We set out to find two majestic waterfalls today.
Both were located south of the town of Shari, in which we are staying, near the Shiretoko National Park.
The lady who spoke a little English at the Shari information center, explained to us with a lot of sign language, that nearby there are falls, where the Salmon jump over the waterfalls, and swim up the river to spawn.
She said they only do it from June to August, every year.
I have seen Salmon swimming against the current of the river, and even jumping over waterfalls, but it was only in documentary movies….
I have never seen them do this in nature and with my own eyes….
Sakura, is the Japanese word for Salmon, (Sakura is also the word for cherry blossom, but it is spelled with a different Kanji Character)
Otaki, is the Japanese word for “Waterfall.”
Sakura No Taki- translates to: “The waterfalls of the Salmons.”
Luckily, in the passing years, we learnt to read and write the Hiragana Japanese Characters.
The Japanese language uses three writing systems:
And Kanji Chinese Characters.
Written Japanese language uses all three systems interwoven.
Beside needing to know the phonetic letters of Hiragana and Katakana, an average Japanese kid needs to know thousands of Chinese Kanji characters, in order to read a simple newspaper.
We only learned the Hiragana system, and luckily some are still stored in my memory,….. because there were no English signs to this waterfall.
I used the map program on our rented iPone, to navigate to the approximate area of the Salmon waterfalls.
The road was narrow and unpaved and our little car jolted merrily along the unmarked road, which curved along the river and was lined with wildflowers.
Finally, we spotted a small sign with the Japanese Hiragana for “Sakura No…” which made me jump for joy, because I knew that it meant that the last Kanji Character, must be for Otaki- A waterfall.
We found the small parking lot with the same Japanese sign, and we parked and walked to the river.
I really had no expectations.
I was not sure if we will be able to spot any salmon jumping….
But right there in the roaring river, facing the gushing waterfalls, were hundreds of salmon trying to jump over the waterfalls.
I did not want to leave this place….. It felt like a sacred place to me….
The salmons were trying… And trying… And trying… But so few of them actually succeeded in jumping high enough to get over the falls.
Even when they did, it was still not easy, and they had to use their tails and body muscles to propel them against the force of the falling waters and to swim against the strong current, until they reached upstream.
We stood there for a long time, and I must have seen hundreds of attempts at jumping over the falls, but only two succeed.
When I did spot the few who had made it, I cheered them on with great spontaneous delight.
I was SO happy for those who finally made it.
One day, before the end of the season, all of them will make it up the waterfalls.
How does the saying goes?…
“If at first you do not succeed, TRY, TRY, TRY AGAIN!”
I had tears of joy in my eyes, as we turned to leave this place.
It was so precious to witness this in the middle of the fields with almost nobody else around… To witness such beauty in Nature….
The second waterfalls we visited that day, were called “Ojika No Taki,” which means “The waterfalls of Stags and Deer.”
The rocky road leading there, was also unpaved, and it was a long and very beautiful road through a primeval forest with old tall trees, many wide and mysterious rivers and an abundance of wildlife.
We drove slowly, enjoying the sights, sounds and smells of the forest.
The light filtered through the trees, illuminating the leaves and the moss on the river rocks….
We spotted some giant mushrooms growing on the bark of trees, and some rare forest plants that we never saw before.
There were also some giant leaves of a plant that is eaten here by the locals.
We tried it at the hotels we dined at.
They cooked only the long stem of this plant, not the leaves, and it looked and tasted a little like green celery stalks.
The secret waterfalls of Ojika No Taki, are said to be VERY mysterious and special, because every day 30 tons of water are falling out of the rock, down a 25 meter drop, but with no visible river on the top, from which the waters are coming from.
It is believed that the waters come from the nearby Mount Shari, but no visible river flows in this direction.
We hiked through a beautiful forest and reached this secret waterfalls and stood in total awe at the beauty of the area…
My heart was soaring with joy….. I could not remember when I last felt this happy…
Here we were, alone in this magical forest…..with nothing but a handful of worldly possessions, stuffed into our backpacks, and yet… I feel so content…. so happy and lacking nothing in the whole world…
Somewhere in the world, spread across two continents, we have two lovely houses full of our clothes, shoes, toys, cars, kayaks, bicycles, art, sculptures, souvenirs, beautiful handmade carpets, books, music, electronics, garden tools… more possessions than anyone will ever need or want….
Things we accumulated with the money we worked hard to earn and to save…… And we need NONE of it to be happy and fully alive….
Jules and I spoke about how much we love being vagabonds and light footed, living with little and allowing new places and new experiences to expand and to educate us…..
We talked about how much we love traveling the world with our light backpacks and nothing more…
Our backpacks already feel so full…. even the little that we do have in them, they feels like way too many possessions…
We spoke about how we would rather give up our homes, and move into a small townhouse, than give up this life of vagabonding and roaming the world….
Luckily, we do not have to give up anything.
We CAN keep our lovely homes and all of our toys, AND continue to explore and travel the world.
All of us, CAN have it all…. We can BE all that we value, admire and strive to be.
Those who told us in the past that you cannot have it all….or be all you can be…. Were simply WRONG.
But somehow, we learnt to lower our vision, lower our expectations, settle for less…. To feel unworthy….Not dare to believe… and not to set our sights too high….
And as a result, what we got in life, was a lukewarm soup of a little bit of what we wanted, mixed with a lot of compromises floating around…
There are no Universal lacks or limitations of any kind.
We ourselves set our own limits…. They are NOT imposed on us by anyone other than ourselves.
For many years, I worked to understand what it was that I TRULY wanted to see manifest in my life, and to find out what will truly enrich my life, and what I should avoid.
I worked to clarify to myself what it was that had the essence of what I wanted, and I NEVER diverted again from this path….
If what I wanted above all was inner peace and a quiet mind, I no longer chased after business deals or relationship dramas.
I stayed anchored in what I TRULY wanted…. Which was enlightenments and spiritual growth…
I now choose to celebrate the life that I have!
To celebrate the core of my divine being…
I even choose to love and accept my ever evolving personality, which I work hard every day to educate and to refine…
I aim to look beyond what is not yet perfect in me, and to enjoy my life for the many gifts that it DOES have right now.
I choose to dream the BEST life I can imagine and dream….
After all…. Life in a body IS only a dream…
And we are the dreamers of this dream.
The dream was but a nightmare…
Full of pain, disease, hardship, difficulties,
Separate interests, loneliness and death…
The dream had changed into a gentler dream….
In which the dreamer finally recognized herself,
As the dreamer and creator of her dreams…
She finally understood that “It is NOT done TO me,”
“I AM DOING THIS…”
And so the dream had changed again,
Into a beautiful dream,
A dream full of joy, love, adventures, kindness and fun.
And one day……
She no longer longed for earthly things.
Beyond ALL ELSE, she wanted to realize the REAL world…
And the Heavens saw her eagerness,
And sent the stars themselves to beckon her home…
To remind her of how Light life is…
And how free and endlessly perfect and joyous…
While she dreamt she lived within a mind
Imprisoned within a mortal body,
Her true identity was unchanged
And her holiness was unaffected.
Nothing she could do can deplete or add to it…
It was safely kept for her,
Away from the errors of the world…
One day soon she knows
That she would be fully awake.
And even this gentle dream
Will just dissolve into the Light…
A Short video that I took of the Sakura-No-Taki