Lochs, Bothies and Blue Skies.

I was in the Cairngorms earlier today; a big national park in the highlands of Scotland. It was a beautiful and I’d love to share some pictures with you.

If you are unfamiliar with Scotland I’ll reveal the mystery of what a Bothy is!

This is the view of the Cairngorms from Aviemore; taken from the main road at the bottom of the village:

On the road up to Cairngorm you pass Loch Morlich; there are often ducks at play; a lot of them were slipping and sliding on the ice today.

The start of our short walk; the sunlight on the trees was beautiful today:

 

We arrived at a small loch, a few people were around and there was a little fun to be had in breaking off chunks of ice and sliding them across the loch; it makes a beautiful sound. My friend Angus featured below.

 

Just a little bit further along the walk we’ve got a bothy.

Scotland has quite a few bothies especially around the more remote areas. They are typically ruined cottages or similar buildings that have basic restoration to provide shelter for hill walkers and mountaineers. They are often maintained by charities.

We are talking super basic. A roof, a fireplace and a concrete floor. No water, heating, toilet etc.

That view tho:

I’ve got great memories of Bothies. I used to do quite a bit of hill walking with my dad when I was young and while we’d carry tents if we came across a bothy we’d sleep inside. A chance to hang up wet socks and boots and get a roaring fire going.

Back in the day you’d often meet some interesting characters; fellow walkers, in a stay over in a bothy.

I’ve been travelling a lot last few years. I love travel and foreign countries and I’ve seen some beautiful landscapes.

But…

Gosh, Scotland is stunningly beautiful. And I wish I could describe how fresh and clean the air feels. Even compared to moderately clean air towns the air up in the highlands is so fresh. You feel high!

So I guess like many Scots, my heart really is in Scotland.

 

Hakka No Togame

 

My blog name may sound strange in English. The reason is it comes from Japanese. It has a special significance to me which involves an ex girlfriend, travel across the world and around one hundred and thirty hours of TV.

The Japanese Kanji for hakka no togame is 白霞罸.

The first two characters together represent the name Hakka (romaji) / はっか (hiragana). When two consonents  are written together in romaji to pronounce it pause slightly before the consonent and pronounce it sharply and clearly. Kind of like Ha-Ka rather than Haka.

Names in Japanese have underlying meaning, in the case of Hakka 白霞  – the meaning is 白 – white and 霞 -haze.

The third character 罸 means punishment, penalty, censure.

Therefore hakka no togame / 白霞罸 can be translated to something like ‘white haze punishment’.

Why on earth would I call my blog white haze punishment? We have to go back around ten years to answer that.

I moved to London when I was around 28. After moving to London I had what I would call my first real grown up relationship (girlfriend).

My girlfriend was called Corrine and was from Singapore.

We used to love going to cafe japan in north london to eat delicious Japanese food.

When we were relaxing at her apartment one night she put on an anime movie. The movie was one of the ‘Bleach’ films.

Bleach is a super popular long running anime which is now finished.

Read More »

Friends or Not

london-1854

is it only me that
friends leave like seasonal leaves,
falling out of reach.


At university I loved the TV show ‘Friends’. At the time I had three close friends; Ruxi, Clive and Serene. We used to watch the box sets as a relief from studies and exams.

In those days I felt my friends were like ‘Friends’ friends. Afterwards I realised that such a close group of friends is rare. I also realised quite quickly that normal people don’t have such beautiful apartments. Life’s real story arcs don’t always end in smiles and laughs.

I left uni a year before Ruxi and Clive. I started work in a stressful graduate job. It changed me. When I went back to my uni town for visits I couldn’t connect well with my ‘still studying’ friends.

They would never know this, but one of the ways I got through the hard days and nights of my first job was by keeping pictures of my uni friends on my desk wall.

It was a shock when they suddenly stopped talking or replying to me. Some years later I discovered Clive and Serene got married; they hadn’t even told me. I still to this day feel hurt about this. I feel like a group of people that I felt at home with rejected me.

One of the biggest challenges in life is to retain trust in people. It’s required for close relationships and is especially hard to keep if people have bullied you or cut you out of their life.

And emotional damage through life is cumulative.

Let’s be honest. I am not the best friend. I get caught up in my own world. And when I lose common ground with people I tend to just stop contacting them (so I do the same thing).

Something I have read in pyschology is that we repeat patterns in life. Somehow I seem to drift in and out of friendships. Easily making new friends, but then losing them.

I’ve never had a best friend – is it a common thing or just a myth from media and stories? I don’t feel like it is something I miss. The only problem I may have is that I don’t think I have ever been 100% honest about all my thoughts and feelings with anyone.

I would never ‘lie’ to someone in a relationship, but I also wouldn’t be 100% honest either. It’s important to filter the thoughts of the human mind.

As biological beings our perfection is in our unique imperfect nature. A big part of this is that our thoughts are not always automatically right, good or kind. Sometimes we will be annoyed by anothers values, behaviours or actions. I accept this about myself. But I try to consciously use my power of thought to follow buddhist behaviours such as right action, right thought and right speech.

The other strange thing about me is I don’t have really any close male friends and I haven’t had for a long time. My only male friends are some old school friends I see very occasionaly from a long time ago.

Recently I have had some close friends that have gone through life changes and I no longer hear from them on a day to day basis. It’s not right or wrong, but I find myself in one of the periods of little or no contact with people.

It has been a strange year for me. One anecdote – I met a foreign girl studying in London. After she went home she asked me to marry her on a chat app and to move abroad to live with her. I considered moving to spend more time to get to know her better, but when I couldn’t due to financial / work constraints she went straight to not talking to me at all.

I think with friends and relationships we sometimes get caught up in our own interpretation of events and in taking everything personally. I suspect that in reality many of us go through similar things. Some better, some worse.

Or is it just me?

(the picture is from regent park in london last weekend.)