I will be writing some FAQ posts every now and then. Here is one - a question we hear from time to time. 'Is this your first time in Japan? Really? How come you didn't go to Kyoto or Tokyo?'
Well, there are many reasons. The first reason can be summarized in our trip motto: 'We will not try to do everything'. Of course there are lots land lots of wonderful things to see in Kyoto and Tokyo but they might make for another trip one day. Another reason is that we want to live with local people as often as we can and learn about the country 'from the inside out'. We do not want to be tourists in the standard sense of the word, which tends to mean 'looking in from the outside'.
The image below (from Kyoto, tsk tsk) sums up the tourist feel:
We are traveling with an eight year old ball of light, and carting her by bus from temple to temple might not be as rewarding as is playing with puppies, frogs and crickets in the Japanese countryside. Not to mention riding our bikes all around the village and finding little secret gardens, shrines and statues tucked away here and there. Going to see a country temple five minutes away with zero crowds. Learning to say 'Konnichi-wa' to all the little old ladies and gentlemen the who peek out to look at us. Or staying connected to the earth through harvesting the veggie garden, rice field and composting.
This is a year of being together as a homelearning family and we are doing things which feel right to us. Our program of Homelearning (called Self-Design) is based on honoring and observing the interests of the child and supporting them. We are leaving a lot of room for this to happen, and we hope to experience our travels through the eyes of a child.