Here are travel notes from the fall, 2006. In Japan I noticed:
Black and white: Japan looks like zebra colors, as school uniforms are black suits for boys and black or grey for girls with short pleated skirts—very short. It’s out of fashion now, but in Chiba where I was staying I still saw bunched up leg warmer socks at the ankle. Office workers mostly wear black suits and white shirts too, including women. In a clothes catalogue, I saw one page with red accessories and that was it, all the rest black, tan, and brown.
Great healthy food: I even ate fish testicles. Fish is served whole, including the head. I always tell my students avoid white sugar, rice, and flour linked to the health problem of two-thirds of adults in the US are overweight. My favorite food is kaiseki, developed for tea service, many and I mean many, small dishes in a variety of pottery. They don’t value a matched set. I ate this at a traditional ryokan inn with hot springs bath my last night in Japan. It was across the street from a huge Buddhist temple complex dating from the 900s, including lovely ponds and gardens.
Toilets: big variety from squat to fancy ones with warm seats, water sounds, automatic seat rise and lower.
Time: Japanese are serious about time; the trains come on the minute they’re scheduled. Check in was at 3:00 PM; I arrived an hour early because it was raining and only had my daypack, no umbrella. They wouldn’t let me check in although I said rain exists, but did lend me an umbrella (casa).
Education: students in my energy tools workshops often ask questions about specific getting it exactly right techniques, indicating that this is the way they’re taught in school to pass the dreaded college entrance exams. They also don’t jay walk, they obey signals, and pick up after their dogs. I had only one guy who asked more meaning-based philosophical questions. This was a good group, I didn’t have to twist any arms to get them dialoguing. As always, terrifically focused, on time, enthusiastic.
History: In Tokyo I visited an ancient garden with ponds and bridges, coy, rocks and plants developed in the 16th century. Also went to an architectural museum because I love the sculptural look of old houses with mats, sliding paper doors, thatched roofs, with a deck around the raised house.
Worship: everywhere you go there are Buddhist or Shinto shrines. You pour water over your hands and wash out your mouth, maybe light incense in a big burner, then clap your hands three times, bow, and repeat. You can also tie on a white paper as a prayer or purchase a wooden plac where you write your wish and hang it on a line with the others. At big shrines little stalls line the entrance selling food and souvenirs. They often have little samples of the pickles, variety of rice crackers, and mochi rice sweets. I got to see two Buddhist rituals conducted by the shaved head priests clad in yellow, purple or green satin robes with a kind of apron hanging in front and back. They used drums, rattles, chanting, and fire. The priest took people’s possessions and blessed them over the fire at the temple in Narita.
Love: We think there’s something wrong if a couples doesn’t sleep in the same bed or have frequent sex, but they think you sleep better in your own futon. I’ve done individual session with married people who stopped having sex after they had kids.
I spent three nights on Lanai, where I spent most of my time on the beach, snorkeling and swimming with the spinner dolphins. I realized they decided if they would come around me or not. The first day I was surprised to see them so close to the beach, put on my snorkel gear and jumped in and the darlings swam around me. I sent them Reiki symbols. I’d read dolphins and whales help hold together the planetary grid so I asked them to work with me on healing it. I felt so much love for them, I guess because they’re curious and intelligent. I know they’re also effective hunters so I don’t overly romanticize them. The second day I got hyper about seeing them and didn’t. The third I relaxed and they came to visit around three times. A friend and I just chatted and tread water way out in the bay looking for them and they’d come and go.
Lanai hosted the opening of Aloha Week with the investiture of a court and king and queen dressed in formal black satin. Governor Linda Lingle was there to participate. It was a small gathering so I knew I could talk to her about my friend Dolores’ project. D has worked extremely hard and effectively to preserve the sacred sites and rare plants at Waimea Gardens on Oahu. I waited behind the grandstand after her welcoming remarks and summarized what Dolores’ report found.