Hinokiko et moi – as literally means “Hinokiko and me”; is a thoughtful lifestyle blog that I write in attempt to portray the everydayness thrown to our laps. Our mundane day-to-day life that is often more dull than glittery, messy than pretty, and perhaps, unreliable. Today we are ecstatic, the next day we are disappointed. Our ephemeral joy, our temporary happiness, they evaporate in a blink. Seems like only what is painful and broken, that lasts. Yet all of them are ever real, they are the genuine particles that make up our journey. And each of them is a story to be told. A story that may touch the heart, and connect our souls. A story that makes us human, just as we are. Then, when we try to look closer, we can see they are beautiful stories, nevertheless. They are the silver lining in our efforts to make this life understandable, or better yet, meaningful.
“Hinokiko” is a persona I met in my mystical imagination. Deeply inspired by the universe of Hayao Miyazaki, I wandered inside my mind and find him. “Hinokiko”, from the Japanese word of “hinoki” (檜) and “ko” (子), means “the little Japanese cypress tree”. Hinoki, or the Japanese cypress, is a slow-growing tree that is most prized for the Japanese. They grow together with the country over hundred years, befriending with generation to generation. Its wood is used to build the most sacred and oldest shrine of Japan, and retains its strength over centuries. All because it stays still through its ordinary days, grounded firm on the belief of its meaningful existence.
In my lucid dream, I see Hinokiko bids me to come along with him. He walks beside me and shows me the view to understand that the routine is also the journey to venture. The ordinary are what make up our lives, and build us stronger, wiser, firmer. The prosaic worth to explore, live, digest and reflect upon, mindfully. We discover the stories of unexplored beauty, intentional pleasures, thoughtful goods, and genuine relationship – things that often are in our blind spot, hidden in our plain sight. Things we take for granted, many times. Things that are good, beautiful, warm. Things we thought have never been in the midst of our brokenness. Yet they are, they have always been.
This blog chronicles that journey. It compiles the stories of the beauty in the ephemeral: life itself. The beauty that doesn’t necessarily pretty, but real. I do not try to sugarcoat things, by any means. What I am trying to offer is another pair of eyes. Eyes that are willing to look beyond the façade to see what is reserved for the determined – a poetry of life. This blog is perhaps a soliloquy in essence, but also a storybook of a relentless quest for a meaningful life.
“We live in a wonderful world that is full of beauty, charm and adventure.
There is no end to the adventures we can have, if only we seek them with our eyes open.”
Ten years later I went back to school to study International Relations in a graduate program in Japan, and little did I know, between the term paper and my master thesis, I found my love for writing again. When I finally got my degree, I lost the routine I used to treasure. I wanted to write, I needed to write. So I gave birth to this blog.
Living in Japan, Tokyo to be precise, for several years has inspired and taught me in many ways I never imagined. Most of them come from the fact that I am an outsider in this peculiar country, and forever I will be. I am drawn into the Japanese Zen philosophy, which I sadly witness it fading away, and yet I am creatively provoked by the paradoxical modern life of the Japanese. Both of the polar have constantly supplying me with endless inspiration and knowledge I use to communicate through my photography and writings. In fact, they also one of the biggest sources from which this blog is created. Here you’ll find me blabbering about travel, picnic by the stream, a quiet neighborhood, craftsmanship, humble food, as well as spiritual journey, a passion for the greater good, creative ambitions, and perhaps a broken friendship. Those that genuinely make up our lives, I’m trying to paint them through my words and telling it through my photography.
When I’m not behind the camera or in the middle of tight deadline, I can usually be found surrounding myself with little humans, teaching them all I know about art in a hipster neighborhood of Jiyugaoka. But in case you can’t find me there, I can always be found through these buttons below: