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Rokkaku-ji.  Rokkaku-ji.  Rokkakuji.  Bali Hai  Bali Hai.Bali Hai.

It’s become my neighborhood sanctuary. Simply walk through its ancient wooden gates into a small protected sacred space visited by neighborhood locals, bordered by high office walls and even a damn Starbuck’s.  No matter.  In my opinion, it’s a perfect retreat.

rokkaku ji

I’ve entered a world of innocence where weeping willows spout bows and cherry blossom petals float in the gentle breeze as a young girl tries to catch them.  Pigeons do insistent but quiet courtship dances at our feet while worshippers say prayers and visitors take selfies next to stately swans and beside the effusive blossoms on ancient sacred trees.

I like to light an incense stick now when I first arrive, giving thanks to whoever for my safe arrival and return to Kyoto. I pray to be able to return again.  Another spring.


Dianne Vapnek

In an attempt to slow life's quickening pace, I'm writing to share my personal perspective on the aging process, its dilemmas, the humorous self-deception, the insights and the adventure of it all. I spent the bulk of my time in beautiful Santa Barbara, CA, but manage to get to NYC a few times times a year. I've been a dancer/dance teacher and dance supporter almost all my life. For the past20years, I help create and produce a month-long creative residency in Santa Barbara for contemporary American choreographers and their dancers. It's been incredibly gratifying. This year, I decided it's time to retire! Big change. I also now spend several weeks a year in Kyoto Japan, residing for several weeks in the spring and the fall. I've been magnetically attracted to Japan for many years. Now I live out a dream to live there part-time.


  • Judi Wallner says:

    Am I correct in thinking that this is the same place where we sat in Starbucks trying to get Internet connections? The rest of the area was magical with the devotional rocks dressed in their crocheted hats and forming a little community of prayer.

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