Morning Blessings Received Years Ago, Not Forgotten

(This is a recently found account of a tour to a morning service at a Zen temple in Kyoto.) It was still a dark and cold early spring morning when we arrived a bit nervously at the impressive Zen temple in Kyoto. A young monk greeted us pleasantly. His obvious assignment was to instruct us…

Today, I Pack!

I have been lingering for several weeks now at the foot of the mountain I spoke about in an earlier blog (Top of the Mountain).  I’ve been in a mellow, dull state, most definitely uninspired. Days passed, I napped most afternoons. Early to bed, late to rise.  My husband requests Alexa play the music from…

RIP, My Friend Betsy

  Several years ago I joined a tour group to see a part of Japan that’s relatively hard to get to as a foreigner.  I’d requested a single room when I traveled because I’d learned from taking other tours I needed “time off” from the rest of the group when the day was done. At…

Welcome to Paradise.

    “Welcome to paradise,” announced the flight attendant, without a hint of irony, as we landed in Key West, Florida after a brief but glorious flight from Miami.    OK, I thought, let’s see what you’ve got. We’re here for several days, in this promised land. It’s quite beautiful here, despite the intense heat…

What’s so “Funny?”

As far as I can tell, Japanese possess a keen sense of humor. It’s even evident in  the anthropomorphic paintings by master artists on paneled screens painted hundreds of years ago.  A dragon who’s lost his spark or maybe his viagra?  A tiger looking sheepish. An ancient scroll reveals frogs and rabbits frolicking, for what…

The Weary Non-Traveler

I’ve been travelling a lot recently. Many arrivals and many departures.  Departures require a bit more thought and preparation. The return direction doesn’t require much more than throwing everything you’ve brought with you in a suitcase, and if you’ve bought anything, hoping your suitcase will expand just a bit more. I woke up early this morning to catch…

Bali Hai Redux

Do you know the song Bali -Hai from the musical South Pacific?  I loved every musical I saw growing up and knew the lyrics to all of them.  When I first saw the Florida Keys in 1958, I immediately began to sing Bali-Hai.  Not a perfect fit for the occasion, but close enough to satisfy my attraction…

The Foodie’s Heaven

Almost from the moment we set foot in Kyoto, my foodie husband is scouting for new restaurants in our neighborhood that have opened in our absence.  As hyped as I am to be sure to see the most intriguing gardens, sublime temples, cool museums and Japanese design shops, he’s on the edge of his seat…

Amen.

Who’s to say why I feel such a deep connection to Japanese places of worship, be they temples or shrines?  Is it the setting?  The architecture?  The gardens?  The rituals?  The air of mystery surrounding something I don’t understand very well? I can’t say for sure, but what I can say is that I am consistently…

Blissed out

Being here produces an almost constant high for me.  It’s allowed me to appreciate the drizzly days and foggy nights happening recently in Kyoto as being as beautiful and welcome as the sunny bright days. It’s admiring the magnificence of a huge polished wood counter when out for dinner at a neighborhood restaurant and the…

Must be Seen (again and again)

You are familiar with the statement, “Must be seen to be believed.” In the case of cherry blossom season, this is not an exaggeration.  It is truly a take – your – breath – away experience to be ingested and savored. The attachment the Japanese and I have to sakura cannot be overemphasized.  Weeks before…

A Half Day in the Life (cont’d)

If you ever need an excuse for overindulgence, just bring along some children for whom the word excess holds no meaning. So, the day began yesterday with our family gathering for breakfast at a small restaurant we’d discovered a few years ago.  It’s an Hawaiian import, specializing in taking a humble pancake and pushing it…