Last summer, I left the UK to work and travel around Asia, freelance.



The place that left the biggest impression on me?

Japan – it’s layered. Full of contradictions, finding its way. It knows it needs to be reborn. Rebranded. But it’s conflicted with one foot in the past, another in the present and a future that it can’t yet fathom. It’s complex – deeply rooted in a history that is woven into the fabric of everyday life.

We started in Kyoto. Their underground system is ordered, vast, and intricate. The air hit us first. It’s bright and clean. It sparkles. 

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Fresh and warm for October with a slight bite, Kyoto is known as the traditional Japan. Young geisha girls on the street who take such pride in their cultural traditions mingle with anime girls, and at night, the mob doing its rounds of the silent pockets of the city, collecting their protection money.

The nature in Kyoto sparkles too and we both kept smelling this peachy flowery smell. We don’t know where it came from, which flower or shrub, but we only smelt it once after that, in Tokyo. And never in any other country so far.

The bamboo forest strained our necks upwards, engulfing us. Then we climbed high into the clouds, thirsty and shaky from the effort, averaging 25-28k steps a day, sampling strange food, sushi that literally melts in your mouth, and the most charming, funny, kind people you could wish to meet, communicating – often with no shared language other than gestures.

I thought I left my heart in Kyoto. Then I had my breath taken away in Tokyo but after my son left for the UK and I went to Kobe… I realised I saved the best to last.

I will visit there again this year.

If you’re interested in learning how to become a more authentic, compassionate, and
inspirational leader, contact me.

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