long time, no blog

well, no better time than the now

I have a good tiedyer friend who passed on into the blue yonder just a while back, and have had the good fortune of having had a certain amount of his remains entrusted to me for enshrinement here in Japan, on the mountain out back. And this morning we took him up the mountain, my boys and i.

I told them about Michel on the way up, how he touched a lot of people through his posts on FB and through his tie dye even though he had never met so many of them in the flesh. I thought of his almost daily posts, mandalas, poems, rants, witty comments and observations, entreatments for a sale so he could buy Mt Dew and other necessities of life. He was a big part of my life, like a brother, and his sudden departure echoed across months, even now.

So we went up the mountain to a shrine almost at the top. There is a large outcropping of bedrock along the front face of the mountain, and one large boulder has broken loose and split in two. Legend has it that a certain earthquake split the rock over a hundred years back. Now, the space created under the two pieces is revered as a Shinto shrine, with deities and offerings. This was the first place that i had planned to enshrine my friend.

So i reached down and found an appropriate piece of wood which i used to scoop a small amount of the remains from the bag and then set them on a rock in front of the shrine. No sooner had i set this bit down, not a second after, a temple bell tolled somewhere from below, clearly, once. The timing could not have been better.

A temple bell, and it must have been a large one, because the tone was low and carried long. I do not even know of such a bell in the area, and i tend to know the temples which are around. I have never once heard such a bell from my house below, and i have been here for 12 years now.

I looked up, surprised, at my boys, who were staring back at me in disbelief. My younger boy let out a nervous laugh, and remarked it was scary. The japanese people are very superstitious , especially about things surrounding death. But I was happy to hear the bell. For me, it was loud and clear, purely an affirmation. Michel was where he should be.

After this, I moved away from the shrine somewhat to a cliff area, a lookout ridge that faces south over the expansive bowl of civilization, towns and buildings. It was where i had planned to leave my friend to rest, a place with a view, a look out spot, able to take flight in his astral journey through parallel planes and lands we can only dream of. And i placed the rest of him there.

It was out on a cliff, off the beaten path, and on our way back to the shrine from there, my boy exclaimed and poimnted at my feet. Down below there were feathers strewn across the pine needles, feathers adorned with blue and white stripes. The gift, the thank you, balancing out.

I picked up the feathers and put them in the package which used to carry my friends essence , and after saying a prayer, brought them back down, back down to a different realm, our realm. When you follow a path of karma, observing as you go, the affirmations come, and the gifts follow. : )

the Difference

OK, here it is. I’ve found it. It’s the difference. The difference between Japan and the rest of the world… least the world that I came from…..the US. This is it. The difference. Distilled out. In it’s pure form…….

about Jr HS kids washing their desk and chair in the river

about Jr HS kids washing their desk and chair in the river

This is an article I cut from thje paper on january 20. (OK, a while ago…..). It portrays the 3rd year JrHS students of a local school dstrict taking thir desk and chair down to the river for a washing. These are the desk and chair which they themselves have used for three years, basically their homeroom desk. They are washing it and in doing so trying to show the desk their appreciation, their gratefulness. They are graduating this year, and so it’s a sort of  Thank you/goodbye thing……

Can you even imagine this in the states? Or anything similar? Somehow, I can’t………

Although I am sure there are plenty of good kids there, who would respond to this type of thing……..and see the point……not consider it an exercise in futility, nor think it old-fashioned………