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“I witnessed an awe-inspiring sense of beauty and tranquility…”

Liliana, 30

Incarcerated: 5 years

Housed: San Quentin

After graduating from UC Santa Barbara in 2015, I made it a point to travel to Japan, a land I’ve always been fascinated with since childhood.  I fell in love with the capital of Tokyo, from the fresh sushi at the Tsukiji fish market, to the nerd haven of Akihabara, and the bustling nightlife in Shibuya. I’d eventually make these trips an annual thing, but what truly stood out to me was in the spring of 2017, when my visit happened to coincide with the cherry blossom viewing season or “Hanami.” Throughout this two week period, I witnessed an awe-inspiring sense of beauty and tranquility, though one spot in particular stood out to me the most, Veno park, where picnickers gathered en masse between the grand aisle lined with cherry blossom trees. There everyone seemed so carefree within the festive vibe, a welcome respite from the stress of daily life. Local fare was in abundance from Yakitori noodles to Takoyaki octopus balls and Asahi and Kirin beers to wash it all down. One day, I’ll be back.

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