As a child surprises happened twice a year — my birthday and at Christmas. Surprises wrapped in paper with my name on a card. Surprises that were bought with me in mind. Wonderful surprises given to me by people I love.
As I grew up I learned to go hunting for surprises. Under my dad’s jumpers in his wardrobe was a favourite place for them to be hidden. Or in the boot of the car. Or inside something that itself was hidden within another box. My parents were clever but I was reading spy novels so I knew all the tricks. I got this hunting habit from my mum - she’d still search out her presents given half the chance - but my kids don’t seem to have inherited it. [1. These days Christmas presents are safe from my prying eyes but I'm afraid I do still go hunting for chocolate bars...]
When I moved to Japan I realised there was another sort of surprise. The sort that sits there with no single person in mind but instead is waiting to be discovered by anyone and everyone. The sort that makes you go ‘Ahh’ as you realise its significance or beauty. And soon I came to the view that possibly one of the best things in life is to receive a surprise every day. Something that refreshes you, your outlook and your attitude to everything around you.
It’s only a short step to conclude that the other great thing is to share a surprise. Yes, giving is wonderful but sharing is perhaps even better.
One of the surprises I discovered back in the UK was Birling Gap, a National Trust-owned stretch of England’s south coast, less than fifty kilometres east of Brighton. Rita Vita Finzi - a fellow JiBBRite - visited the UK recently and I took her to see this beautiful piece of Britain.
On a separate note, Slightly darkened streets of Tokyo is a super stop motion video I came across last week that shows the impact of the power cuts on Tokyo by comparing scenes over a three month period. It’s set to a wonderful piece of music by mindthings called Sounds From The Past.