Toyama Prefecture

Toyama Prefecture

Finally had a chance to revisit Toyama properly.    Last time was just a stop over for ramen, this time turned into a nice jaunt, and again sample the ramen.  I had to eat this delicious bowl of Toyama Black, and yes you can have it in Tokyo, too.  For me, it's better to be in the place where it's known best, the backcountry of Toyama.   Imagine with me for a moment, thick cuts of melt in your mouth pork, bamboo shoots soaked in an aromatic soy sauce black pepper broth... Noodles are boiled to perfection.  Because you are in Hokuriku the soy sauce is not like the stuff people pour over sushi in the States with, but a much more refined and milder version of soy sauce.   Don't imagine it like you would something you use on other Japanese food, but something a better.  If you love black pepper without a doubt this ramen will be a hit.

Why Toyama?  Nobody has really heard about this prefecture.  Is it like Tokyo?   Tokyo is Tokyo, not Japan, per say.    Tokyo could actually stand on its own as a country because of its sheer density, culture,  and local economy.    Tokyo favors sight-seekers while Toyama favors the nature lovers and the tree huggers.   Toyama is very much Japan while Tokyo is a hodgepodge of different fusion concepts and designs, fusion foods, and cultural anomalies.    Tokyoites still think it's un-Japanese to share a bath with the opposite sex, and the same could be said for all of Kanto region.   Cultural purism abounds in every other prefecture except Tokyo Prefecture( actually not a prefecture, but could be considering its size and population). 

Kansui Park has one of the most beautiful promenades for walking and is arguably one of the best date spots.   Bridges, canals, waterways, and plenty of spots to sit on green grass and wide open spaces.   Breathe in the clean fresh air while taking in the gorgeous vistas of the bay and mountains.   You could easily spend an entire afternoon here being lazy.  Maybe even read a book on Toyama's lush greenery.    I got online to see if I would be able to book a room for the evening.  Lucked out and found a place in Unazuki Onsen; huge room with a 24-hour hot spring bath and only a 5-minute walk from the station.   I took the last room and off I went.  I made all of my connections on time thankfully and had no preparation for this trip.   Everything was serendipitous like it was all meant to happen just for me.    On a final note for Toyama City, there are lots of museums, pubs, natural parks, and some decent places for shopping.   Its transportation hub is very well thought out and English is spoken by many people here.

Toyama for me represents the coming together of the very best the West has to offer without the gaudiness of Harajuku and the swankiness of Omotesando and the Ginza.   Toyama is the place for  the Eurocentric fashionistas who prefer a more toned down image when they drink their coffee.   A moderately reserved city with clean-cut urban professionals that have a healthy appreciation for city life.   People who live here love it here and many would balk at the idea of living anywhere near Tokyo. 

The reason I chose to visit was for the legendary hot spring baths, delicious water, craft beer, and Japanese sake, and in typical fashion had a chance to chat with Hokuriku's lovely Jukujo.     From Kanazawa Station it takes about 20 minutes on the Hokuriku Shinkansen to reach Toyama Station.    If you want to by-bass Toyama Station you can continue on to Kurobe-Unazuki Onsen Station ( This is a shinkansen stop!).  From there you can take another line directly to Unazuki Onsen.    I chose to spend the afternoon in Toyama City for only one reason and that reason was to spend a lazy afternoon sipping coffee at the gorgeous Kansui Park Branch Starbucks Coffee shop, aka...voted the most beautiful Starbucks in the world!   It's basically just a glass terrace version of Starbucks overlooking Kansui Bay.   You can imagine how difficult it is to get a seat!   I lucked out and was able to get the best spot to enjoy my N.Y. cheesecake and straight black.  ( divine).

The rail networks is really great if you like trains.  Train enthusiast will love Toyama's dated train station all neatly preserved in original form.    Train lines meander around ridges and valleys and lowlands.   Take in views of soaring cliffs and rice terraces filled with water.   Catch a glowing  red sunset over rice paddies with snow-capped mountain ranges in the backdrop!  This is Toyama Prefecture....(sigh).    One interesting note about the Kurobe Line is that you can bring your bicycle onboard without breaking it down.  Just roll it right on the trains and keep it next to you.  The two lines you may want to remember are the Ainokaze Toyama Railway and the Chiho Railway lines.  These lines will take you to some of the most pristine areas arount Toyama Prefecture.

Again, if you choose to not go directly to Toyama Station, Kurobe Unazuki Onsen is a major shinkansen station you can get off at, and from there you can board local trains bound for Kurobe City.

Finally, arriving at nightfall, I walked out of Unazuki Onsen Station gates and was impressed at this lovely fountain shooting up hot steamy hot spring water.   Quite a few Chinese and Korean tourist, too.

After check-in, I had one of these!  Unazuki Beer made from river water and hops grown right in Kurobe.  Quite refreshing after a long journey from Kanazawa Prefecture.   Pure water is the source of pride for the locals here in Kurobe and boasts one of the purest water dams in the world.   

Nightfall came, and the moon was full and the skies were clear.  I opened up the veranda windows wide and sat out drinking just beer.  T.V. was on and volleyball was on the tube.   The beer and onsen went straight to the bones and I fell into a deep sleep.   When I woke up the next morning the weather was gorgeous and sunny.   I grabbed some nihonshu and went down to the outdoor bath to enjoy my liquid breakfast.  Who needs solids, anyway...?

I took my time and checked out nice and slowly.   I took 5 dips in this onsens all night and morning.  Had a chance to reflect on a lot....The last onsen I visited was on the other side of town just after lunch called Kindama Onsen, and it is super amazing water.

Mission accomplished....


Deboning MacArthur

( Old Soldiers Do Die and Fade Away)

Had a fantastic discussion today with students about the former Occupational Authority under then American General Douglas MacArthur. We talked about such things like the family nucleus and at how directives under SCAP affected millions of households in Japan during and after the Occupation.
We also discussed topics about religion and white worship and about Democracy and how Japanese people have changed over the years from generation to generation. Questions like, what were MacArthur’s real motives and was he genuinely interested in rehabilitating the Japanese people, or was there a much more sinister plot, one that saw Japan as one massive experiment in radioactive fallout, or a Milgram’s style social psychology experiment….? I could probably name a few more plausible conspiracy theories out there, too.
Some students did acknowledge an inherent white worship, while others were in denial. Some knew absolutely nothing about the breakdown of the family as most have grown up in households where there was either very little communication or none at all, for them this is considered normal.  
Prior to the Occupation, it was quite common for multi-generations of family members to live together under one roof. The family nucleus was much stronger back then than it is today. Families did things like share meals, bathed, watched television, and listened to radio together. The support network back then amongst family members was strong prior to MacArthur. Now, it's quite rare to see this bond between family members and neighbors, especially in the cities, and amongst the older generation.
Under SCAP directives the family nucleus was broken and disrupted in order to weaken the strong bond shared by family. Young men were directed to start families of their own and to live in their own homes away from parents and grandparents. In actuality, this directive, by MacArthur, was derived from Christian principles, whereby a man is supposed to leave his mother and father's home and take a wife unto himself and the two ‘shall become one flesh, idea,which is wholly inconsistent with Asian culture in general where the children are supposed to take care of their parents regardless of marital status.
Of course there are certain considerations that need to be taken into account, too, but we now know that through blamestorming the initial cause for the breakdown in the family nucleus had it's early beginnings due to the poison of Christianity and MacArthur(ism). Other things that may have also contributed later on would be decadence and conspicuous consumption after prosperity finally came to the country, and then subsequently over-westernization and the sissy(phication)[herbivore men] of the Japanese man .
Prior to MacArthur, a Japanese mother could choose her own mid-wife and deliver her own baby in the comfort and safety of her own home with family. . Directives under SCAP forbade mothers from doing this and forced them to deliver their babies in hospitals; not even breastfeeding was permitted. As a result, babies were forced to go on formula further weakening the bond between mother and child through artificial feeding. Everything, from child rearing to education was institutionalized by SCAP, even the most sacred of all institutions including the Shinto faith had to undergo a complete overhaul, not even the dead could be interred properly according to centuries of tradition.
On the surface, this sounds like a reasonable thing to do from a medical and occupational stand point of view, but culturally, these policies have only proven to be purely divisive and destructive.
Under MacArthur, all vestiges of Japan’s military past had to be tragically uprooted for the sole purpose of, according to MacArthur, the implementing of Democratic principles. For Japan to have a Democratic form of government would mean better representation for the people and voter rights and universal suffrage for women. This may all sound and look good on paper, but in practice hardly any Japanese , save a few hundred or a thousand protesters, push for change in their own government Democratically. Most would rather complain about how corrupt the government is while doing very little to affect change in these institutions. 90% of the Japanese live as if the Meiji era constitution is still in place as evident in society where following the status quo is the norm under a top down system of government where strong leaders get the vote.
In other words, if former prime minister Mr. Koizumi in his official status were to say ‘ I’m going to visit Yasukuni on the 15th of August then Japanese would scream bloody murder because he violated the separation of church and State clause in the current constitution. These same Japanese people would also claim that Mr. Koizumi was being insensitive to his Asian neighbors and in defiance to international rules and norms. And yet, even with his annual visits to the Shrine and his insensitivity to his neighbors, Koizumi enjoyed and still enjoys the highest approval ratings of any Prime Minister in Japanese history. Even now, years later after leaving office he is still considered the most popular of all prime ministers in Japanese political history. So you see, it has nothing to do with Democracy, Japanese follow the strong man like they followed Emperor Meiji and his directives.
The younger generation is more in tune with Democratic values, but lack interest in the political process as a whole and could probably care less about what direction the country goes in. This “ I can do nothing about it” mentality also stems from MacArthur’s extensive social policies which are now proving to be the worst cultural disaster for the country. Some blame it on technology or Westernization, I hold MacArthur to blame for trying to force Christian values on an Asian culture.
In America, if we were to compare, we took prayer out of the schools in order to draw a clear line between god and society, now to what affect it has had on society is left up to speculation, but for sure it hasn’t enhanced American society. Young Japanese are starting to refuse singing of the national anthem of Japan citing constitutional reasons, which is really bullshit because so many have no real reason to refuse singing their own national anthem in the first place, other than what their lefty teachers tell them. Most probably have no idea what’s in their current constitution, so why would they refuse singing it based off some weak assumption that “ it violates my freedom of thought” if there’s no thought to begin with? How would they know if they have no concern and knowledge whatsoever about their own society and country?
In North America, Democracy has never served the interest and the needs of the poor, then and now. The disenfranchised working poor might have the right to vote, but their votes rarely ever count as evident through-out history, and in many more instances in North American history where minorities were taxed without representation. Instead, Government subsidized education, welfare, and medicine is not representation – just a bandage and a temporary fix to a long term problem.
On the religious front, because we have to have both Christian and Democratic ideals meshed together in order to proceed, according MacArthur, who invited U.S. Christian missionaries to Japan in the hopes that Christianity could make major inroads against the traditional Japanese religions of Shinto and Buddhism. It failed.
If we were to use Haiti for example, not North America because despite this being the de facto Democracy of the world, it is still largely controlled by the wealthy regardless of who’s in power. In Haiti’s case under former politician John Bertrand Aristide who was the nation’s first Democratically elected president, and who was also a Roman Catholic priest, who made Democracy his major platform, we can get a pretty good understanding of where Japan would’ve been had it went down the traditional route paved by its former captures through Western religion and Democracy. Only in Haiti's case, religion didn't encourage the wealthy to raise minimum wage so that Haitians could rise out of their poverty.
Mr. Aristide had all the trappings of an ideal leader for the West. He was educated, he embraced Western religions, he stood for Democratic principles, he enjoyed warm relations with  the United States under former president Bill Clinton. Haiti had a thriving Democracy and the people loved him for it. The U.S. loved him for it too, until he started pushing for better economic conditions for his own people; until he started demanding reparations from France, the country’s former colonizer. Haiti is such a small island with no leverage economically at all against the bulwark of American economic hegemony all across the Carribean and the Atlantic. America was no longer happy with its little experiment in Democracy with Aristide, but not because he was unDemocratic, he was too Democratic. He was becoming too popular and difficult to control. He was removed from power on baseless corruption charges.
There’s never a shortage of Christianity and Catholicism in poor and needy countries that have lost wars that were either initiated or instigated by the West. In every expansionist policy initiated by the West since the 14th century, the spread of Christianity has preceded it. Missionaries would come baring gifts and god in one hand, and in the other a dagger of deceit, making them more spy than saint. Funny how the Atheist prosper...?
Author and journalist John Gunther wrote that MacArthur and the Pope were the two most important people affecting religion in the world at mid-century.[12] MacArthur later remarked that he wanted to be remembered by history not for the many battles he fought, but for, in his view, "the solace and hope and faith of Christian morals" he gave Japan.
And all the while, as countries through-out Asia were being carved and doled out by the West, Japan kept a watchful eye as millions of Chinese and Southeast Asians willfully sat back and allowed Western nations to take control of their precious resources. We remember both Arrow Affairs. We also remember how the missionaries came, like when they initially came to the African continent bearing gifts and smiles and promises of a better way of life through their gods and their language, while all the while they were merely plotting the downfall for generations of Asians and Africans through the guise of charity and a free meal, like today. Yet, Asians and Africans have to be grateful and show gratitude to our former colonizers, and we are not supposed to be bitter and resentful because of the prosperity some of us have received while the vast majority of us have still not found our place in the world.
MacArthur and his minions bombed Hiroshima and Nagasaki, they bombed Tokyo which was made up of a much larger swath of land then than what you see today. After the smoke settled the Japanese rebuilt Tokyo from the ground up with American blood money, which eventually ushered in a new era of prosperity for the Japanese. The Japanese in turn are supposed to be grateful to the Americans for this, and they are supposed to forgive the Americans for killing millions of innocent Japanese people, and the firebombings as well….. Japanese have simply moved on, forgive, no. How can you forgive the unforgivable. It would be unthinkable.
In contrast, in North America, the American negro is supposed to be grateful for having a half American negro half white president because he was elected as the first non-Anglo president, American negro are supposed to be forgiving of the negro Holocaust perpetuated at home and abroad by men who came in the cloth. The American negro is supposed to forgive and forget, which is another Christian principle that serves to weaken the minds of good and sensible peoples. All of Asia and Africa is supposed to be forgiving of Western atrocities because of so-called Christian values and show gratitude for receiving a Democracy and an English education and some prosperity, how arrogant.
On a side note, Just because I was born in America as a free man doesn't mean I have to be in cahoots with its foreign policy, then and now. We had negro soldiers during WW2 who weren't as fortunate. They were born free but without rights, and equality without quality education and representation as they had to attend segregated schools. It wasn't until 1941 that Roosevelt signed executive order 8802 into law prohibiting racial discrimination in the national defense industry - we now know that this had nothing to do with the human dignity of the American negro, but more to do with the legitimized murder of misguided negro; just more bodies for the war machine, more bodies for the meat grinder, in the Pacific Theater.
Moreover, racial segregation in the American armed forced continued on up until 1948, which is ironic to me because according to Japan's new constitution under SCAP racism was completely eliminated in Japan before it was eliminated in America, yet there were still negro soldiers fighting for America in the Pacific in limited capacity; cooks and dishwashers. Desegregation of the armed services ended in the fifties, contrary to what Harry Truman signed into law by 1948.
According to the VOA, African-American soldiers played a significant role in World War II. More than half a million served in Europe. Despite the numbers they faced racial discrimination: prior to the war the military maintained a racially segregated force. In studies by the military, blacks were often classified as unfit for combat and were not allowed on the front lines. They were mostly given support duties, and were not allowed in units with white soldiers
Back on topic,
The reason I presented this element into my essay is because it highlights a pattern among many former colonies through out Asia and Africa, and negro in the Diaspora. When Western expansionist policies become firmly supplanted into a society where sacred institutions such as the indigenous religion of the people become subjugated, the victim nation looses sight of his/her moral compass and starts to fight for the victor in wars that have absolutely nothing to do with the original victims of the War that made them victims in the first place.
The American negro fought to prove that he could be a competent slave all over again, but this time with a gun, and for some respect through the killing of innocent people abroad. He had to prove that he could fight alongside his former slave owners descendants in order to be considered worthy to be called American, the four hundred years of free slave labor their ancestors faced wasn’t enough for their descendants even be called an American, they had to kill for Uncle Sam instead. This is despicable at best and a shameful legacy of the negro race. The negro could've stood up like Mohammad Ali. But I guess that falls beyond the scope of pure reasoning; my enemy's enemy is my enemy logic, because my enemy told me that if I fight his enemy, then my enemy will consider me his friend and give me a cookie. Way to go Bubba Gump.
In Japan’s case, The Japanese didn't have to stoop so low as to take up arms for its enemy for international recognition on the war front. But I suspect had Christianity took root in Japan, and had the Emperor converted to Christianity like MacArthur had contemplated, then Japan as we know it today wouldn't even exist in the same way that has charmed those of us who live and work here, and for the rest of the millions of others who admire and love Japanese culture and traditions. Chances are this country would've been sectarian, remained dirt poor, and dependent on Western powers, much like Afro-Caribbean countries, had the Catholics and Protestants had their way here! We should bring back Nero, this way the Christian problem would be completely eliminated from the whole world! Christianity brings oppression and economic dependency to non-Western and non-Anglo aligning nations that only serve the rich and influential at the expense of the poor and indigent.
I don't pay homage to MacArthur. I don't acknowledge him as a great leader nor as a soldier of valor. MacArthur was a politician, and frankly speaking, lost his wits when he advocated using the atomic bomb again on another country. He was nothing more than a warmongering religious zealot with an over-sized ego who did more harm than good to Japan. Maybe some day the Japanese can be a proud nation again without the legacy of a dead American general as an influence.


Japan: School Textbooks

From the Desk of the Soul of Japan

The Board of Education, along with its teachers get together to decide which textbooks to use in their schools.  The selection process for which books to use is highly contentious because the BOE and the Japanese Government rarely see eye-to-eye on what curriculum is best for students.   I will introduce three textbooks in this post.

On the one hand, many of the teachers are seen as left-wing leaning in their stance on education, and prefer to teach on themes that are light hearted watered down versions of history, English, and social studies.   On the other hand, the government wants to introduce a more progressive curriculum for students with subjects that touch on oral history and real life situations related to Japan.

Most Japanese students of today have zero relevant knowledge about the world other than their own subculture.   Most high schoolers are still reading books  about how to make friends with foreigners and how to be more international minded even now - in 2016!   They are way behind the Times.   I have argued with these people about their materials and what they should be presenting to the younger generation of today.   Ignorance is bliss is no longer cute.

The two big textbooks being used in Japanese high schools are Big Dipper and Vivid for the English program.   These two textbooks teach more than just English, they also teach social studies, history, and cultural awareness with little care about how useful the subject material would be in a real life situation.   I have read these books from cover to cover and find the contents rather non-educational.  Topics on the internet, telephone talking, and American  activities, and more fill the pages of this book...  The usual subjects but repackaged and re-taught again every single year.   Publishers are Suken Shuppan and Daiichi Gakushusha.

The textbooks I brought  to their attention and one that all high schools in Japan should be teaching is published by Ikuhosha.  This is a government-approved textbook that covers more relevant topics of today more vigorously.  The books is titled atarashii mina koumin  ( Everybody is new Citizen).    This book touches on topics related to Japan with a more mature angle.  Subjects that make students think about the realities of their own country and the world.   Most teachers focus attention away from issues at home, and only focus on light topics and on subject material that is not thought-provoking.

This would explain why many young people take little interest in what is happening in their societies today, and why many simply do not care.   The ones that do care don't think they can do anything to bring change or that their voices have no meaning.  


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.


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