Kyōto, Japan

December 8, 2019

Kyoto and the span of years

This past weekend, my partner and took a train down South to one of my absolute favorite places on the planet - Kyoto.

It's been three years since I lived there, editing and finishing The No-Bullshit Guide to Depression, running, biking to poetry readings and spending every weekend in some kind of amazing temple or shrine or park.

And coming back - it was all still there. My favorite okomiyaki restaurant and the amazing people who run it. The tourist-packed temples. The quiet ones nobody visits. The leaves, crimson, gold, flying in bunches their last dances this year. The smell of cold and dry and a fleeting fragment of both summer and winter.

Timeless.

We walked until our feet hurt, forgetting to eat all day, then refilling our bones with okonomiyaki and eggplant and oden, a Japanese hodgepodge designed to warm you up on those cold and early nights.

I felt grounded and centered and me – and so, so lucky to get to be there.

And I cried. A lot.

I cried at Tenryū-ji temple. Leaving the okonomiyaki place. At Renge-ji temple and the metro and seeing so many streets that I knew by heart.

I cried because it was like stepping into a time machine. Because the me that lived in Kyoto was still there, too. I could feel who I was, those three short years ago. What it was like to focus fully on writing, exploring, sharing with you; on making things that helped people and were worth lasting.

I cried because in so many ways, the past three years have felt like lost years. The me of three years ago was sharper, clearer, bigger-hearted. He was active - physically, mentally. And he made better things. Looking back at the letters from Kyoto that Autumn, I find better writing, sharper images - and more heart.

And I want that back.

On the train back up to Tokyo, and with the shutdown of the company I worked for behind us, my partner and I started talking about doing something a bit crazy. About making Ink and Feet my full-time work again - and making 2020 the year where it gets the full attention and time it needs to thrive, grow, and sustain itself.

To get things like the Change Monsters back online and share more of these stories in different ways like so many of you email me asking for - in photos and videos and even sharper, better words. And to make that journey public - and take you with me along the way.

So I think we're going to do it.

Stay tuned. :)

-Steven

p.s. The best thing I saw all week was honestly Renge-ji and the other temples in Kyoto. So instead of a thought-provoking article or a funny video - this time, I'm just going to share some pictures of it with you.

p.p.s. If you want a little sneak peek of what's ahead, you might find some things starting to show up in an unexpected place over the next few days. :)

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