Friday, 8 May 2015

Random acts of kindness...

Well, obviously I  had heard the term before and how people said those actually make you feel good when performed... but I could not pinpoint exactly what it meant, I mean I never really googled it (as you do)... And then, I did it... I performed a random act of kindness and I got it, what's all about!

A couple of month ago, the winter being still strong and me shivering as, well, almost half of every year, I was on my way to my Pilates session, two tram stops away from my house. Wrapped in my dawn coat and scarf, my ankles stupidly unprotected by the cold evening wind due to silly shortish leggings, I get in the tram and I take a seat. Then, a gentleman in (perhaps) his late fifties comes in, limping and supporting himself by a crutch, tries to reach the seat in front of me but kinda stumbles and I instinctively get up to help him gain back his balance and sit down. 

He thanks me, that much I totally understood, and then starts talking to me, most probably about what happened to his injured led... Now, my Dutch is not excellent, I am capable of holding a conversation, say, at a shop or at the dry cleaner's, but for the life of me I have no idea what that man was saying to me for the 5 minutes that our common tram ride lasted! Could be his accent, could be my brain having shut down after a long day at work, I don't know... point is, I did not understand a word he said!

Instead, I sat there, smiling and nodding every now and then, hopping that he would not realise my ignorance and that... he would continue talking! Because he really looked like he needed to talk! And I, with no need whatsoever to hear that which I could not understand anyway, I listened. 

When I wished him a nice evening and to get well soon (that much I could do) and got out of the tram, I felt like a million bucks! Truly! I mean, in reality, I had done nothing, I just listened to a stranger vent off about his troubles for a while, but it felt so good! So meaningful! A random act of kindness! And it was better than shoes! 

Wednesday, 29 April 2015

Feet...

...hurt! That is if you abuse them the way I have been abusing mine for the last four days! While I take a break in my first night in Tokyo, and after having already visited Osaka, Kobe and Kyoto, I thought it was a good moment to praise feet! No, don't laugh, feet are better than shoes!!

I must have walked roughly around  a million kilometres (ok, more like 60 but you get my drift...) in the last four days, underground, above ground, in the city, up the hills, down the hills, in airports and train stations and, boy, do I feel it! I was here in Japan 8 years ago and it pains me to admit that these 8 years have taken their toll on me... Yes, I do Pilates twice a week now and I have lost weight but I have gotten old... No, seriously... I have gotten old! And so have my feet... I put my sneakers on in the morning and when I take them off at the end of the day, I swear I can hear my feet saying "really?!...you want us to take you to the bathroom now?!... on top of the day we had?! Ungreatfull b*tch!" And, word of honour, once I take the shoes off, there's no way I can but them back on, not if I had to run for my life... Well, technically I would not be able to run anywhere at those moments (ok, hours)... or walk anywhere, to be frank...

So no, I'm not ungrateful, I'm writing this (and I wish my feet could read it) to honour my loyal feet that have taken me everywhere I wanted to go for the last forty something years and thank them from the bottom of my heart for always being there for me! Even when they really don't want to. Even when I do have to go to the bathroom at the end of a full day of tourism in Kyoto... I promise to treat them to a fancy pedicure as soon as I'm back home and to try to give them a rest every now and then... like right now... And I do want to repeat, and firmly put it on record, that feet are better than shoes! So, dear people, take care of your feet, love them, rest them and... treat them to nice pairs of shoes, of course ;)

Monday, 27 April 2015

Kobe beef in... Kobe :)

Ok, I do realise that it is not the easiest thing in the world to go to Japan... Unless you are reading this from there, in which case... Hurray!!

I am writing this in Kyoto, I arrived to Japan only yesterday, landed in Osaka and went straight to Kobe to do, what else, savour the best beef in the world! Do they actually massage the cows to get the fat to the right places (I have massages to get rid of the fat from some places myself...) and do they really give them beer to drink??!! I don't know... But, forgive me dear vegetarian readers and maybe just stop reading right here, for the life of me, I have not tasted anything like it ever before!

The restaurant was small, just a tepanyaki and a counter that could seat maybe 8 people, the chef calm, gentle-mannered as you would expect, respectful to us but mostly to his simple, beautiful ingredients which he laid with sharp, elegant moves on the hot surface and right there in front of us transformed them into a divinely tasting meal! I will not forget the first bite, nor the ones that followed, I almost did not even need my teeth, that meat was sooooo tender, so flavoursome, literally melting in my mouth... Sheer pleasure! And indeed Pandora's box is open for me now, I will not be able to taste any other beef steak ever without comparing it with that in Kobe!

I would never condone animal cruelty but I do eat meat and I think all animals who's life is sacrificed to feed us should be respected. Well, I do certainly respect the cow who died and gave me that excellent meal, I hope she had a wonderful life and that she was massaged and that she enjoyed the occasional beer, cold and refreshing on a hot summer day, and I thank her for my memorable experience! Experience which was for sure better that shoes and worth every pair not-bought to be able to afford this trip!! 

Ps. My amazing trip and culinary (and not only...) experiences continue, will keep you posted ;) and I do apologise for the long silence, I just had nothing good to write about lately... I'm working on changing that!