Category Archives: Shinto

On Writing About Rain in Japan

It’s tsuyu, rainy season, a designation determined by a group of experts without regard to actual rainfall. It rained once on the day after they had declared the end of rainy season, and that rain was designated non-rainy season rain. … Continue reading

Posted in language, Shinto, Zen | Tagged , , | 7 Comments

On Going to a Gay Bar in Japan

The night starts by asking a cab driver to take you to a school. It’s 11 p.m. and you have no business going to a school at 11 p.m. on a Saturday night, so the driver heads toward the school … Continue reading

Posted in Fun, Shinto, Tradition, Uncategorized, Zen | Tagged , , , , | 4 Comments

On Demonic Umbrellas and Japanese Banking

In Japan, many ATMs work from 9 to 5 and get weekends and holidays off. That’s better than most humans get. And the reason, I suspect, has more to do with ghosts than any bank is willing to admit.

Posted in Culture Shock, Shinto, Shrines, Thinking, Tradition, Weird | Tagged , , , , , | 8 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

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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