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Hello, everyone, Marina Sofia here tending the bar, and at this time of year I know that most of us are thinking about holiday getaways and plenty of rest. So I have a very simple question for you today: Where do you like to go to feel really on ‘holiday’?

Not necessarily the annual holiday, with the crowds, the heat, the tourist sites, the beaches heaving with sweaty bodies… But where do you find that ‘holiday of the mind’, where can you retreat and rediscover yourself and peace of mind? Perhaps you are adept at meditation or yoga and are able to find this anywhere, anytime…

Hokusai Says by Roger Keyes (excerpts)

Hokusai says look carefully.
He says pay attention, notice.
He says keep looking, stay curious.
He says there is no end to seeing

He says everything is alive —
shells, buildings, people, fish,
mountains, trees, wood is alive.
Water is alive.

Everything has its own life.

Everything lives inside us.

He says live with the world inside you.

It’s not always the remote islands or forests or mountaintops that bring us that inner peace. Some will find calm in the anonymity and business of big cities. Remember Wordsworth’s famous poem composed on Westminster Bridge in London:

This City now doth, like a garment, wear
The beauty of the morning; silent, bare,
Ships, towers, domes, theatres, and temples lie
Open unto the fields, and to the sky;
All bright and glittering in the smokeless air.
Never did sun more beautifully steep
In his first splendour, valley, rock, or hill;
Ne’er saw I, never felt, a calm so deep!

Tokyo has always had a calming effect on me, despite its frenetic pace. Perhaps because when you turn a corner, just off a really busy main road, you can find a forgotten little miniature shrine or an old house with paper walls, where time seems to have stood still.

Street in Tsukishima, Tokyo. From the website www.tokyogreenspace.com

Street in Tsukishima, Tokyo. From the website http://www.tokyogreenspace.com

So tell us in the comments below when and where you find the holiday spirit and inner peace, as you prepare to go away on your annual physical holidays…