Why So Cold?

The Moment we landed, and got off the aircraft, walking towards the passport control. We knew we had arrived and waiting for Russia & Russians to welcome us. 
At the passport control, the representative kept scanning the passport and kept looking at me, without my glasses, with my glasses and what seemed to bother him the most, I believe was my Red Yankees cap. It had been fifteen minutes both my parents were now cleared, It was only me from the family that was waiting to be cleared and I guess because it was my first visa on my new passport and that too a Russian, that bothered him way too much,I guess that he couldn’t find anything more suspicious besides my “Red Yankees” that he finally set me free. And that was my “Warm welcome to Russia” 
Moscow is the capital of Russia and is named after the river  Moscow and pronounced Moskva.
The city famous landmark includes the Redsquare -The name Red Square has nothing to do with communism but derives from the word “Krasnyi”, which meant “beautiful”.
St.Basil Cathedral that was made by Ivan the terrible one of the landmark that is recognized as Moscow. The story goes Ivan the Terrible blinded the architecture after he constructed the st. Basil Cathedral. Another interesting fact about the cathedral. It was painted white to match the colour of Kremlin, the word ‘kremlin’ is used to describe a castle or an important Russian fortified complex. But, in 1700 the colours were added. And since 1990 St.Basil Cathedral has been part of Unesco Heritage Site. Moscow’s sightseeing is all around the red square, making it accessible to walk around all the sights. 
The other beauty of this city and country lies deep down underground. “The Underground Metro station” is a sight in itself with the detailing in design to the colours and style of each metro station being different right from the ancient design to the modern design the metro stations are all worth visiting. 
The Escalator lye minimum 150ft deep to 300ft.
The St. Petersburg Admiralteyskaya metro is   2nd deepest in the world.
Russia as a country was even more challenging than Japan, As here they just couldn’t understand English one bit. 
It’s a fact there are around 11 million more women than men.
We used the local “Gett” App Uber for Russia and the drivers too couldn’t understand anything, we had to always stay stationed around hotels like Four season & St.Regis to have our drivers meet us. Else we would have been fleeced and literally being taken for a ride. Traffic in Moscow is so bad that wealthy Russians hire fake ambulances to beat the jams.
St.Petersburg after being in Moscow for the last five days, we travelled to st. Petersburg- Was once named Petrograd  ‘Peters’ city but in 1991 it was renamed to its original German name “Sankt-Peterburg” in English it’s pronounced “Saint Petersburg”, It’s also the  Cultural capital of Russia with a lot of Museum’s. 
 The hermitage museum is one of the world’s largest art museum. Where even if you spend a minute admiring each art piece, you will take eleven years to see the complete collection. 
50 cats are employed in the State Hermitage. To protect the items from rats and mice.
Saint Petersburg will remind you a lot “like Venice” “Budapest” a little like  “Prague” “Germany”  and “ Amsterdam” With the bridges and the water all around The Neva river and Fontanka River. The Kazan Cathedral is best viewed from Dom Knigi “House of Books” Singer Cafe. 
The Midnight cruise from one am to two forty am is the best way to see the city by night, you can see the drawing bridges not one but a couple of them. And enjoy the sunrise at three am.
Interesting Trivia about Russia:
  • It has more time zones (11) than any other country, but only nine are used now.
  • The first railway of Russia appeared in Petersburg
  • Christ the Saviour Construction of the temple lasted for almost 44 years: it was founded in 1839, and consecrated – in 1883. It’s a unique cathedral with a height of 103,5 meters, The temple is visible from any point of the city, its bell ringing was resounded far beyond Moscow. 
  • The Hotel Astoria in St.Petersburg is where Hitler planned to hold a huge celebratory banquet once he’d conquered the city
  • Writer Alexei Tolstoi gave the cellar its name as he and others looked for a cultural refuge in the city, saying “Why are we running around like stray dogs?” And the name stuck.“The idea of the cafe was to establish a place where young creative people, maybe not always well-known, could get together, talk to each other and become inspired to create something.”

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Lonesome!

I often go to coffee shops and sit by myself on a table. But,Whenever I have visited and just sat at a coffee shop,the waiters and service people keep asking me if anyone is coming or for that matter the other people out there wondering if anyone would be coming before they could grab the chairs for their friends or business meets.Go into any Starbucks, and you’ll probably see two kinds of tables: round tables and rectangular tables. There’s a reason for the round tables. According to Reader’s Digest, the round tables are supposed to make you feel more at home when you’re by yourself.Then why do the service people question,When you are by yourself at coffee shops or for that matter restaurants.Why can’t I go to restaurant and occupy a table and have a meal by myself. I mean,Where in The rule book is it written,That you need company to enjoy a meal? I completely understand it’s considered logically that meals are eaten together,But haven’t you heard or experienced teenagers eating meals by themselves when watching television or streaming online websites ?Is it to difficult to accept and welcome people who are loners.Is this a reason why a huge number of people around are preferring to order food online and be socially isolated rather than going out and enjoying a meal at the restaurant or cafe and experience a meal with all their sense being involved ? The Visual appeal,The fragrance,The taste and the feel of the meal with the freshness sizzling around. I completely understand occasionally this would not make sense commercially,But you don’t have to be rude to the one’s who would be having meals by themselves.

In the miso soup !

The author Ryu Murakami is another author from Japan and is no way related to Haruki Murakami who has had many well known books written to his name, and have also been adapted to movies.

Ryu Murakami has written quite a few books “Audition” and “Piercing” are two of his other popular books apart from “in the miso soup” written by Ryu Murakami. 

The other two books too like the”In the miso soup” are centred around the dark backdrop of Japan, disillusion, drug use and Murder 

The book  titled “In the Miso soup “ is a apt title  for  two reasons – One because the character compares his life with the miso soup and phara phrase  the quote “I’m in the miso soup myself- Just like those bits of vegetable. I’m floating around in this giant bowl of it, and that’s good enough for me. 

And the other  the book is titled “In the miso soup” because the character’s  purpose to visit Japan was to find out what the people who eat the miso soup on daily basis might be like.Again to Quote from the book. As he once ordered it in an  America  restaurant and was intrigued  about it. He decided  travel to Japan. 

The moment I read the title of the book and turned over to read the blurb mentioned below,I was interested in reading this book. . 

It’s just before New Year, Frank an overweight American tourist, has hired kenji to take him on a guided tour of Tokyo’s nightlife.

But, Franks behaviour is so odd that Kenji begins to entertain a horrible suspicion : His client may in fact have murderous desires. 

Although, Kenji is far from innocent himself, he unwillingly descends with frank into an inferno of evil, from which only his sixteen year old girlfriend, Jun, can possibly save him.

Yeah, It’s a coincidence that this is my second book in a row from a Japanese author. But,The Japanese authors have such interesting storylines ,written in a captivating way that you become so engrossed in the storytelling, you only want more and more of it.

The book is written in three chapters. 

Chapter 1 – Describes and establishes what the story is about – The beginning of how the characters meet. 

Chapter 2 – The relationship between the two and why Kenji becomes suspicious  about his client. 

Chapter 3 – Is the reason behind why  one  should read the book. 

The Book highlights the American and Japanese culture,What makes each different and similarities amongst the two. The ideology between the two nations amongst the locals and the identities each of the nation has created for itself. 

Since the book was written long back ago, You might agree/disagree about some of the points discussed. 

In the miso soup” Is a crisp, well written physiological thriller set in the dark backdrop of Japan,that you will only put  the book down once you read it.

Horse Betting!!

Always seemed curious to know exactly how does betting in horse races actually happen. No,Not that I had no idea at all.
Of course I knew a little or to confess actually nothing,You really can’t believe and trust what the movies show is actually that happens,They of course take the creative liberty, that’s why It’s known as a creative field.
So when I did get an invite for an event at the race course,As this was also the last race of the season.I not only made sure,I was in town.But, had my parents and their friends to come down for this particular event. For which I accidentally got invited and grabbed it with both my hands literally! Had a total number of nine people from my side.
We after absorbing the atmosphere out there, finally paid attention to one of the actual reasons why we made it a point to attend the evening. The races, So as the rush to go and bet on the horses was really high, without having any clue. We all chose are numbers,Keeping in mind the most popular Horse number, Numerology (The lucky numbers) and going with the instinct Of which horse might win and placed our bets on a couple of numbers. And out of the five number we had placed the bet on we were lucky the ”7” was one of them that won. This was just the beginning of the circle, well.If I have won this let me try out my luck once again (No,We did not want to consciously keep in mind that this would be our beginner’s luck .) So we go again and this time we learn something. What numbers would you like to place for the “WIN” and what numbers would you like to keep on Place”. We were now literally glued to know more and kept wondering what “Place” would be. No,We did not want to ask anybody We did not want to embarrass ourselves. So came up with a theory it might be an alternative number, that we would like to “Place” a bet on. So, not happy with the validation our last resort,”Google” will know it for sure and it happens “Place” Is the Horse number that you believe is going to either be finishing in the first Postion or the second position.While I got to know “Place” besides the “Win” options. I thought i knew the basic for the next season. I learnt a few more things.
There is something known as “Show” too in horse betting.
Well,Hold your horses! I am coming to that point, What exactly is “Show” now. Well! you will have to excuse me because here I will have to tell you and wouldn’t able to show it to you. Unlike the show business Where you show and don’t tell. “Show” is your horse has to either finish first,Second or Third.

There are a few other terms too, which I am going to share out here right now! For you to brag when you too would be going to experience the races.

Exactia – Who would the first two finisher’s (Pick them)
Trifecta – Who would be the first three finishers (Pick them)
Superfecta – Who would be the first four Finishers
Hi- 5 – Any guess what would this be? The first five finishers obviously.

Ikigai – The Japanese way of life !

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Japan has been a very fascinating place and after visiting the country last year, I  just couldn’t get over the simplicity of the people.
Even with the writers and teaching, Japanese writers have written some of the most thrilling books and some of the simplest concepts, becoming the way of life. Think about all the concepts Wabi-Sabi appreciating the beauty of imperfection as an opportunity to grow. or a simple word  “Kaizen” meaning continuous improvement, and becoming the concept of one of the leading automobile company from Japan.  Or a simple practice of tidying up that distress you.The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondo.
Recently  I Just read the Ikigai and thoroughly enjoyed the book and the concept. “Ikigai” a single word that is a combination of two words “Iki” Meaning life and “Kai” the realization of hope. Making it in simple words ‘A sense of Purpose in life.” 
Japan is a country filled with Mysteries, surprises, and awe. That  when you get  to know about Ogimi village in Japan  in Okinawa district is  known as the village of longevity with  the highest number of Centurions in the world ((People who live a hundred years and above )Ogimi is not just a place in Japan, But,they also have a way of living that the had become the subject of the book “Ikigai” The Japanese Secret to a long and Happy life. Written by Hector Garcia & Francesc Miralles. 
 
The Diet of Okinawa the locals follow to lead a healthy life and a long life. 
 
1. Locals eat a wide variety of foods.
2. They eat at least five serving of fruits & vegetables every day ( Rainbow)
30% calories from vegetables.
3. Grains are the foundation of their diet 
4. Rarely eat sugar (Cane sugar is the substitute)
7 gms of Salt a day, Compared to 12 gms.
 
15 Antioxidants part of Japanese diet,We must include in our diet. 
 
1.Tofu
2.Miso
3.Tuna
4.Carrots 
5.Goya(Bitter lemon )
6.Kombu(Sea Kelp)
7.Cabbage 
8.Nori(Seaweed)
9.Onion
10.Soy sprouts
11.Soybeans ( Boiled or raw ) 
12.Sweet Potatoes 
13.Pepper
14.Sanpin-Cha(Jasmine Tea)
15.Hechima (Cucumber like gourd)
16. Shikuwasa – Is a type of an orange also known as a Taiwan Tangerine mainly found in Taiwan & Okiwana in Japan. It is beneficial as it has a compound Synephrine that enhances lipid metabolism and increases the metabolic rate.
 
It’s also the way they think that makes them lead a  long life. 
Their secret to longevity is. 
 
  1. Don’t worry 
  2. Cultivate good habits 
  3. Nurture friendship everyday 
  4.  Live an unhurried life.
  5. Optimistic
 
 
 
Rules of Ikigai one must follow. 
 
1. Stay active don’t retire
2. Take it slow 
3. Don’t fill your stomach (80% rule )
4.Surround yourself with good friends 
5. Get in shape for your next Birthday.
6.Smile 
7.Reconnect with nature 
8. Give thanks
9. Live in the moment 
10. Follow your Ikigai 
 
 
These are some of the concepts and learning from the International bestseller Ikigai that I thought would be worth sharing.
 
Before I could conclude the blog.  
 
 
Sun Simiao essayist of the sixth century believed in the six healing sounds for remaining calm
 
 
Xu, pronounced like “shh” with a deep sigh which is associated with liver 
He pronounced like “her” with a yawn, which is associated with heart
Si pronounced like “sir” with a slow exhale, which is associated with lungs. 
Chui, pronounced like “chwee” with a forceful exhale, which is associated with the kidneys
Hoo pronounced like” who”, which is associated with the spleen 
Xi pronounced like “she,” which connects the whole body.
 
And now the Poem. 
 
In Spring breathe xu for clear eyes and 
so wood can aid your liver.
In summer, reach for he, so that heart and fire can be at peace.
In Fall, breathe si to stabilize and gather metal, keeping the lungs moist.
For the kidneys, next, breathe chai and see your inner water calm.
The Triple heaters need your xi to expel all heat and troubles.
In all four seasons, take deep breaths so your spleen can process food.
And, of course, avoid exhaling noisily; don’t even let your own ears hear you.