Skip to main content

Local Temple

shinju shrine

Up these stairs there’s an ordinary temple, a place of solemn peace and quiet.  A place that’s far removed from the noise of Tokyo’s ultra touristy mega shrines that attract millions of visitors this time of year. 


Hundreds of stairs up the way leading to this temple, full views of southern Yokohama come into clear view on the first day of the new year.


Here, there’s a statue of the great Buddhist teacher named Nichiren who taught devotion to the well known sutra Namu-Myōhō-Renge-Kyō.

Historically, Buddhist temples were responsible for the handling of matters related to the dead whereas the  Shinto shrines was and is still today the indigenous religion of Japan, which has more to do with deity worship and living things.

Sometimes, you can see both a Shrine and a Temple in close vicinity to each other.  Such is the case for this shrine/temple - nearby.  There were many gravesites that had beautifully engraved marble head stones.


And then a curious passerby was surprised to see me there around her neighborhood temple.  No. I didn’t  try anything.  Too “Juku” for me( too far up in age).   She and I had a wonderfully lighthearted conversation about the area, though.  She had a very contagious laugh, so whenever she laughed I laughed with her and both of our voices could be heard by everybody around.


I usually make my way to a shrine at the first of the year, but this time I chose to appreciate a temple.  Places like these need to be appreciated.  It was nice seeing people come around to clean up around the place.  People often bring energy and restore vitality to an old run down place.  I really love how Japanese will often times take very good care of old things.  Just because it’s old doesn’t mean it’s broke.  Sometimes I wish I had taken better care of my things in the past.  The sentimental value that old belonging can create can be a beautiful thing.  

Popular posts from this blog

Shin-Okubo: Little Korea

So I finally got around to going up there to Shin-Okubo,  the land of Seoul via the Yamanote Line.  Been putting this trip off for years for personal reasons;  I am not a fan of Hanlleyu.      I knew why I came up this way, and for none other reason than the food, and maybe to bask in the nausea of Korean romanticist who steal Japanese Jukujo's souls.    But honestly, I like spicy food and stews and pickled vegetables that challenge my taste buds.    I also love the little funky cafes that line the main thoroughfares and alley ways, each with their own little eclectic menus and interior decor.     This place is Korea.  

Shin-Okuba represents more than just a place to relish in Korean culinary delights and K-pop culture, but a place where Koreans can express themselves through their culture.    You can feel the local vibe in the air as you're walking down narrow walkways and footpaths.    I have personally been to mainland Korea six times, so a lot of the nostalgia was there …

August: The Return of Souls

August is peak summer season in Japan.  We can look forward to some of the most spectacular fireworks displays and festivals in the world, especially  in places like Tohoku and Kanto regions.  August is also  the most contentious month of the year in Japan; with the end of the war and war-related guilt.    Then there's the great exodus back home for millions of Japanese.   Obon season is what it's called in Japan, and it's  where families return to their hometowns to remember their ancestors and to spend time with loved ones.  Gravestones are visited, cleaned, and washed; rice or alcohol is often placed on  miniature altars next to a  headstone.  This is a way for Japanese to reconnect with their roots; a way for them to stay grounded and founded in the ways of tradition and cultural protocol.   

For the foreign tourist, some places will be overcrowded and expensive to reach; for Japanese, this is normal and can't be helped.   Wherever you go there will be lines and h…

Japan Board of Education: Amazing Grace...?

Japan Board of Education Textbook.
Amazing Grace
Shuken Shuppan  Polestar textbook English Communication

Preface:  Japanese / Japan is  one of the leading donors in humanitarian aid around the world.   They have donated billions of yen to charities, developing countries, and startup business to just about every country on the globe.  Some Japanese have even taken matters to the extreme  to the point of poking their noses into hotspot areas like Palestine and Isreal, things the Japanese may want to avoid.  Had Japan shared its borders with an ethnic minority with its own government, the relative peace and calm of this country would be questionable.   No other country can be like nor emulate Japan.   So, where does this spirit of charity and altruism come from exactly?   Why do the Japanese feel they need to save the whole world, while caring very little for its own people?   It's the Board of Education...?  The essay below is one such example of what Japanese kids learn in school,…