Saturday, December 22, 2007


For quiet sometime I was thinking of writing something on "Life in Japan" but I wasn't inspired enough, until this trip.

I wrote a part of this while I was in the Bullet train, :) :) (Its called the Shingasen.) We took Shingasen from Tokyo to Nishi-Akaski (Kawasaki Headquarters), that's north of Tokyo and then we went to Hamamatsu (Suzuki and Yamaha Headquarters). The best part of Shingasen is that you don't feel a thing no noise, no vibrations nothing. They serve liquor in the train :) You can never estimate the actual speed unless they display on the board. Surprisingly there were no seat belts, Wonder why? And when the train really catches up speed you sometimes feel the strange sense in the ear (similar to the one that you feel when a plane is landing) or may be I was the only one who got that feeling!! Singasen moves at around 300kmph and in the past 44 year history of Shingasen there have been no accidents. We covered over 700 km in less than 3.5 hrs. Simply amazing!! In India it would've been a day's journey. Again, they must have seat belts at such high speeds. Usually when 2 Shingasen pass each other there is a jerk, which is not good (I am not criticizing, just that if you are sleeping you get up because of the jerk.) Well I think even the best of engineers can't get rid of it. After all, no mater what, you still have to work within a definite time frame and a limited budget. Even in Japan. I think this jerk is because of the sudden low pressure area that is created between the 2 trains (passing each other at such high velocities.) that it throws them apart. The train has a wing kinda structure on its roof above a few coaches. I guess it has something to do with aerodynamics.

Okay! enough of Shingasen...

I saw Mt. Fuji. as well. Japanese called it Fuji San (they respect it). It erupted 300 years ago so categorically it's not a dead volcano. It's just sleeping'. How to identify Mt. Fuji? Well! you just have to look for a mountain with snow on top. Wonder if they come up with some adventure sport where you can ski on Mt. Fuji.

Nishi-Akashi is also called Kawasaki city, because a lot of credit goes to Kawasaki for bringing the city in the world map. next stop was Nagoya where we switched trains to reach Hamamatsu. Nagoya is the Toyota city, same reasons of course.

My pit stop for the evening was hotel Heitetsu in Hamamatsu, its called the Suzuki city, need I say why? The hotel room was amazing, its wasn't the typical Tokyo hotel room, which are like rat holes. It was huge and I was told by Suganuma San (a Japanese associate) that they were trying to book a single seat room for me, but the rooms were full, my good chance. After almost 10 days I really got to spread myself. But the best part was not the room, it was the food.

We went to a traditional Japanese restaurant, where you get to sit on mats right in front of the chef. We started off with raw fish :) Tofu. It's an extremely poisonous fish and people die if it's poison is not removed properly and you have to get a license to serve Tofu. Raw Tofu was extremely delicious. I wouldn't have imagined eating raw fish 10 days back in India and there I was eating and relishing the moment. What followed was an amazing round of food that I had never experienced. Next on the menu were baked crabs, followed by fried oysters, boiled Tofu, beer, boiled sea shells, fish eggs, Japanese wine Sake (pronounce as Sakey). Sake is served in a unique way. They'll serve Sake in a beaker placed inside a wooden container. They keep on filling the beaker until it overflows and fill the wooden container too. Sake has a sweet taste and it's very mild. Its made from rice. I am pretty good with chop-sticks now but the language has a far way to go.

The restaurant bill.. 60,000 yen. Wow!! that's 20,000 Rs. You say 20K for a dinner for 5. I'd say impressive.

I came back to my hotel room after an amazing day and glanced outside the window. The view was really beautiful. Looks like the city is all set to celebrate Christmas and welcome the new year. There were lights all over the city sidewalks. Dead Sakura trees have been given life by glowing bulbs. There are huge Christmas trees in market plazas. I could see couples cuddling up as they walked on the streets. The air has a festive feeling... reminds me of a popular Christmas song Silver Bells...

City sidewalks, busy sidewalks.
Dressed in holiday style
In the air there's a feeling of Christmas
Children laughing,
People passing,
Meeting smile after smile
And on every street corner you'll hear

Silver bells, [Silver bells] Silver bells, [silver bells]
It's Christmas time in the city
Ring-a-ling [ring-a-ling],
Hear them ring [hear them ring]
Soon it will be Christmas day.

I went to bed thanking God for a wonderful blessed day he gave me. :')

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Love Actually

So even the most crowded place in the world cannot make you feel as if you’ve got company if you feel lonely at heart. I got up this morning did my usual chores and left for work. The metro was over crowded as always and specially form the station where I change trains, Morichita, it gets worse.

Anyway this post is not about life in Tokyo, may be sometime later. It’s about “love”, I’ve been thinking about it lately and I’ve been wondering if this thing called love is just another feeling that fades with time or is it more? I remember sometime back saying this to a friend:

“zindagi kisi ke liye nahi rukti, bas jeene ki vajah badalti rehti hai.”

But I wonder in the truth of the statement in respect to love, if love is one of those feelings that fade with time then I don’t think love should be given the attention it gets. Everyone of my age has been in love at least once, however brief it might’ve been and then most of us fall out of it. I wonder if it was love in the first place at all or does love too has an expiry date. I guess most relationships that expire is not because love has ceased to exist it because love was not there in the first place at all, may be it was a mere impulse, but then does it mean that we close our doors thinking that its an impulse or do we take the plunge and to find out how deep those feelings are.

Anyone who has been in relationship will confirm that the first few weeks are the most memorable ones, when you can’t stop talking to one another, when you can’t stop thinking about each other. There is so much to know, there is so much to tell. But then here is the question; can you in these first few weeks tell whether this is meant to be or no? I’d say yes, at a certain level everybody knows right in those first few weeks that a relationship is meant to be or not. However most of us just ignore that feeling and move on to the next level and eventually hit a point where you don’t know what next. Because the next level is all about expectations, it’s about commitment, where you become answerable to someone, where you have to share your space.

However, I believe that being in love is about companionship, when someone just walks into your life, breaks all barriers, emotional and physical and fills the voids and not occupies your space.

Being in relationship is an experience in itself and being in love with a person is not a feeling, we often make that mistake. There are reasons to have feelings. Like pain is a feeling. I get hurt I feel pain. And that’s exactly what we do when we are in love. We look for reasons to fall in love with a certain person not realizing that that person is that reason itself. We feel that being in love is a means to achieve a certain end and not an end in itself.

And then things fall apart because we were looking for reasons to fall in love and what we eventually bang into are reasons why we shouldn’t love that person. Things that never mattered in the first place at all. We start loosing our patience, we start getting angry, we start keeping records. And eventually love fails. The truth is there is no perfect match; I’ve heard people say this a million times, but I’ve hardly seen anyone actually believing in it. That includes me. So the consequences are as expected a break-up or in a more somber way “Lets Just be Friends”.

However, having said all that I still believe that being in a relationship is an experience in itself. Having someone in your life changes a lot. You’ll do things that otherwise you wouldn’t even consider doing. And if we are lucky enough to grow old with the person we love, I mean a lifetime of experiences of high’s and lows, I’d say it was a life well lived. Because in the end it is what you have experienced that matters not what you have achieved.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Life's Seasons

There are times when life's seasons change without an alarm.

One moment you were with friends and family and in just few hours you are in a strange land. You had your future planned, you thought you were all set, life was spring back home, wonderful, with fragrance of love, with freshness of morning dew on the green grass.

I don't know when the autumn came and went by, I guess I was too much in love with the spring that I thought it would never end. I closed my eyes and began to believe that this would never end.

And suddenly life has changed. I've opened my eyes to a cold-freezing winter. Everything around me that once was so lively, seems dead. What happened to that fresh green grass I was standing on? Where are those beautiful flowers that had filled the air with fragrance?

I'll have to find these answers very soon, I may be able to get my life back before it dies forever.