Goals, comparisons and a (greener) grass somewhere else

Around the time of the New Year there were many articles and blog posts about goals for the year 2017, whether teaching you how to define them, listing the essentials that you should include in your list, or personal examples of goals that were reached and are yet to be pursued. Then there was one, talking about the importance to remember why we have set the goals we did, and try not to compare them with everyone else around us.

You will agree that it is not easy. In fact, it happens almost automatically in your head even before you realize it. Friends, colleagues and other people you look up to, and the list goes on. Why is it that the grass often seems greener somewhere else but not there, where we are right now?

I happened to tour the Tokyo Imperial Palace grounds recently and it somehow linked to the thoughts above. Palace grounds are generally closed to public except for a few rare occasions, i.e. New Year greeting on January 2nd and Emperor’s birthday on December 23rd, or also a few days during the hanami (cherry blossom) season, thus it may serve as an example of the “other side” you cannot access.

Tour of Tokyo Imperial Palace grounds, Fujimi-yagura (Mt. Fuji-view Keep)

If you have been in the area, I bet you took a photo of the Seimon-tetsubashi bridge (better known as “Nijubashi”) as that is about as close as you can get under normal circumstances.

The view from outside, “Nijubashi”.

Let me tell you the secret: you can also get inside (not to the palace though) and walk on that bridge as well. All it takes is some advance planning. Imperial Household Agency organizes guided tours and reservations start on the first day of the month for the following month. The tour is in Japanese, but you can get an audio guide with the English version.

Fushimi-yagura Keep, Imperial Palace grounds (it is not the Palace building, I leave it for you to discover)

It was interesting, though I must admit that I had a completely different image of the palace. Then, walking there “on the other side” and taking photos of the Tokyo skyline, I rethink the topic of goals and comparisons. Looking at others’ lives, we do not see more than the tip of an iceberg, and our perception does not necessarily represent the reality. The same may also apply both ways. Sometimes it takes crossing the bridge to the other side to get a perspective and see that the side you came from looks “greener” than you thought.

The view from the “other side”, standing on Seimon-tetsubashi Bridge (“Nijubashi”).

Happy to cross back to my world and focus on my life and goals!

Kikyo-mon Gate, open to public only on a few special days or with a guided tour.

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