The fall of the year: nature’s one last ho-rah, a burst of color before the long sleep of winter. New school books, friend reuniting after long summer vacations, sweaters, pumpkins and sweet sticky candy. Cool crisp air that tickles your nose, fresh and clean yet ripe with anticipation for a season of twinkling lights and brightly colored packages that lays in wait just around the corner. Orange and red; the beautiful sunset before the end of another year. Autumn.
In case you haven’t guessed Autumn is my favorite time of the year so it didn’t surprise me when a particular picture caught my attention yesterday. As part of photo 101 theme “the natural world” Tilly posted a beautiful photo that for me captures the essence of the season and is the inspiration for this post! You can check out the photo here and be sure to check out the rest of her wonderful blog; Tilly’s Townhouse.
There were lots of great fall photos, my own included but there was just something about the way the leaves color the sky that left me breathless – those reds, oranges and yellows always get me. I had to know where this beautiful place existed. The answer surprised me: Akasaka Park, Narita, Japan.
Wait a minute, Japan?
Embarrassingly when I thought of japan, nature wasn’t first image that comes to mind. What I knew about Japan could be summed up pretty quickly; very tall buildings, samurai swords, kimonos, Hiroshima and… Mulan? (Mulan is Chinese Lacey, get your head out of your…)
Suddenly it became overwhelming apparent how little I knew about Japan and that got me thinking; outside of my little north america bubble what did I really know about other countries and their cultures? I wrote a paper about Italy in the 8th grade but the only thing I can remember now is that it’s shape like a boot, home to the leaning tower of Pisa and the Vatican. Germany? Oktoberfest, Volkswagen and ….the holocaust? Oh. My. God.
Panic was starting to set in now, when did I become so culturally illiterate? I know more about Hogwarts then Hungary…more about Narnia then New Zealand. Okay Lacey, breathe. This is nothing a little internet search and some time can’t fix right? Right – to Goggle!
This morning while the baby was napping I started a quest to find out more about Japan and even in that short amount of time I’ve learned some pretty amazing things. I don’t know if I’ll ever have to opportunity to travel there but that doesn’t mean I can’t soak in as much of the culture as I can right now and out of this realization a challenge was born. I’ve decided to challenge myself to learn more about other cultures over the next twelve months – starting with Japan. You can expect my first post this time next month!
I’m super excited! I know there are lots of travel blogs out there, written by people who have actually traveled to and experienced the wonderful places I’ll be talking about but my hope is that I can inspire others to start their own learning challenge – about anything! Science, history, your own family heritage – the world is literally at your fingertips! My challenge to you is to take full advance.
Special thanks to Tilly who with just one beautiful photo reignited a passion to learn and inspired a girl who hasn’t traveled fathered west then Toronto to seek out a world beyond her front door.