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Showing posts from May, 2016

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.    Toky…

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 stu…

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 …

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 …

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 f…

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…