Experiencing Slow Life

Continuing on my journey in Asia, I headed to the Japanese Alps after exploring the effervescent Tokyo. I spent one month in Okubo, a small village which was a sharp contrast to the city life I am used to.

I wanted to push myself out of my comfort zone. That was really the case when I reached the Japanese Alps, and it was far beyond what I thought it could be.

Of course, the environment was different, but the change that affected me the most was actually the change in pace.

There was nothing speedy about life in the Japanese Alps. Well, maybe in my circumstances. I had no car, and the only way to reach the closest city was by foot or through the bus with the last one leaving at 8am in the morning.

Such circumstances quickly forced me into a slow life. I eventually experienced time in a totally different way. Since less things can be done during the day, you have more time for introspection.

In some ways, it called to mind the way my grandmother used to live in her younger years. I recall her telling me how she was going by foot to the closest city from our village. I felt connected to these memories instantly.

In the first few days, it felt frustrating that I was not able to move as usual. But then I stopped worrying and eventually adjusted to the nature and climate.

My immersion in the natural environment made me realise that as urban dwellers, we have lost true connection with nature. We no longer live according to its rhythm, the so- called human progress preventing us from depending too much on it. But I was staying in a place far from the speed and the provisions of urban settings. I had no other option but to adapt to the pace of the nature surrounding me.

To be honest, I was so confused that it took me some time to realise what kind of life I lived there. I needed distance to process it.

Slow life was interesting as a short-time experimentation. But I do not see myself thriving at such a pace in the long run. As an artist, I like and need to be stimulated, and the place was not stimulating enough for me.

I eventually took the early bus a few times. I explored the mountainous region and discovered forest bathing. All these places were quite inspiring as these reminded me of the sceneries depicted in Ukiyo-e, a Japanese woodcarving art I like very much.

I will share with you my vision of the Japanese Alps soon through a new photo series I am working on.

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