsome father.

    Yoko

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    1. I am so glad you liked the bird, I was waiting to hear it from you :) I had a lot of fun making the bird and I'll be trying a lot of other things too.

      You were exactly as I imagined you to be - wise, witty and young at heart. When we were having dinner that day, I was in complete awe of sitting amongst all of you. All the royal treatment, all the attention.. it today feels like I have been fortunate enough to have lived a dream of a lifetime. Thank you very much, Yoko. Thank you for your generous compliment, I will definitely convey it to my father, we both remember all the times we all spent together often and very very fondly. :-)

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  36. Hi Buddy you've been nominated by me for Liebster Award, please check it @ http://just4suzan.blogspot.com/2013/03/liebster-award-youre-blogging-pretty.html and play your part! Cheers :)

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  37. What a great post! It is wonderful to meet so many friends so far away with everyone sharing the same enjoyable memories.

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  38. Incredible!!

    - http://clicksbyeyeblinks.blogspot.com

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  39. As someone who has spent two years in Kobe and thus visited Nara innumerable times .. you have just made me relive all the magic !

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  40. that origami is fabulous .. i always wanted to learn the art of origami but it just didn't happen .. you are very good at it Arti!

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  41. A lovely reminder of how friendship can develop easily, and friends stand by and support each other without any thoughts of getting something back. Have always found the same be it in school, college, all the multiple places work has taken me. Without friends, life would be difficult indeed.

    The origami bird is really cute.

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  42. That was a very sweet note of thanking all your friends, Arti. Surprised that the trip was an year back and yet you wrote it as if you just had a vacation.

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  43. Truly heartwarming… reading down your memory lane and attachment with your Japanese friends. Hope your relationship with them last forever :)

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  44. Wow , You have been a great Indian ambassador to Japan .

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  45. What a beautiful letter Arti, not only a gift for those you send it to, but a gift for us to enjoy as well.

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  46. How sweet!
    btw, love that origami paper and the bird too. :)

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  47. wonderful letter
    was a great virtual journey for us.
    If you want using your Japan photographs
    i will make a you tube video
    let me know

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    1. Thank you so much sm, that is very kind of you. I'll surely let you know.

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  48. There's nothing like friendly locals to show you the sights and to help you understand the local culture. Thank you for sharing this lovely post. I am absolutely sold on Nara and your friends.

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  49. In the end, Arti, it's the people we meet on our travels who make our experiences memorable and special. You've made lifelong friends for sure. This is a beautiful way to remember them.

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  50. wonderful gesture and an excellent way of complimenting for their support and love!

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  51. Arti,
    Thanks a lot for writing such a heartwarming letter to us. I had happy surprises many times to find that India and Japan have many things - culture, religion, customs and more in common. Especially, we were talking about A and Un of "Nio" guardians in South Great Gate of Todai-ji Temple. Do you remember? "Eye Opening Ceremony of Great Buddha" was held in 752 and Indian priest played an important role in it. I imagine Japanese people had met the priest from India just like we met in present Nara. 
    It is very true we don't know what will happen to us. Without blogs, we had never met each other.

    I am sorry that I was late to write a reply to you. Since March 1st, for two weeks, the most important and famous ceremony has been held in Todai-ji Temple. Whenever I have time, I visit the temple to see the ceremony. And I have scarcely time to write a blog or visit blogs.

    Arti, have a great week.

    keiko from Nara

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  52. Appreciation and gratitude will always go a long way and will always be remembered whatever the situation. Nice one Arti.. :)

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  53. So heartfelt. This is very touching.

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