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If you've been reading my blog for awhile now, I'm sure you know of my love and deep admiration for Japan. If not, you can read about it here, here, here, here and here.

I lived there (in Kobe) in 1996 for about 2 1/2 months and felt an instant connection to the country, its people, and their culture. It honestly felt as if I had "come home."

One of the many, many things I was in awe of about Japan is that for as small and populated as the country is, I never felt a sense of claustrophobia, disorganization, or even the slightest tension. On the contrary, I felt the most beautiful sense of expansion, calmness, and a peaceful centeredness. And I think that's because the Japanese have an innate capacity for making the most of the space they have, and in a way that is simplistic and minimalistic, yet efficient. If I could choose just one word to describe the energy of that country it would be: Harmonious.

In Japan, the attention to detail is astonishing. When creating something, the Japanese have a reason for every part of that creation; nothing is ever wasted or without purpose.

With Japan, it's all about quality first.

The pride and dedication the Japanese have in their work is truly amazing. And one area in which you can see that is in the tender loving attention they give to their beautiful gardens. While living there, I would sometimes stand off to the side of a garden and watch as the gardener pruned a tree, planted a flower bed, or simply raked the grass, and was so impressed by the meticulous care and respect in which it was done.

Whenever I see a cherry blossom tree, I immediately think of Japan because it's as if cherry blossoms were made for its stunning landscape. In fact, you will very often see cherry blossom trees in water-color paintings of Japan.

In honor of Spring, I thought I would share some images of a country and culture I find remarkably beautiful.

Please enjoy...

Have a beautiful weekend everyone!

*Photo credit: These gorgeous photographs where found on Not a Nomad Blog. I am so honored to share them.

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