Wide Eyed Wonder
⟣ current location: japan ⟢
As I’m on the train to Kyoto at this moment, I encountered a beautiful old lady who was sitting directly across the row with her husband. The following few minutes made my heart feel so full & here I am, taking out my laptop to write these to you – for keepsakes.
Today started out as an ordinary day of travelling. Lugging heavy luggages up the stairs, getting lost along the railways of Tokyo and indulging in absolutely delicious takeaway onigiris. I hopped on the Shinkansen ( with Joal) that would take us straight to Kyoto within 160 minutes.
Across us sat an elderly couple of 70 odd years, perhaps? Just like all locals do, they packed lunch aboard for the long train ride ahead. The husband with a beer in hand and the wife, a cup of vanilla bean ice-cream for dessert. I looked at them and thought to myself, ‘ that’s Joal & I when we grow old, hopefully’.
As the elderly lady whipped out her book and nestled comfortable into her seat, she jumped up & excitedly pointed to us. ‘Mount Fuji, Mount Fuji!’ she beamed excitedly as she proceeded to point out the window. She gestured for me to come over to her side of the cabin to look out of the window. There stood Mount Fuji, ever so majestic in all it’s snowcapped glory. What she didn’t know was how much this sight meant to me as we weren’t able to catch a glimpse of it the day before when we took a day trip to Hakone (1.5 hours away from Tokyo) only to be greeted with intense cloud cover and rain.
Back to the story – Before I could get a good shot of Mount Fuji, the train pulled into a tunnel and all I had left was a picture of it in my head (however proficient my photographic memory may be). Looking back at the elderly lady, who was still by the way, beaming from ear to ear – She told me in japanese what seemed to be a statement of assurance that there would be a glimpse of the mountain again from my side of the cabin later on.
Fast forward 10-15 minutes later, she bolted from her seat to the one behind me. Staring out of the window in wide eyed wonder, mesmerised by the sights of this country she calls home. I felt this warm and fuzzy feeling swelling up in me – wishing that I too would be so genuinely excited about the beautiful little moments in life just like her. She then started pointing out the window, telling me and other travellers around her to take a look out the window. Truth be told, Mount Fuji was covered by the clouds and too far in the distance but smiles and nods back at this elderly lady were an unanimous response from those around her.
Shrugging off the experience and grinning as she walked back to her seat, I find myself taking out my laptop to document this moment just so I wouldn’t forget it & let it slip away. This elderly lady taking on the world with wide eyed wonder. As I am writing this, she falls asleep on her husband’s shoulder after reading a few pages from the book she’s holding in her hand.
There’s just something about people watching that could unknowingly inspire you. Inspire you to write, to photograph, to do better or be better. To appreciate the simplest things in life, to find beauty and happiness in the most mundane spaces. To appreciate and never be blinded to all the beauty in the world all the days of your life. I can only wish to take on the world with such wide eyed wonder till I’m old and grey.