Transcendence and water

One of the highlights of my visit to Tsubaki Grand Shrine(and from what I can tell, others’ visits, too) has been misogi, a purification ritual done in water. A central part of Shinto, misogi is an act that strives to remove impurities from us so that we can better be in harmony with nature and … Continue reading

Kyoto is awesome

I spent the entire day and part of the evening in Kyoto, one of the most historic and important cities in Japan. Ochiai-san, one of the Tsubaki priests, and I visited most of the big tourist destinations and at least one, the Umekoji Steam Locomotive Museum, that’s a bit more off the beaten path. In … Continue reading

Trip to Ise Grand Shrine

If Tsubaki Grand Shrine is like a big parish church with a lot of staff and many members, Ise Grand Shrine is like Vatican City. Years ago, I visited Rome and saw the papal city, and it’s the only thing that compares to Ise in my mind in terms of the sheer number of people. … Continue reading

The gravel path

Each day we rake the gravel paths making lines, smooth, straight. The visitors worry. Is it ok to walk on that? They ask. Go ahead, I tell them, go on. They step carefully, trying not to disturb the pattern. Secretly, I’m happy. Mess it up, friends, go ahead. I know what they’ve forgotten – it … Continue reading