We are not definitions of our past. However, it is undeniable that it is our past that often that lays the foundation for our present, and inadvertently carves what will later be defined as our future. 2013 was a transitional year for me- a year of heart-breaking goodbyes, welcomed reunions and unforgettable adventures.
As 2013 quietly sailed into 2014, I fondly look back at last year’s past. I sincerely hope you enjoy my photos.
January was the beginning of my last year in Namerikawa. After being embraced by a week of Tokyo’s warm winter weather, I returned home to an unusually depressing winter. As I walked towards the supermarket, thirty five minutes away, I stopped by this park, and for the first time truly appreciated its beauty.
Winter postcard, Namerikawa, Toyama.
In an attempt to escape Toyama’s bitter winter, I found a comforting refuge in Tokyo (again) for three days. This famous spider sculpture, “Maman”,designed by French artist, Louise Bourgeois, is the quintessential image of Roppongi and, “Eerily beautiful”, I thought.
“Maman” designed by French-American artist, Louise Joséphine Bourgeois. Roppongi, Tokyo.
The weather forecast the night before had promised a beautiful day and it truly was. When I think of Toyama, I fondly think of the Tateyama mountains and rice fields. This picture perfectly captures my definition of Toyama- quietly beautiful.
Mount trucking in Higashi Toyama, Toyama.
Nothing beats the pink perfection of a Japanese spring. Blue skies rain pink petals that gently float to the fragile floor. Happiness consumes you, romance perfumes the sweet air, and echoes of laughter quietly hum along. While strolling along the Matsukawa River in Toyama City, I saw this middle aged couple walking under the cherry blossom trees and thought, “This is love.”
Under the Cherry Blossom Trees, Matsukawa River, Toyama City
Touted as the world’s most expensive road toll in the world at a staggering 40,000円, the Tateyama Snow Wall is almost impossible to get to independently. An American friend organised a subsidised bus tour to visit one of Toyama’s most revered sights. After a dizzying ride up Tateyama, my equilibrium was quickly recovered when I was greeted by this breathtaking scenery.
This picture is also very special to me because it was part of the Art Society of Trinidad and Tobago’s 70th Anniversary Exhibition in November. I was humbled when I arrived at exhibition because I was quickly informed that someone had already bought my photo.
Snow Wall, Toyama.
Every time walked along the corridor at Namerikawa High School, I would momentarily stop in admiration of this masterpiece painted by my student, Misato. I actually begged her to buy it but she had promised it to her mother. I still have this photo and each new glance at it always reveals a delightful little discovery, and offers a welcomed smile.
Painted by Misato Inaba.
Unquestionably one of the most painful periods of my life, my last month in Toyama, and even more agonizing, the end of my tenure as a teacher. I cried almost each time I said goodbye; the tears seem to have left permanent stains on my cheeks. As sad I was, and still am, I am forever humbled to be called Jenson-sensei.
My third year students. Permission granted to use this photo.
Chiang Mai is easily my favourite place in Thailand. As I explored Chiang Mai’s rich culture with my best friend, Chantal, we learned about the Long Neck Karen Paduang Hill Tribe synonymous for its brass rings around the neck. I was unaware that many of people from the tribe were refugees from the politically volatile Myanmar (Burma). It reminded me that I live a very blessed life.
This is also my favourite photo of 2013.
A beautiful young girl from the Long Neck Karen Paduang Hill Tribe in Chiang Mai.
After living in Japan for five years, it was time to return home- with a stop in Singapore.
This has to be one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen in my life. It’s a futuristic garden on reclaimed land in Singapore and it is utterly captivating. I probably said “Wow” at least a hundred times. It reminded me somewhat of the movie “Avatar”, just stunning!
Gardens by the Bay, Singapore. Can you find me?
Being back in Trinidad and Tobago after residing in Japan for so many years was truthfully quite difficult. The reverse culture shock was incredibly overwhelming, I felt incongruous and disconnected from most people. The silver lining were my friends, specifically Nadia, Shauna and Chantal.
On this day, Chantal took me on a Saturday drive to Chaguaramas on the north western coast of Trinidad and promised a stellar sunset and she sure delivered.
Sunset in Chaguaramas, Trinidad and Tobago
After attending the Art Society’s anniversary exhibition, a friend took me to Mt. Hololo, on the Northern Range of Trinidad, and I blinded by the beauty of this gem.
View from Mt. Hololo, Trinidad and Tobago
Anyone who knows me knows that I adore Christmas. After decorating my cousin’s tree, I looked up, smiled and thought, “This looks perfect.” I then stepped back a bit and noticed that there was a patch of darkness. I momentarily contemplated fixing it, but that short lived idea quickly fleeted away because it still looked divine, even with it’s very obvious flaw.
My cousin’s Christmas tree.
Happy New Year, everyone! (n_n)/
Jenson recommends: Revelling in the new beginnings that 2014 brings and remembering that all dreams are possible.
Have a look at:
2012- A Photo Blog
2011- A Photo Blog