Happy 2024! The year of the Dragon 🐉✨

ishigaki-jima Tojin-baka

There are about 3 different topics I would like to share with you about dragons.

I am excited and confused: which one should I start with?

Lets cool down, take a bath and a cup of tea.

① Well, first things first: I spiritedly wish you a HAPPY NEW YEAR!
As you know 2024 is the year of the Dragon, and I chose the photo above as the cover for this newsletter because it looks like also the dragon … likes to take a bath!!
Actually, the story of the building portrayed in the photo is sweet and sour. The building is a tomb for 152 Chinese laborers who took advantage of a shipwreck near Ishigaki island (Okinawa) to mutiny while they were being transported to the USA. The survivors were hidden by the locals but they were finally found and executed here by British troops in 1852.
Of course, it is a sad story but the colorful decoration of the building dignifies this sacrifice and is a reminder that no matter the nationality or the language, it is natural for men to help fellow men and we should remember this also in 2024.

② Ishigaki island keeps popping in my mind..!
On 30 December I worked until 4 am (31 December…) and before going to sleep I realized I had no schedule for the end of the year. I have 2 days completely free. No work, no plans whatsoever.
I love Okinawa and had the inspiration to check if there were some flights for Naha or Miyako Island.
Of course, everything was already sold out.
The only flight viable was a 7:00 am flight to Ishigaki but I decided to desist.
Not enough time to get ready and probably no hotels available.
And many things to wrap up to start the year with a clean desk.
But now I am connecting the dots: Ishigaki is the island of the dragon (the shape of the island resembles the head of a dragon) and … well … this is the dawn of the year of the Dragon!
I should have gone no matter what!
I have a bitter feeling in my mouth telling me that I should have listened to my gut feeling.
On the other hand, I am happy because I have a full year now to properly schedule a trip to Ishigaki.

Anybody wants to come with me? Let`s go!
And this happening was a reminder for me to listen more to my guts feeling from now on.
Don`t overthink: just do it!

③ This brings me to the last point I wanted to share with you concerning dragons.
I used my year end to complete the video-postcard I make every year for my Japanese contacts.

The title is 「crouching tiger, hiding dragon」
This year I made also an English version. Feel free to take a look!


forgive me a brief personal parenthesis: for the last 3 years I added a morning and evening mindfullness meditation to my daily routine. 
This truly changed my life!
I can now witness that “thoughts do become reality”.

I can now witness that thoughts become reality.
But in 2024 I want to go one further step 「crouching tiger, hiding dragon」: 
My thoughts are limited and so my reality can only develop to a modest extent.
But by being aware of the “hidden dragons” around me (experts, masters, people I love etc.) I can absorb their wisdom and push the limits of what I can do!

※ the saying「crouching tiger, hiding dragon」matches some aspects of the Japanese idiom 「dragon jumping tiger」 that I also like a lot, but it has a different focus.

Thank you for all your support in 2023.
Let`s fly together in 2024!

Happy New Year!

PS: During the holiday time I also managed to upload some more Shu-Ha-Ri belt designs here: “Shuhari belts“.
But I am realizing now that I do not have yet a dragon theme Shu-Ha-Ri belt!
Will be keeping my eyes open for the right obi sash!