Chizu area

Monday, 30 September 2019

Every day is like Christmas - The Japanese art of giving

               Japanese people are extremely generous, they are always giving you things

Lifts in their cars and taking you to Festivals from Mino to Guji-Hachiman's Bon Odori

                                          Helpful advice from my Kyoto guest house Bokuyado

                             Showing you around the beautiful refurbished Nipponia hotel in Mino

Making you laugh, offering you Sake and lifts and giving you gifts in the Ballarat Clunes guest house in Mino ..........and calling you Dight all the time, even shouting it at you from their car

                             Making you paper beetles in the Mino Washi paper goods shop

Wrapping your suitcase up in plastic to save it from the rain and giving you a homemade leaving gift in Kanazawa Share House GAOoo

                                                                   Giving you tea

 Writing your name on everything, giving you Yukata's to wear, knocking at your door to bring you to  dinner at the time you requested, serving you amazing and myriad dishes of food, laying out your bed for you

 And when you leave giving you gifts at the Matsukaze Shodoshima seaside hotel as well as bowing and waving you off in the shuttle to the ferry

And in Chizu where I stayed the longest I was helped very much by the lovely people there, particularly these two who organised so much for me and introduced me to many other people

I was taken to look at Theatres in Tottori prefecture

Introduced to the art of Bunraku at the Ningyo Joruri puppet theatre in Sinden, where I was invited to have a try

And invited to come back and watch a live rehearsal

To stay in the Ningyo Joruri house next door in the most beautiful of areas

                                                             To share a traditional dinner

                                                      To have dinner with a lovely family

A barbecue with another

With fresh caught fish and many home grown vegetables 

To share food with some of the Forest nursery school families where I was staying


I was given home grown and home made food by new friends and random strangers in the street

Given breakfast in my room

Taken out to many cafes

Taken for walks in the beautiful cedar forests 

                                                Given lovely places to stay in and work in

                                                             Had my picture taken

                            Invited to interesting talks given by a Professor of Plant Physiology

A very interesting man who gave me this piece of Acacia resin from a project he was working on in the middle east

I was invited to see some interesting things

                                 Had baths run for me and even offered one after a family dinner

I witnessed how small communities were coming together and doing things for the benefit of the wider community, the land and it's future.

  Above all I was given a lot of wonderful, open-hearted friendship, it was positive, life-affirming and made me very happy

Tuesday, 24 September 2019

Give the people what they want

                                                     Japan is full of shrines and temples

                                                                      They are beautiful




                                                                 Wondrous places

                                                      They are everywhere 

 I visited Kyoto first and was truly wowed by the shrines and temples and the religious and                       spiritual nature of them

                       It was the holiday season and I loved that there were so many visitors

                                   And how many people had dressed for the occasion


                               Tourism sites, books etc are all about the shrines and temples 

But perhaps like all good things, too much of something and we can become immune to their charm or presence.

Allegedly the Japanese are not very religious, but both Shinto and Buddhism are seen as important parts of Japanese culture and ways of life. 
Shinto which originated in Japan is the oldest religion, while Buddhism came from China. Shintoism is deeply connected with nature it believes that every living thing possesses a spirit, it is not interested in the afterlife as it believes in the living of this life rather than in preparing for the next, it is about ritual and observance rather than faith. Traditional weddings are held at Shrines. 
Buddhism on the other hand is much more rooted in the afterlife and the importance of our ancestors. Funerals are held in Temples. 

I read that there are over 80,000 Shinto shrines in Japan and that 77,394 Buddhist Temples are registered. 

                       Many people also have shrines to their ancestors and loved ones at home

                                                   During Obon week I made one myself