Yesterday I had a day mostly to myself. I started off with "big sized" coffee, egg and toast at the usual place then went to the Kobe Nunobiki Herb Garden. That involved climbing lots and lots of steps just to get to the boarding point for the cable car that would take me to the top of the mountain. And as I climbed in to one of the cars, all by myself, I had a moment of panic ... "What the heck am I doing. Me ... who suffers from random bouts of vertigo ... getting in a little capsule alone ... what if ...?" However, I was already in the car and with a bounce I was up in the air. Now if I had realized just how far I was going and how long I would be up in the air, I may have made other plans for the morning ... but ... too late!
l focused on looking out, not down, and watched as the nearby buildings got smaller and the panorama that is Kobe opened up. The only time I really got nervous was looking down at a gorge and waterfall and seeing the metal network in place under the cable car line. Was that to catch falling cable cars? Look out, not down, Jean!
The car came to a station, but it was only the midway point. I couldn't get out. Besides the herb garden was at the top of the hill. Soon I was there. And the buildings made me think I had arrived somewhere in Germany. The restaurant, shop, etc were built too look like a German village. The lookout over the city was beautiful ... had my picture taken by one of the three ladies whose group photo I had taken. After a brief stop at the gift shop (mandatory isn't it?) I started the walk down the hill through the herb garden.
It was wonderfully landscaped and all the plantings were marked. There were different groupings ... herbs, vegetables, flowers, an reflecting garden with an English garden twist. A multicolored circle of poppies. A hill side striped in different colors. And it was a long walk even half way down the hill where I boarded the little red capsule to float back to the bottom of the hill.
So what has any of this got to do with shoes ... or does it? Well, there is something about wandering around Japan on my own that sets my mind free to wander as well. Not just to wander but to be receptive to insight. And for some reason, I've been thinking about shoes. Probably because I have been walking miles every day. I have a closet full of shoes at home. Shoes, boots, sandals ... in different colors ... with different heel heights. Some so high there's no way my vertiginous old body can wear them anymore ... at least not to walk around in.
I have three pairs of shoes with me in Japan. My black, heavy duty walking shoes. My Ecco sandals. And a pair of nice looking, but comfortable, black flats. And there is something so freeing about having so little choice about what to put on my feet. It's no wonder every time I come home from Japan I clean house. Being here makes me realize how little I actually need.
More on this to come, I'm sure, but it's time to put on my walking shoes and head out for my "big size" coffee and then the train back to Tokyo.