**Long post ahead, so make sure you're comfortable!**
Hello, loves!

We are well into February. The month we’re all busy looking, and hopefully recognising and hence finding the love we all have and deserve in our lives. Be it love of any kind. When I was younger, I only knew of two kinds. The one that parents felt or you felt towards your parents, and the other - romantic love. I now believe that there is an entire range of love in between and all around the two! The love isn’t different at all, that feeling is the same, it is the other feelings that surround this love that define every affectionate relationship in our lives. Now you may think this makes no sense, I may be wrong, but it is all I have right now on love from the 29 years I’ve struggled with it. There have been plenty who understood, many who didn’t. Thank heavens for that!

I’ll also let you in on a little secret! This is my favourite month. This is also the month I married Karthik. This is also the month I wake up early and over coffee just smile about the gloomy, cloudy bangalore mornings where the weather is perfection! Not too hot, not too cold. Just a touch chilly. Perfect!

- Seemal
At least one time!
I understand it has been a few months since we were there, yes, but we really do need to talk about Japan. I’m not going to put down the itinerary etc, cuz you don’t need to hear about those things, but I will leave the links at the bottom of this post, the links that helped us plan our trip easily!

So day 1: It started with the flight from Bangalore. Oh alright I’m kidding. Lets jump right into the crazy bits.

Some funny exciting things happened, like my umbrella went missing from a store, but was replaced with a similar looking but different umbrella. Okay maybe that isn’t the funniest thing, oh! But how about the time we got interviewed for a local television show, where they interview foreigners flying into Tokyo about what made them come to Japan, where they plan to travel and sightsee while in japan, what they’re expecting the visit to be like, etc. Turns out that it is a pretty popular show, they had a video guy, a translator and the main host of the show who goes by the name “BananaMan”. Haha. 
There was Koyasan, celebrating its 12000th year anniversary while we were there, that was so exciting! I’ll get to Koyasan later.

I’ll start with my highlight of the trip:
Ghibli Museum, Mitaka
Ghibli was made of pure dreams. The magical scenes straight out of their movies. Im a fan, alright, but I like to think you don’t have to be a fan to truly appreciate the beauty of that place, and the creative genius behind it. I was a child at a candy store. Wanting to touch everything, buy everything, heck, even taste everything they had at their little canteen. They don’t like people taking pictures while visiting the museum, so we didn’t but I do have some pictures from around the museum that I think does its bit in reinforcing my description of the place.
Kyoto, really is that movie ‘Lost in Translation’. For first timers like us at least. I don’t know if it was the rain, but everything in Kyoto felt oh-so-romantic! Walking on the paved streets, the friendly people in every store or restaurant you enter, lesser people spoke English here, but they were all so warm! A stark contrast to Tokyo’s faster, busier character. Kyoto women will walk up to you, comment on your clothes or hair, they aren’t too shy about communicating with you. Their fluent Japanese punctuated with some english phrases like “cute” or “very nice!”. This was also how suburbs of Tokyo felt.

A little detour about Mitaka. We took a train to over there and walked around in some quiet parts of this city one evening, (I even got a haircut! With only gestures for communication! Yay. She made sure my hair looked great at the end of it.) fanciest of cars cruising past us on their streets, people chatting with each other, eating snacks on the roadside, drinking local beer. Children on bicycles whirring past you on the vast footpath. Man, we could see ourselves living here. What a dream! Their massive gardens, empty streets and sunset light to die for! Ok enough talk, here are some pictures.
Oh wait! We also went to a cat cafe there! The fancy kitties over there made sure we felt a little less blue about missing our cat Boogie back home. The cat cafe was packed! With school kids doing there homework next to a sleeping or purring cat, young couples giggling as they took pictures of each other with a perfectly groomed cat, and tourists like us — clueless about the etiquette, shy and equipped with fancy cameras. Now photos:
Mitaka, Tokyo
Look, the best explanation I can give you about Tokyo, is that it will eat you up whole. Theres the business-like no-nonsense side to Tokyo, then theres the fashionable hip side holding their ground, and then the tourists and visitors. Everybody co-existing in some kind of grand harmony. The food industry will steal your heart: no matter what cuisine you try. The Harajuku kids will floor you with their cool. The candy store girls will wow you with their skill at making complex, vast variety of candy right in front of you. The buildings, tall, modest and handsome, then come their trains! I can’t be cool around trains, I’m a total sucker. They leave me transfixed. They are everything you’d imagine them to be. Fast, beautiful, efficient and crowded. I have pictures for this all. Take a deep breath before you enter Tokyo because it will sweep you off your feet. Before you know it, you’re neck deep into the city and you’re loving it.

Here are some links that helped us plan our visit. Im going to leave them here :)
  1. Sightseeing and practical information Japan Guide and JNTO 
  2. Train timetables
  3. Lonely Planet list of non touristy things to do or any of the many blogs written by people living in Japan.
  4. Ghibli museum
  5. Cat Cafes
  6. Festival listings like: Japan Times, JNTO, Japanvisitor, and there are many more local, regional websites listing festivals in specific cities/regions.
A little collage of pictures that I looked at over and over again this week. I'll try and keep a theme of these starting with this time. Hope they'll interest you and make you smile, as they do with me.
Indian weddings are so full of colour and beauty, no? Sometimes I really want to start shooting weddings again! Let me know if any of you is getting married soon, maybe I will convince you to let me shoot it. Sorry Im posting a picture of our own wedding, about 25 years ago. Thing is, I realised earlier today that I forgot to buy Karthik an anniversary present and hoping this'll let me get off easy.
As always, know that I love hearing from you! Be it through the contact form below, emails, or even as comments on my instagram/facebook. You can tell me what you think of these topics, but really you can even tell me how your day went and if you got a new haircut that is super-gorgeous!
 Seemal Karthik

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