Hokuriku: Ishikawa and Toyama

No blog on Japan would be complete without some information on Hokuriku, so in a two-part post I will introduce a little about Ishikawa Prefecture first and then Toyama Prefecture second.  The last time I explored this part of Japan was  several years ago when I did not have much time, and Ishikawa and Toyama were just along the way to our destination in Gifu.   That time was by my car with my twin flame and that adventure was epic.   It's good to start from the Noto Peninsula and work your way around the coastline on route 249 first.   A great feature is the beach driveways along with traditional Japanese landscapes!   Imagine driving your car across the sandy beach right up next to the ocean and feeling the sea breeze through your window...  Or maybe like many locals who have tailgate parties every weekend and beach parties.  Your car is there with you, your beer, and your friends.

Noto Peninsula is the piece of land jutting out into the Sea of Japan.  Wajima and Suzu area.

The things to remember before coming to this part of Japan is the water, sake, breweries, food, convenience stores, parks, and so much more.   When and if you come up this way you need a week to really enjoy the area.   Click on the words that are highlighted and read up on the different foods and products I personally wrote up.

This time around I was not driving, I took a highway taxi mini-bus.   This was great cause I could enjoy drinking the local sake  with my favorite sake cup made from earthenware sourced from Suzu City.  Some experts claim that the wine glass is better for capturing the aroma and taste of sake while others claim the small earthenware sake cups capture the tradition and feel of the sake.  For me, I use both because the pottery feels good in the hands and it maintains the temperature quite nicely.  Glasses are nice but are too inconvenient to carry around.   You never know when and where your next sip will be, so better to be prepared.

My destination was a sake camp in the deep north of Suzu.    Toiling away in the field growing world-class sake rice is something I do every year, and love it.  I like being part of the process of making great sake and meeting new people.   I love tasting the finished product, too.

As you wind your way round the peninsula  your eyes will be blessed with beauty, not only scenic beauty of the ocean and beaches, but the beauty of audio sounds produced by the tire friction created by your car.   Welcome to Mare-Road!   This is how you know you have entered the deep north of Noto.

The music your hear from your tires is from a famous T.V. drama here:

Construction workers put grooves into the roads so that your tire's  friction create the sounds in the music.

Another reason for creating this small stretch of highway is to keep drivers awake at night and to warn drivers that their speed should remain under 70 km/h!    Truly  a marvel of road construction.

All of Ishikawa is blessed with great rice and beautiful nature.  Upon arriving on site I inspected the rice that will be planted.

Ishikawa develops and makes its own rice varietals depending on what it is used for and what brewery is making their sake with.    Rice planting is fun work!

Normally,  you pinch off two or three stalk then push them into the soil by hand in even rows two by two.
The work is funner barefoot, especially if you don't mind stepping on millions of little tadpoles under your feet.  Wearing boots just makes the work harder, or you can use the tools below.

People who eat together work better together.  The food for lunch was amazing!   Rice wrapped in leaves and deep fried tempura and all kinds of assorted mountain vegetables was amazing.  

The dinner party that night was even more amazing, but to keep this post on point I won't blog about it.  Everybody here are locals except for some of us.  The thing to remember up this far north in Ishikawa is that the soul of Japan is not just a soul of Japan.  We are group thinkers.  Each and every individual in Japan works for the collective greater good of the other.   We serve each other and ourselves last, as with the pouring of sake and food.   Check out the deep links above and follow it up back to this post.



Druidry and Spirit Guides

Druidry and Spirit Guides
( Theme Music: Chukhung Biosphere - Substrata ) ( Kobresia)

Drawing inspiration from nature.   Living in Japan.  

The mind revealing itself to itself...

spiders and stick bugs: the analogy of patience

Many foreigners overlook life lessons we learn right here in Japan.  We use a lot of Western logic to deduce down common sensical things like when we ask stuff like " why Japanese, why?"  Or, why is being two-faced  a cultural feature of the country, and how it's the Japanese thing to do here, without any shame or conviction....

Druidry is a spiritual path based on Nature.  The knowledge we have can be found everywhere.  People are placed in our lives to test us, to make us better people, so we seek from within to understand what we must learn from the fakes and snakes.  The peace from within flows from outside in, through a breeze, a flowing river, or when a salmon battles up stream to lay its eggs.   

( "In the West we derive common sense from our parents, society, Murphy's Law, biblical passages, divination, and so on...")

It is said that....

Druidry is a spiritual path based in Nature. The knowledge we have can be found everywhere. In Druidry, the Spider represents The Bard, the Ovate and the Druid. As a Bard it produces works of art as depicted in the many kinds of webs it can produce; as an Ovate seer, to determine the best spot for the web or hide-out for the hunt, and the lessons the animal teaches us shows us the Druid side of Spider lore, or as some call it, Spider Medicine. 

The appearance of the stick bug is a reminder to be patient. We should continue what we have been doing, quietly camouflaging our endeavors. The stick bug indicates results are coming, but we must allow them to come in their own time. When we do, we will be in a better position to grab them and use them for our benefit. 

The stick bug reminds us to focus on our own activities and ourselves. It is also an indication that meditation and prayer will bring much greater results and benefits now. There is something in the offing, but we must be able to recognize it. This is where personal stillness--meditative and altered states of quietness--come into play. There may even be signals of what is coming through the dream state. 

( “ white candles are for meditation and purification”)  Light one....

Stick bugs are experts at camouflage. They hold still, keeping their legs and bodies in a position to resemble twigs. Their appearance is always a reminder to camouflage our intentions and our activities. We should keep them hidden beneath the surface. Most do their feeding at night, using the dark to further cloak their presence. Stick bugs also remain motionless around large animals, including humans, and are very difficult to detect. They remind us that for the greatest success in laying a strong foundation for our endeavors, we should use camouflage. We should not let others know of our activities. Present the appearance that nothing is happening, but prepare quietly and thoroughly for what we seek to accomplish and we will find ultimate success. 

The appetites of stickbugs are great, and if their numbers are abundant enough, they can defoliate trees and bushes, especially oak trees. (The significance of oak trees should be studied by anyone for whom the stick bug appears.) Because of its appetite, when stick bug appears, our appetites may be getting out of hand and may be becoming too public. We may be letting the wrong people know of our goals and endeavors. Stick bugs can also warn of being too open and too trusting. An old adage speaks of strength through silence. Now is not a good time to let others know of your plans. Others may be undermining them or trying to steal them for themselves. 

I analyze my dreams both waking and deep sleep through recordings and notes I keep at my bed side, and have been doing this for years.  Through these recordings, I have learned a tremendous amount about myself and the people I have slept with over the years.  I predicted all of my breakups through my dream notes, and what would cause them.  The mind never sleeps, for lies require you to be awake in order to weave them.   The stickbug dream was profound.  

The other day, I came across a huge brown spider on my wall with noticeable urticating hairs on it.   Perhaps the biggest spider I have ever killed, the size of a small dinner plate.  I did not hesitate not once to smack it hard killing it instantly.   Maybe I should have just captured it and placed it outside gently, like a good Buddhist.   Not.   The spider teaches us to weave our own destiny, to create our own future, and to write our own legends.   Japanese cannot define our experiences for us here, but they can either be a part of it, or not, makes little difference.   You make your own experiences here and find in Japan what you love, and pursue it passionately.

I believe spirit guides come in  many forms, not  blond haired and blue eyed messengers sent from God himself, for God is not  like a Japanese.   Who worships people who drop atomic bombs on them?  Is that supposed to make sense?  Requires patience....you see...It all really requires patience and understanding.    

In Japan, there are over 100,000 Shinto shrines!  The essence of nature worship is there, the beauty of the wooded gates, water, and air.  It's all there...even when great tragedy befalls you, we move with the water, the tides ebb & flow.   Life goes on.   The pain of death and birth, the newness of life.  Time heals all.   It's a beautiful process of life and death.    The Japanese have a reverence for nature, but uncommon common sense.    If they can merge and understand the two, they would truly be on to something.

Expats who live here try to use common sense to make sense out of uncommon common sense here.  You just go with it.  You know the drill.   Same chit different generation.   Stop trying to change the unchangeable.  You know you love the ancient teachings.  You know what it feels like to be here, in the picture standing alongside  giant pines and oaks.    Spirit guides exist everywhere, even in Japan.


Nine Headed Dragon Shrine: Kuzuriyu Shrine

In European tradition the dragon is typically fire-breathing and tends to symbolize chaos or evil, whereas in East Asia it is usually a beneficent symbol of fertility, associated with water and the heavens.  Not all dragons have wings, but come in the form of a serpent.

      (" Dragon is also  derogatory as fierce and intimidating person, especially a woman, and like some I have  known" ). 

The dragon is one of the most endearing mythical creatures in the world.   Something about a giant reptilian serpent possessing great magical powers with a charming voice to go along with it.   Or, maybe it's their  huge oval shaped dilated pupils in their hazel split eyes that glare back at you before (she) consumes your whole body in a trail of flames.   Engulfing the whole area in a fit of rage.   Perfume scented wings outstretched - I can still smell them.     Chest swollen and long shimmering black  scaly neck elegantly coiled as she rises up on her two hind legs.   Seconds before my death I steal a look at the musculature of her long hour glass torso and forelegs.   She is so tall and beautifully figured, even in deat~~~~h(....)

This shrine is famous for bestowing blessings upon new business ventures and matchmaking.   Every 13th day of the month there is a festival where you come to the shrine(s)here in Hakone and pay a shinto priest money to pray for your desires.   I say shrines because there are a cluster of shrines in the same area that are all under the same name Kuzuriya Shrine.   And then, there are a few others in other parts of Japan that have associations with this shrine.   One shrine I had been to with a Shonan Jukujo lover is called Togakushi Shrine. tucked away deep in Nagano Prefecture.   The thing to remember when visiting any shrine in Japan is that the water basin is for rinsing your hands and mouth, not for drinking.  This post is only about one segment of Kuzuryu, not the main shrine.  

Lake Ashinoko
I tone mapped the center of the top photo to highlight the bizarre wood growth from this crater lake.  All over Ashinoko you can see trees grow in strange ways.   

The Ferry departs from Hakone terminal and from it you can get some amazing views of this crater lake valley that's replete with tiny little torii gates sticking up out of the water.  Sunsets and fireworks shows are the best times to be on a cruise from this boat.

Quietude of Lake Ashi

Gentle breeze moved in from the lake rustling the leaves and ferns.  I could hear the boats creaky sounds from the water.

Giant Keyaki Trees
Off the beaten path, up a meandering narrow patch of earth,  a dense  forest lies ahead.   My destiny is about 3km from the main road atop Lake Ashinoko's dormant volcano crater.    The whole area is a power-spot.  My mission was to tap into some ancient mysticism, and to feel the pulse of a million generations of fervent prayers prayed here.   Welcome to Nine Headed Dragon Shrine.

I love Japanese shrines.   I love how time beautifies shrines; chipped paint, weather worn gates, and growth of strange vegetation.    There's an offering box with money inside from those seeking love, success, and great fortune.   Souls have prayed and died here it feels.   The energy still lingers about.   Not a touristy place at all, but more of a solemn place of quiet reflection and consecration.  A place where souls go seeking miracles and answers to life's most  perplexing question.    I love places like these

Truly a preserve of the rich up here, a place full of lush greenery and thick aromatic shrubs.   The air is clean and crisp and smell of  sweetness from calcium rich mineral springs.   The heavens and the water really do meet here.   If you come here in the mornings you can see a thick foggy mist roll in from the waterfront.  Mystical and enchanting, and a bit eerie at the same time.  

The picture below is a weathered torii gate, and these can be found all over Japan, even as far as Asia

Reaching here you need to take the Hakone Tozan Bus either from Odawara Station or Hakone Yumuto Station bound for Lake Ashinoko.   From Tokyo it's about 3 hours depending on which train you take.   There is another route here as well, so check with your local tour guide.  I came via 50cc.  Liberating not having a schedule and being able to move about freely and being totally alone and in solitude.    Lake Ashinoko is located in Hakone, a pristine hot spring resort town located in southern Kanagawa Prefecture.    

The appeal is the crater lake that has shrines dotted along the waterfront - tiny little shrines with red torii gates.    These little torii are very Japanese and can be found wherever a Japanese has consecrated a place in the name of the Emperor of Japan.   The only travelers who would ever come this deep into the sticks would be someone who has a deep love connection with Japan.   If you are looking for gaudy gum-smacking airheads, and smart phone camera toting freaks you won't find them here.   Somethings should never change.  

looking into the vast expanse of the universe


Ashi-san, according to the Western faith of Christianity, the Bible says in ("Luke 8:17 - "For nothing is hidden that will not be made manifest, nor is anything secret that will not be known and come to light"). Ashi-san, what is your interpretation on this biblical verse? I want to believe that the prayers I have sent up to the universe will be answered and that no secrets will be hidden from me.  I do not know your precepts Ashi-san.  Nor, do I understand the laws that govern the secretive nature of the Japanese race.  Nor do I understand the divine laws of anything.   I am an empty vessel.   I want to believe.  I choose to believe that miracles exist here and the now.   Reveal to me the truth of my love. 


Infinitesimal Beauty: The Veil is Rising

The veil is rising 

Easing off 
my fear strained face,
it catches 
on crystalized tears,
pulling away 
I bath in liberty

The first airless void
stills all movement,
abandon was never 
nameless, faceless 

No longer condemned 
sliding towards the light,
I take in my first breath 
free of regret and torment 

In the ensuing minutes
infinitesimal beauty
takes my breath again 
as I exhale my first sigh...

By Jane Eggins

It took me awhile to come to terms with this, to put it all together.   

The Ice Queen and the Martyr 
We sacrifice ALL for our Ice Queens : 
The dawn of the new Japanese ( light a candle)
Resting my nose on the bathroom door hinges and taking in a nose flaring  sniff, I follow a long and  aromatic trail of her shit.  
It's pathetic guys just to crawl up to say to her “ I looove you!”  is enough to turn her stomach while sending her ego through the roof, for I worshipped her!   
For they hate the very nature of love, and all that it represents.   Love is a dagger that pierces their armour.  They spend years perfecting ways to protect themselves against love.   Perfecting ways to use your love against you, to control you to destroy you.  To crucify you.  For we are not worthy; our egos bruised and alter egos  ripped to shreds.  Broken in pieces is what’s left in the Ice Queens wake of terror.   At times the feeling is downright emasculating; a visceral castration  where all that’s left are a pair of dangling and withered balls between the legs - knees still  quivering.   
The icy queen is heartless and boundless.   She is unrestrained and unbounded from social norms and other social conventions.   For her, social conformity is a weakness.   She is the embodiment of self.
confidence.  She is the cerebral narcissist, the very angel of death in the flesh.  The goddess of damnation.  Murderess of the soul.   A master manipulator and con-artist.  She is the one that is loved, and loved deeply!
The Ice Queen is the perfect woman.  She is well-educated; well-spoken, and very cultured.   She has worldly and academic knowledge.   She makes the best wife candidate.  She is skilled in all the arts of seduction and deception.   God in flesh form.  An answer to all of our prayers.  A waiting to exhale moment.   The be all and end all.  Only in the beginning.
It all started with my ex. Alcoholic Japanese female velodrome  athlete with her massive and thick smooth legs and flawless skin standing over me, seemingly towering over me - creased epicanthic folds in her eyes.   
She's Stripped down to her panties and beating me and berating me over one grain of rice I let drop to the floor.  Get down on the ground!  Eat that rice off the floor.  Look up at me.  Epicanthic folds with black eyes piercing through them and deep into my soul. Sickly and hauntingly beautiful her flawless face is when she is enraged.  Creamy white skin with pulsating veins in the neck.   I can see her heart palpitating  through her sweat soaked jersey.  Cheek bones red and puffy.   I am in heaven.  The smell of  hot spit and vaginal musk permeating through the air and into my nostrils, slight tumescence in my penis; a reaction to fear and love.  Even her pubic hairs are long and fine, like woven silk protruding from the edges of her panties; some lain across her beautiful hamstrings still wet from the days ride.    I still collect them in hopes of weaving a kimono made of 100%  of her silky pubic hair.   A miracle of God, actually.   It is true.  Women from Niigata have long silky pubic hair - trust me.  Maybe make a silk pubic noose to hang myself from them.
I used to astral project into her through deep meditation.   All in hopes of tapping into her inner pussy, while dangling from her heart chakra.    The Cerebral Narcissist is very difficult to mentally hack, this is because they have spent years learning how to create firewalls in their minds.   Blocks that conceal their truest of self.   They use you for supply, and use your love against you.   The narcissist ice queen is disconnected from her pussy.  Her vagina serves as a tool used to deceive and manipulate.  To control and abuse.   Often times, actually most times, cerebral narcissist prefer masturbation to actual sex.    Actual sex requires reciprocity whereas masturbation you satisfy yourself, ten minutes tops.     Once they have secured their supply they lose complete interest in sex, then devote all of their time and energy to intellectual pursuits.  My ice bitch achieved  her Master’s before 25 years of age from a prestigious English speaking University overseas.   A research fellow.   She came to me in the form of an angel, more beautiful than Lucifer before the fall.
The Age of Aquarius is here.  Be forewarned my brothers.  You are warned.   The new dawn of mentally aware Japanese women are among us.   They are highly educated and purposed in life.   Totally void of love.  They seek to use and discard only to repeat the cycle again.  

Escaping back to my quiet place, in the womb of my desire.  A Jukujo saved me from destruction.  
Musical Score:  Sketches of the Dream


Yahiko Shrine 弥彦神社

         "The enshrined god who rules over Ya-hi-ko is called Ameno-Kaguyama-no-Mikoto (天香山命)"  

This particular shrine is designated as an " Ichinomiya" shrine, in other words, a high ranking shinto shrine within its province.   Yahiko is one of the highest ranking "ichinomiya" in  Niigata Prefecture.  Don't get it confused with modern ranking systems like with "Jingu"  or the great imperial shrines in the long list of "Kanpei-Taisha."  Just know that this shrine is revered amongst the locals in this area.  The whole area surrounding this shrine is a powerspot, which means there's a divine aura of spiritual energy here.   

The beauty of Yahiko Shrine is that it is not painted read and gold like many shrines in the Kansai area.  This is the original form of an authentic Japanese Shrine - all wood.   Adding paint was more vanity and to appeal to royalty and  aristocrats.   

Even the offering box ( sasenbako) is in its original form from centuries ago.  The surrounding wooded area is comprised of thousands of keyaki trees or Zelkova Serrata, a grainy wood highly prized in Japan for making taiko drums and expensive furniture.   

In Shinto you put anywhere from 10 yen to 15 yen in the offering box.  Step back, bow twice at a 45 degree angle then clap your hands two times then pray in silence.  When finished bow once and leave.   

One of the neat aspects of visiting a shrine is that you see so many ordinary people worshipping there and communing with their gods.   In this photo there is a bridge, and it is called Bridge of the Gods, or Tamanohashi.   Gods crossover this bridge to you, but you are not allowed to crossover it.   There is a reverence still left in Japan, a deep spiritual connection here.  I can sense it in the water as it trickles over stones and ravines and how it flows through valleys and gorges.   
I can sense it in the soft grassy patches of brush.  I can sense it in the sweet scented wind whipped cherry blossom trees dotted along the countryside.  

The whole of Japan is imbued with the essence of Shinto.  The wabi-sabi, the cranes that fly into the sky carrying the whispers of a thousand generations on its wings.

Leaving the shrine I headed about 3 km on foot southbound on a winding road.   I enjoy my walks in the countryside.   Whenever I am up this way I like to stop through and take a dip in a nice onsen to refresh and collect my thoughts.

I didn't realise how far the onsen was on foot, so I hitched a ride with a stranger and he dropped me off here at an onsen called "Sakura-no-Yu."   For those who have not been to one of these places onsen water comes in a variety of different mineral compositions.  This particular onsen has a mild and gentle sulphur smell to it.   Imagine rotten eggs smell and that'll give you some idea of what a sulphur spring smells like. PH is at around 9.70.  For those of you not familiar with this benefit the high ph will act as an emollient to the skin making it softer and smoother.   Onsen between 9 and 10 are premium hot springs that are more for beauty than therapy.   If you come at the right time you can see a row of cherry blossom trees in the back garden from the bath!  You can really feel Niigata.   Feeling blessed from prayers at the shrine and a soaking of the joints I headed back into town for some revelry.

For those that have followed my blog know what I love and what I do best.  I eat good Japanese food, drink premium sake, and love the local Jukujo.  Only this one is a young Jukujo.    She's drinking Kubota and is teaching me the ancient secrets.....


Follow by Email