Category Archives: Shrines

On Lenin’s Feet and the Taxi-Driving Buddha

If you visit Kyoto, you may stumble into a small home next door to a shrine and, as you’re looking for the shrine entrance, a woman may ask you for 500 yen and assure you that there is English being … Continue reading

Posted in language, Shrines, Temples and Ruins, Thinking, Uncategorized, Zen | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

On Nature in Japan, or: On Getting Killed By a Wild Goat in America

Signs were erected to warn hikers about aggressive mountain goats in Olympic National Park. Imagine, if you can, the mountain goats of the Pacific Northwest. They look like messed-up dogs or disappointing unicorns; they eat lichen in the wild and … Continue reading

Posted in Shinto, Shrines, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

On Like Totally Living in the Now in Japan, You Know?

Japan probably has more temples, shrines and gardens per capita than garbage cans or benches.

Posted in Homesickness, Shrines, Thinking, Uncategorized, Zen | Tagged , , , | 7 Comments

On Obon: Japan’s Homecoming Game, with Ghosts.

There’s an old Buddhist story about a monk named Mahamaudgalyayana – let’s call him Mokuren, for short – who was doing alright, as monks go, and had finally developed the skill of peering into the world of the dead.

Posted in Fun, Shrines, Thinking, Tradition, Uncategorized, Zen | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

On Walking On Fire in Japan

The most difficult part of walking on burning coals during a typhoon was finding the right train.

Posted in Shinto, Shrines, Thinking, Tradition, Uncategorized, Video, Zen | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

On Japanese Funerals

My first conversation about the earthquake was a week and three days after it struck. In the office, we talked about the peripheries of disaster: Blood donations, fundraisers, TV coverage. We didn’t talk about victims. When the media focused on … Continue reading

Posted in Earthquake, Photography, Shinto, Shrines, Temples and Ruins, Thinking, Tradition, Uncategorized, Zen | Tagged , , , , , , | 9 Comments