"Let's enjoy different cultures" Toshioohsako's Profile

The mirror of mind

My life journey from Japan started almost 30 years ago (but visit there every year) at the age of 21 after my university education in Tokyo. I have furthered my education, worked and lived in several cities in Europe and the USA. I have traveled around the world on my UN job for the last 25 years and now live and work as a consultant wherever such job exists. I have learned English, French, Swedish (fair) and German (basic), and managed to maintain my Japanese language ability. I have not forgotten my language and culture. On the contrary, I feel that I understand my culture better now- more objectively and from a multicultural perspective. As one great philosopher said, if you know only your country, you do not actually know it. However, I admit that things have not always been easy because living in different countries requires constant conscious efforts to understand cultural codes and values, learning new languages, etc, and, most of all, I cannot see my good friends easily who are living in different countries around the world. Yet, I do not regret what I have done and the way I have been living my life. I feel gain is much greater than loss.

My home page shows my personal travel and leaning experiences, thoughts and emotions gained through my encounters with diverse cultures and people around the world. I apologize for not being able to show many pictures of places I visited because digital cameras came into existence much later on.

I have learned the importance of our mind. For example, I agree that happiness is largely a state of mind as expressed in the famous British novel "Rebecca". What one sees beautiful is significantly attributable to his/her state of your mind. In other words, the beautiful world we see represents the significant portion of our thoughts and emotions that have been nurtured in ourselves. I believe that the quality of our travel experiences - meeting diverse cultures, traditions and people, - substantially influence the sense of beauty inside and outside ourselves.

I moved to Klaipeda, Lithuania from Stockholm in April last year. Its a country I never imagined to live in but it happened. I do not have close friends yet but hope that I will have some luck to find some. Lithuanian language is very interesting and hope to learn despite of my age. My future is not certain but I hope to find ways to be happy here. I will reorganize my HP more according to my new life but it may take some time.

Man-nature harmony, Lofoten, Norway, July 2005

The nature is so beautiful and kind bringing us flowers and delicious drinking water. It is sometimes so changeable like a temperamental artist, hitting us hard by creating storms and floods like humans make wars and conflicts. The nature stirs up our passion, lures us to a far away paradise and, sometimes calms and humbles us by its serenity and immensity. But, most of all, let's create together a living environment and a life style which are harmonious with the nature. That is an enjoyable life for us all.

Albaicin, Granada - a town of peaceful coexistence

"Christians, Muslims, and Jews once shared the belief that Spain was singularly blessed. From the eighth century until 1492, Spain was a uniquely mixed, complex land where Arabic, Latin, and Hebrew languages, cultural traditions, religions, and voices coexisted—and indeed prospered—side by side.".(quote from Cornell's Adult University Website: "Crossing Gibraltar: Bridging the Worlds of Morocco and Spain",2006).

I had long wanted to visit this village and finally made it in June 2006. I was very moved to see it with my own eyes. I do not belong to any of the above religious groups but I cannot stop dreaming of such beautiful coexistence of different groups everywhere on the Earth. I am glad that this value of mine has not diminished with age, but, on the contrary, it has been strengthened as I grew older and have more experiences.

I sincerely hope that our perceived threats, victimization or injustice (either real or imaginative), and mistrust for " out-groups" , be eventually sorted out through dialogues and finally be replaced by the recognition and respect for each other's historical contributions, mutual forgiveness for our mistakes, and by a true desire and actions for peaceful coexistence. The history has proved it possible here.

I admire people with courage and actions to achieve peaceful co-existence, respect and sensitivity for all diverse cultures, believers and non-believers, and all ethnic groups.

Team-work or alone-work???

I come from a culture where the importance of teamwork is recognized. So I joined this teamwork project at Hamburg airport only to find that I was the only person working and others were not!! The time for team work stopped, so I dcided to go to my boarding gate.

I like funny things, jokes and imitations.

(August, 2007)

Nobel Prize Concert

On 8 December 2009, I attended the Nobel Prize Concert. It is annually held to honor Prize winners and is followed by Nobel Prize awarding ceremony (10 Dec.).

The world-renown Yuri Temirkanov conducted the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra. Invited was so called great Argentinian Martha Argerich. Argerich played Festive Ravel's Piano Concerto G Major. Temirkanov conducted the Orchestra with perfection and passion. Argerich played her music with her somewhat unpredictable emotions and imagination. All Nobel Prize Laureates were present with the Royal Family.

While enjoying the music and admiring and paying respect to the intelligent work of Nobel Prize Laureates, my previous thought about excellency and individual talent revisited me:

1. In our history, many great technical inventions have been unnoticed but they turned out to benefit millions of people. Do you know who put an eraser on top of a pencil? Who invented chop-sticks? Let's give these unknown inventors our special thanks! To borrow President Barak Obama's words, these unknown inventors are "hidden heroes" like his grandmother who brought him up.

2. I believe that everybody in this world is unique, talented and can become creative and inventive. He/she does not receive a Nobel Prize but can do something worthwhile to society. Perhaps, we can try to find good qualities in each individual and encourage his/her talent to grow to the possible maximum. We know so much about negative consequences of rejected individuals.

(Stockholm, December 2009)

Because the beauty is there!

The famous Matterhorn from the City of Zermatt, Switzerland - my favourite ski resort. When the winter is approaching, my heart urges me to go skiing there. I have to wait until after Christmas - its too long!

Many lives of the mountain climbers have been lost here. My colleague's husband was one of them.

Mountain climbers continue to challenge this mountain even they know the risk is high because their obsession and love for the the beauty of this mountain is so powerful and unyielding.

I like beautiful mountains in all seasons, including beautiful autumn color, shining winter snow and crispy air, refreshing spring and relaxing summer. Secretly, I like winter mountains because I can ski.

(Zermatt, December 2006)


Let's visit Japan.my native country. Can you enlarge this photo? "Mizugo" means "Water Baby", unborn child or miscarriaged fetus. Zen- Buddhism performs Mizugo memorial ceremony called "Mizugo Kuyo", though its practices are limited in number. Mizugos are not burried here but the "jizo"s (a tomb curved like a child figure) with "Kaimyo" (a name given after death) stand here dressed like this with a red bib and carrying a stick with bells on top. This Mizugo cemetry is located next to Tokyo's famous "Zojoji"temple.

When visiting Tokyo, I sometimes go there and sometimes take my foreign friends who are usually curious about this unique tradition. I like the philosophy behind this memorial - one is gently and naturally reminded of the dignity and importance of human life - born or unborn and feels parents' genuine sorrow for the lost child. But I guess these ideas are not uniquely for the Japanese but are shared by many people around the world. The forms to express traditions may be differnt across cultures but their essential values may convey the same meaning and emotions.

I am not a Buddhist, either but I like natural and unpretentious ways to make peole realize something importnat.

(photo taken in Tokyo, March 2006)

Concentration of mind

On my way home from Tallin by boat in May, I took sunset photos from my cabin window which lasted for about an hour. It was a very sunny day and the ship was sailing very smoothly on the shining Baltic Sea. Probably I took more than 40-50 sunset photos. This is my last photo which is enhanced. It was a wonderful moment completely alone and undisturbed by the hustles of life.

The concentration of mind is very difficult for us nowadays becasue we are stressed, tend to think about tomorrow instead of today, think about several things simultaneously and plan and organize things all the time. Perhaps. if we try to find everyday short but relaxed moments to concentrate ourselves more on what we see, hear, feel now at this exact moment without being disturbed by other concerns and worries of tomorrow, we may find our mind calm, stable and more fulfilled as our body and mind can come naturally together. I felt such natural and harmonious moments when I was taking my sunset photos on that day.

Its nice to have my own time to really appreciate, think and feel on what I like to see and expeirnce.

(photo taken in May, 2007)

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Toshio Ohsako
Klaipeda, Lithuania
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