After five days of rain and wind storms last week, the sun was shining brightly, and the blue skies reflected it.Usually, I would feel refreshed by the sunshine and blue skies, but my heart was still in darkness as the storm continued. My beloved dog granddaughter, Happy, who was always by my side, suddenly became…
It is almost the year 2023 completing.
Did you know Mercury retrograde on December 13 (this is 4th time this year)?
When Mercury retrograde occurs, it is said to have a variety of effects on our lives. for example…
Communication is not going well.
Transportation is delayed.
Poor internet connection.
Careless mistakes will increase.
and more. . . .
I am Aries.
Reading “The last Mercury retrograde of 2023 has eye-opening lessons for the zodiac signs” helped me for .
If you feel the walls are closing in on you, Aries, you may need to look sideways to find openings that lead you elsewhere. Creative, yet patient thinking backed with being quick-footed in times of need holds the key to forward movement for you. Watch out for emotional overwhelmedness and breathe through it all.
Anyway, so many things happened to my quiet life: my dog, Nalu, and I got attacked by a neighbor’s dog while we were walking in an alley and had to go to Urgent Care (it was not serious and the injury healed in about 10 days), the laptop crashed (had to go to the Apple Store in Santa Monica twice, and later had to talk to someone in India in order to speak to Santa Monica Apple store technician),
Eric’s van broke down (he had to take the Van to two locations to fixed), Eric and I had arguments, UPS’s package was delivered to the wrong location, somebody used my American Express, and yesterday I could not access my website’s dashboard to post my blog (I called for an hour to get the website fixed and was told it would take about 72 hours.)
Honestly, I got a little tired and was feeling down.
So I meditated with Eric, watched my favorite movie on Netflix, and slept.
This morning, when I refreshed myself and looked at the website, it was fixed! I am grateful that my website was fixed so now I am posting what I had written here.
By the way, Mercury reintegrated till January 1, 2024.
So… it rained a lot last night (December 29) in Santa Monica, where I live, and I was thinking about the middle of the night when I woke up because of the rain sound about what it would be like this morning, but then the beautiful sun came out.
I love the rain that falls in the middle of the night and the smell of “petrichor” from the morning sun.
“Petrichor” gave me the motivation to write about this past year.
According to Nine Star Ki astrology, the year 2023 was the season when I was in the winter-water position. It is the time of hibernation.
I didn’t hibernate in the past few winters, 2014, 2005, and 1996. I decided to take the courage to hibernate.
During hibernation, I set a schedule as floating water, working less, going out less, and teaching fewer classes.
I stayed at home and cherished the time I had with myself.
Grew vegetables, native plants, and medicinal herbs, watercolor, calligraphy, created naturally dyed fabric art, knitted sweaters, and started a draft of a new book.
Also, I decided to take Jung’s psychology monthly class via Zoom in September to understand my inner self, and every month, I have learned so much.
I have learned to enjoy a slow-paced life much more.
My only big trip was to Japan for my niece’s wedding.
I wanted to write about it on my blog someday, but I have yet to be able to do so.
I was sometimes irritated by the hibernation and loneliness.
I know spring is coming, and I look forward to it.
2023 marks an important milestone: 5 years since undergoing Red Devil chemotherapy for stage IV lymphoma cancer. (Confirm that the first goal is one year, the next is three years, and the final goal is five years, so it does not come back.)
My medical oncologist, Dr. Mead, has not seen any severe complications in me since 2017, and I am on only medication for bone, which is due to chemotherapy that I lost bone density. During my checkup, she was pleased to see me receiving A five-year goal.
I told Dr. Mead that I was writing my stage IV lymphoma cancer recovery story and asked her if she could write the foreword. Once I finished writing the book, she agreed to write it for me.
I was happy to hear about it, so I wish I could write more, but I have only written the beginning of chapter 1 and all the chapter’s temporary titles so far.
It will take a long time for me to finish writing, but I stopped aggrandizing myself that I did not write more.
I know deep inside that I will finish it at my own pace and make peace.
I am grateful for my shortcomings as much as my strengths.
I appreciate the gift of my health, my husband, the animal family I live with, and my friends and family.
May 2024 bring you and our health, happiness, and love.
I look forward to creating a new, slow-paced life.
It was on my mind to continue writing about the trip to Japan last spring, but once I lost the rhythm of focusing on writing, I could not get back to setting my mind to write.
Early this morning, it was raining.
I was listening to the sound and feeling the moisture of the air.
It was more humid than usual, and I remember living in Japan.
Instead of turning around on my bed, I got up and watched how the rain was coming down.
I felt an emotional atmosphere and followed my feelings.
The sky was milky indigo dark, and the color changed just before dawn to almost dark purple, which I could easily miss.
The sound stopped for a moment before birds sang.
I love this color before dawn and the moment of silence, and I feel I can love myself even though I am not productively living when I notice them.
Finally, I got the motivation to write (took time to sort out the photos – now October, but I hope you enjoy reading and seeing the photos.
So here I am, “Japan Spring 2023 Diary Day 6 Kyoto.”
Kyoto has been a very popular destination for Japanese people and foreigners for a long time as the cultural capital of Japan.
My most memorable visit to Kyoto was on a school trip for my 11-year-old elementary school student. I still remember it vividly because I had to write a diary with photos and illustrations as homework.
Ancient and modern cultures and buildings live perfectly together, making Kyoto attractive.
Kyoto People speak a soft, slow dialect, and their foods taste a little lighter than most Japanese foods, and even colors are pastel. 1600 temples and over 400 Shinto shrines in Kyoto.
It was my seventh time.
I woke up at dawn feeling excited coming to Kyoto once again.
When I looked out from my room at Hotel Granvia Kyoto, the sight of Japan Rail Kyoto Station and the mountain scenery lifted my spirits as if to symbolize that it would be a good day. (Kyoto is located in a valley, so I couldn’t see the sunrise from my hotel room)
That morning, I had agreed to meet Marie-chan for the first time in 8 years, so I met her at the Hotel Granvia Kyoto lobby. Eight years ago, she came all the way from Hiroshima to meet us and spent one night and two days with us. As I was thinking about the fun times I had while waiting, Marie-chan came over with a smile on her face.
She is a comrade who went to Kushi Institute together to study to become a macrobiotic counselor. She invited Eric and Me to teach at her macrobiotic school in Hiroshima.
On this day, She chose for us to visit Tenryuji Temple. (Tenryuji (天龍寺, Tenryūji) It is the most important temple in Kyoto’s Arashiyama district. Tenryuji Temple is one of the Kyoto Gozan temples, which are highly prestigious Zen temples in Kyoto.
The last time we came to Kyoto together, I could not walk much, so we took a taxi all over. I was confident to take a train this time, so we took a train from Kyoto station, where our hotel was. I checked how long and how much to go to Arashiyama from our hotel. By taxi: 15 minutes/cost $30 if there is no traffic, taking a train: 35 minutes/$2.
Taking a train and seeing local people and visitors riding was much more enjoyable and less costly. We also saw Twilight Express Train Mizuki at the station. Eric and I want to take the Twilight Express Train one day so we got so excited. Eric, Marie, and I had fun conversations and laughed a lot.
We arrived at Saga-Arashiyama station, and then we walked to Tenryuji Temple. We needed to figure out which direction to go, but we just followed people and reached the temple. There were many little shops on the way so it was difficult not to be distracted, but we decided to go our destination first.
As soon as we got to the temple, I decided to buy a new Goshuincho (-御朱印帳 is, if you want to translate it, a “book of seals.” Most shrines and temples in Japan have a Goshuin (御朱印), a seal that belongs only to that institution.) at Tenryuji.
When my mother was still alive, she and I often visited temples and shrines to collect Goshuin. After my mother passed away, I couldn’t find where it went, so it was time for me to start anew.
Tenryuji Temple is said to be Japan’s first designated historical site and particular scenic spot, retaining the garden’s appearance created by Muso Kokushi approximately 700 years ago.
The cherry blossoms have already fallen this time, and the peonies and wisteria are fully blooming.
I could imagine enjoying beautiful scenery no matter when you visit, with weeping cherry blossoms in spring, fresh greenery in summer, red leaves in autumn, and snow in winter.
After the garden is the famous bamboo forest path, amidst the crowd, I was deeply moved by the power of the bamboo grove.
We walked a lot and got hungry. Marie already made a reservation for a lunch of Shojin Ryori at Shigetsu, a vegetarian restaurant inside Tenryuji Temple.
Shojin Ryori is a cuisine introduced from China during the Kamakura period (1185~1333), along with the teachings of Zen Buddhism.
Shojin Ryori(traditional Buddhist cooking):
It is a cooking method perfected to enjoy the freedom of mind that comes from the harmony of nature and the spirit of eating, which is part of Zen Buddhism’s training. It is a cooking method that is prepared with carefully selected fresh seasonal ingredients. It is a very healthy cooking method that uses vegetables, wild plants, and seaweed as its main ingredients without using any animal ingredients. It was very delicious, and the light, easy-to-eat dishes typical of Kyoto were the best.
It’s made without meat or fish and focuses on seasonal vegetables and mountain plants. Intense flavors such as garlic and onion are also avoided.) for lunch. It was exquisite dishes and delicious.
After the delicious special lunch, we could not miss Tenryuji’s Cloud Dragon before we left. The giant dragon with a cloud painted was so mysterious on the ceiling of the hall of worship. Apparently, it was painted by Japanese painter Matazo Kayama to commemorate the 650th anniversary of Muso Kokushi, the founder of Tenryuji Temple, and the first thing Eric noticed was that it seemed to be staring at him from any 360-degree angle. When he told me about it, I looked at him, and it seemed like he was staring at me everywhere I went. When I read the instructions, it said that the cloud dragon is called 八方睨みの龍 – “the Dragon staring in all directions” because it can stare at you from any direction. Since the temple did not allow us to take a photo, I thought you could get a feel for the atmosphere with the cloud and dragon towel that Marie-chan bought for me.
After leaving Tenryu-ji Temple, we walked along Arashiyama’s Togetsukyo Bridge. We found many souvenir shops, where I also picked up a Goshuin stamp bookcase with an excellent Kyoto-like design.
We sampled a lot, and Eric ate the soft ice cream made from yuba (tofu skin – non-dairy Yuba frozen soft cream), and Marie-chan and I happily hung out while eating steaming freshly roasted chestnuts with black bean coffee.
People in Kyoto wear more traditional Japanese Kimono clothes. I noticed that many rental Kimono shops are now available with choreography that is not old-fashioned but frilly and cute. Many young people are sightseeing wearing Kimonos made of synthetic, polyester, and acrylic fibers instead of expensive pure silk Kimonos.
When we crossed Togetsukyo Bridge, gals were wearing a cute lace, more modern Kimono, so I took a photo of them with Eric.
The Kimono they wore was more modern, with frills and cute accessories. I thought it was lovely. It’s great to pass on Japan’s ancient culture in this way.
On the way home, I was shopping for souvenirs for my friends and neighbors who take care of our dogs and cats, and Eric found a cute orange polka dot pochette and wanted me to use it.
I thought it was too cute but accepted his kindness and gift.
After Arashiyama, we returned to the hotel and took a break.
We ate delicious Kyoto cuisine for dinner near the hotel and had a great time.
We all got excited about the Kyoto experience we had planned for the next day.
To be continue Kyoto trip…
Every day, we have 24 hours.
24 hours is not enough time for my interests, the daily routine of what I must do, what I need to do, and what I should do.
Especially from spring to summer, seasonal hand-work becomes active, and how to use time becomes an issue and Balance.
How do you all use your day?
How do you balance？
I was writing a diary blog about my spring trip to Japan in May, but I stopped on the 5th day.
Because I use my time for counseling and healing sessions for those who have been coming to seek my help at work has increased, and to balance my physical condition, I needed time to rest.
In addition, the chemotherapy treatment I received for stage IV Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in 2017 (you can read about it Only Weeks Live!) caused my bone density to decrease, so I started going to the Santa Monica yoga studio (where I became Yoga Teacher – my blog “Yoga for My Life“) again on the doctor’s recommendation to strengthen my muscles and bones.
(During the pandemic, I was doing yoga online, but it’s refreshing to go to the studio and do yoga with the teacher and everyone.)
As I was finishing my spring sweater (California Poppy/orange flowers and Blue Sky images), the weather got warmer.
I have been doing more garden maintenance – artichoke flower on my rooftop garden (first photo) and Native Wild Plating sign at my house sidewalk garden,
made Japanese umeboshi pickles and ume plum jam for this year,
harvested wild elderberry flowers in North Fork (Eric took care of all the trees felt in winter and weed whacking there) to infuse them for Autumn to Winter skin toner and oil,
finished the assignments for my watercolor painting class,
started a summer sweater knitting club at Wild Fiber studio in Santa Monica,
went to cheer on Eric at a SUP race with Kai,
made mosaic table with the wood table and tiles that we found in an alley while we were walking dogs.
In addition, my daily routine of making remedy drinks and having homemade macrobiotic meals, going walks, meditation, body scrub, listening to old records music, massaging my feet, and applying moxibustion treatment; plus, my friend’s dog stays for three weeks, take care of the garden and mailbox for two weeks while the neighbors are away, giving a healing session for our eldest dog, Lumi, and cat, Tintin, and making birthday cards for my sister and brother and sending their gifts to Japan, so on, and July came already. There was no time to do Instagram/Facebook and blog.
Writing is one of my favorite things, so I think about it every day.
Writing takes a lot of time, so I feel like writing when I find decent time. Today while I thought of writing, I found time, so here I am.
Thinking about Balance.
I read my Nine Star Ki Astrology chart again since the last time I read it was at the beginning of this year.
I am “Nine Fire” in Ninet Star Ki Astrology.
It means I am in a year of relatively quiet time planning “Winter – water, floating, silence” this year.
Lately, in the morning, unless I have to, I wake up slowly and don’t act too rapidly, so I feel like I’m floating.
In winter, everything seems dead (sleeping) on the surface, but much life and activity is underneath.
Similarly, it may feel like it takes time, but it’s important to focus on this time to reflect, review, and plan for the future.
It’s quite different from the traditional fiery Nie Fire character, so I feel a bit uncomfortable.
Still, it’s a time for the opportunity to explore the beauty of the infinite universe and the depth of my inner being.
From my experience, intuition increases as the material aspect loses meaning and becomes secondary.
Although my finances may decline, my spiritual growth will surely gain momentum, so it is an excellent exercise to remember to find a balance.
Remember that all things need contrast in order to find Balance, and quiet moments like this are necessary for me to regroup and dive within to find my next move.
I have many activities physically and mentally most of time, so my balance method choices are “Take a good Rest” and “Vipassana meditation.”
Through deep engagement with existing spiritual practices and meditation, one can experience tremendous personal growth, a deeper understanding of one’s relationship to the universe, sudden flashes of insight, and heightened intuition.
I believe that if I put in the effort, I will discover the infinite wells of knowledge the universe offers.
So this summer, I teach only the Healthy Happy Holistic Care for Dogs and Cats class at the online Macrobiotic Conference and no other classes.
I will take time to finish writing my blog from the 6th day of my spring Japan trip diary, so I tell myself, “Let’s enjoy the moment to float without rushing.”
When I go to Japan, I always want to go to as many places as possible, do many things, and meet as many people as possible, so my schedule gets packed, so this time, I decided to take a trip without cramming.
So instead of going to the friend we were supposed to meet that day, we took a leisurely morning, walked with Ringo-chan with Kyoko and Shigeru, and went shopping for the ingredients Eric would make for lunch.
Eric cooked for Kyoko and Shigeru for lunch using spring seasonal firefly squid. They said it was too beautiful, elegant, and delicious to enjoy eating it.
I followed my friend Kyoko’s advice to take the Shinkansen from Shin-Yokohama instead of going from Tokyo station to Kyoto, and it was right.
The transfer went smoothly, it wasn’t crowded, and Eric was as excited as usual when he saw the Nozomi Shinkansen in Shin-Yokohama.
He was filming a Shinkansen video, and the station conductor shouted at him and warned him to stay farther away, but I am sure Eric didn’t hear it, nor did he not care, so he continued filming.
Shinkansen’s ride was smooth and comfortable.
As I rode, I remembered that riding the Shinkansen to Tokyo was one of my favorite things to do when I was in high school.
At that time, Shinkansen was about 3 hours from Shin-Yokohama to Kyoto, but now it’s faster, about 2 hours or less.
So we arrived in Kyoto before we knew while I was eating Chihiro’s cherry blossom azuki buns as a snack and knitting the spring sweater that I started knitting on the plane.
I decided for us to stay at a hotel in Kyoto. Kyoto is the tourist’s number one destination, so they were fully booked.
Luckily, after searching online, I found Hotel Granvia Kyoto, which is very close to Kyoto Station, so I read up on what kind of hotel it was. It’s directly connected to the Kyoto station building, so even if it rains, we don’t have to go outside with our pieces of luggage, so I decided immediately.
When we arrived at Kyoto station, it was not as crowded as Tokyo Station, but I wanted to make sure where we were going, so I asked the way to the entrance of Hotel Granvia Kyoto.
When we got off the Shinkansen and turned right, I was told there was a hotel entrance.
We found the entrance, and after going up the slightly dark stairs at the entranceway, I noticed we were walking on a glass-covered bridge that seemed to let in a flash of light.
What is this? While saying that, I noticed we were above Kyoto Station.
The right side was the JR trains track area, and the left side was the Hachijjou guchi entrance of the Kyoto station southside.
It’s an extraordinary view, and it’s meta at first sight that various people are walking and hurrying. We had never seen a train station from above before, so Eric was excited the second time that day and started taking videos.
After crossing this glass bridge, there was a row of lovely shops and an elevator to the lobby.
As I write this, I want to return to Hotel Granvia Kyoto and spend time in its surroundings.
I usually like hotels and Ryokan with gardens and traditional Japanese inns, but I was drawn to this hotel for some reason.
Our room had a view of the station on the Shinkansen side, so when we opened the window, we could hear all the sounds of the station, and when we closed the window, we could hear almost nothing. I was impressed with this windowpane. The beautiful scenery of the mountains on the south side left an impression on me.
While I was resting in our room, Eric explored and discovered a delicious yuba (Tofu skin, Yuba, beancurd skin, beancurd sheet, or beancurd robes is a food product made from soybeans. ) and homemade tofu, Kyoto Vegetables restaurant Seppourai next to the hotel.
He came to invite me to have dinner there.
We ate to our heart’s content at the delicious yuba and tofu restaurant, walked around a bit, browsed souvenir shops and bakeries, and returned to our room.
Relax in a modern Japanese bath which Eric was excited third time that day to videotape.
Had my homemade bath salt with my garden Calendula and North Fork pine.
And we had a good night in Kyoto for the first time in 8 years.
My favorite thing about going to Japan is the hot springs and Shiatsu massage!
So this time, I made plans to go to Tenzan in Hakone Yumoto, where I went four years ago.
Meet up with a good friend, Chihiro, in Odawara.
She took us first to Owakudani – one of the most famous viewpoints in Hakone, where you can observe the intense volcanic activity from up close. It is said that this place came to be thanks to a phreatic eruption and pyroclastic flow that occurred almost 3000 years ago. It’s also known to locals as “Jigokudani” (the Valley of Hell) and is famous for its black eggs, which are boiled in the sulfurous waters to give the egg shells a distinctive color. The sulfur smelled so strong I had to wear a mask because I have smell sensitivity.
When we arrived at Owakudani, we could see Mt. Fuji, but it was behind the clouds, so we blew our breath to move the clouds away.
Did it work?
Sure, it did.
Four years ago, it was raining, and we could not see Mt. Fuji, so we felt blessed this time.
Mt. Fuji is the symbol of Japan and World Cultural Heritage.
I have memories of my father’s construction company building a road to the 5th Station (Fuji Subaru Line 5th Station), and I feel a sense of familiarity with Mt. Fuji. The Fuji Subaru Line 5th Station is located at an altitude of 2,300 meters and offers a panoramic view of the Fuji Five Lakes.
It is a popular spot even for those who does not climb the mountain climbing. While my father’s company was constructing the road, I was invited to see the breathtaking Mt. Fuji. I was moved to tears when I went to see the completion of the 5th station road a long time after my father passed away.
I’ve talked about this story with Eric many times, but someday I want him to see the road leading to the Fuji Subaru Line 5th station.
Chihiro drove to Ashino Lake, Shinshou Soba (opened over 50 years ago), for our lunch.
Usually, I don’t eat much soba because it is much denser than udon noodles. But Shinshou soba was smooth, light soba that I could enjoy. I had soba with grated jinennjo (wild yam). I had never had such thick jinennjo before. It was sooo delicious.)
After a delicious lunch, we saw the beautiful mountain cherry blossoms, then went to our destination, Tenzan.
Tenzan has a great onsen (hot spring), massage, cafe, and souvenir gifts shop.
As soon as we arrived, first, we went to the massage room area to make an appointment to receive the massage after Onsen. There are many choices to choose massage style. I decided on the therapeutic Shiatsu and legs/feet combination. Eric and Chihiro chose the therapeutic Shiatsu.
The Onsen is nature’s gift – it warms the body, heart, soul, and spirit and makes skin so smooth. Tenzan had an elegant wooden indoor bath and an open-air bath area surrounded by the forest’s trees outside.
The last time we were there, Chihiro and I talked too much, dipping ourselves to enjoy Onsen too long, and we were late for our massage, so we had to make sure we won’t be late this time.
The massage was heavenly healing, and we were all satisfied 100% with big smile.
After the massage, we went to the cafe “Ukaregumo” (it means Floating Clouds).
, but it was still cool this time. I had homemade hot Amazake (a traditional sweet Japanese drink made from fermented rice) to warm my heart and sweeten my soul.
Eric had plum wine and chocolate tart.
The hot springs are freshly brewed and can be drunk or brought back to your home in a bottle.
In general, hot springs have a high content of magnesium and have the impression of being “hard.” Tenzan [No. 74 hot spring] contains zero magnesium ions. The content of calcium ions is 1.2 mg in 1000 ml, which is very soft and has the property of super soft water.
I have another favorite thing to do at Tenzan – stop by their souvenir gifts shop, “Sharetei.”
I love their unique, rare collection of items that can use in daily life. Just adding such a modest tool makes life fun.
I found Zukou (a powder incense) with a cherry wooden container to put the powder incense this time. I have enjoyed incense since I was a teenager, but I didn’t have any powder incense, so I was excited. Powdered incense is applied to the body to purify the body.
Agarwood, sandalwood, clove, cinnamon, and other precious herbal fragrant woods are used as a base to create a clean fragrance. Apply the incense to your hands and body when you hold a Buddhist memorial service or before you start copying sutras.
I decided to use the powder incense as a Japanese aromatherapy to soothe and protect myself.
These powder incent and a wooden box will be added to my treasures in Santa Monica.
There are many hands-on classes in Japan to learn about Japanese culture.
On this day, I originally wanted to go to the hands-on Kintsugi class (Kintsugi 金継ぎ, “golden joinery,” also known as the Japanese art of repairing broken pottery by mending the areas of breakage with lacquer dusted or mixed with powdered gold, silver, or platinum; the method is similar to the maki-e technique.) early in the morning, but I decided to take it easy.
Sometimes, less is better, and I believe an opportunity to learn kintsugi will come in the future.
After relaxing and having breakfast, Ringo-chan and Shigeru-san accompanied us to the bus stop, and we took the bus to Futako Tamagawa station.
JINS is a Japanese glasses store established in 2001. I found out about JINS 5 years ago on a 2020 Tokyo TV show program. I saw JINS’ mission is to provide functional, innovative, and lightweight eyewear at affordable prices for everyone.
JINS frames are designed in Tokyo and carefully assembled with the spirit and passion of Japanese craftsmanship.
We went to JINS in Asakusa 4 years ago for the first time. Indeed, JINS was efficient, courteous, prompt, and reasonably priced. Eric liked it very much and was looking forward to going to JINS again to get new glasses made.
This time we chose 5 glasses. If we made 5 pairs of glasses in America, we would be bankrupt here in America, but it was less than 1/4 of the price there.
Eric chooses two cool bifocals. I have one for bifocals, one for computers, and one for craft/calligraphy.
While waiting for the glasses to be ready, we went to the “Bunkyodo” bookstore on the 6th floor for about an hour.
* Bifocal glasses take 1 week. In our case, JINS send it to our friend in Setagaya, and she will send it to Santa Monica. If you go to Japan and make bifocals at JINS, I recommend that you go there as soon as you arrive in Japan and pick up your bifocals a week later.
I love Japanese bookstores. A spacious and full of things other than books, where you can find something you did not even think to enjoy. Check out the calligraphy pens, ink, and Japanese paper, browse magazines and comics, and I could spend time all day there.
I only know a bookstore like the Japanese one is Burns’s Nobel bookstore on the third street promenade Santa Monica. I was sad when it closed.
When I was in a wheelchair, I often went there with my service dog, Kula. Checked out various magazines and books, grazed at photos of thick heavy hardcover photo books, and chose colorful stationery.
While I was focusing my viewing, Kula accommodated everyone and made them smile.
The Bunkyoudo had the same relaxing atmosphere; it reminded me of the nostalgic good time I spent with Kura at the bookstore.
I was not looking for particular books, but I bought Snoopy’s book, “Snoopy Prepares Your Heart.”
This book explains Japanese quotes and Zen words.
Peanut comics, which are drawn in black and white and have blank spaces, have something in common with Zen, and the lines of the characters that appear often overlap with Zen language.
Even in silence, there is a world that is familiar to Zen.
An example given at the beginning of the book is the – Natural result.
“You just do it first and see what happens.”
This is one of my life mottos to live my life.
I learned English by reading Snoopy’s book when I was little, so I felt a connection with this book, and there was something I could learn from this Snoopy book again.
I had Snoopy’s book and Dennis the Menace’s book to study English. I also watched Sesame Street TV shows, listened to English music records, and translated the lyrics, which are fond memories.
Well, after the bookstore, we were hungry, and I was exhausted.
It was lunchtime, and there were long lines at all the restaurants, so when we were wondering what to do, we saw one restaurant called “Japanese Cafe Tsumugi” with almost no queues, and we thought this place might not be so good food.
We decided to eat there anyway since we did not have much time. As for the taste, the food was fresh and delicious for us to enjoy it.
Thanks to lunch, I regained my sharpness a little. We went to pick up my three glasses, then took the Tokyu Den-en-chofu Toshi Line train and the JR line to Ikebukuro.
Ikebukuro station, where we were supposed to be, was not easy to find, and I got a little tired, so I was relieved to see Junko and her family.
When Junko was a student, she did a homestay at our house in Santa Monica to study English. We’ve known each other for a long time since Junko returned to Japan, and now she is married and has two children. Eric and I are so surprised to see her children grow up fast every time.
Our final destination and purpose for the third day were to go to Itabasshi to see Masaki, an old friend who worked as a chef in Los Angeles. We used to go to where he used to work every Fri. with other friends. The last time we saw him was almost 20 years ago in Shinjuku. Maybe I was in a wheelchair at the time. After that, he moved to Spain and New Zealand.
He recently returned to Japan and opened his new restaurant, “Space Cafe,” in Itabashi, Tokyo, and we promised to see him at his new restaurant.
Junko kindly chose where to go near Masaki’s restaurant with her husband, Hisashi, who used to live in the area.
We went to Tokyo Great Buddha (I did not know there was Great Buddha in Tokyo).
After some research, I found that the “Tokyo Great Buddha,” synonymous with this temple, is Amida Nyorai. The Tokyo Daibutsu Jorenji Temple in Itabashi Akatsuka, Tokyo, has a history of 600 years.
This temple was a resting place for the Tokugawa shogun’s falconry. The height from the base is 13 meters/42.6 feet, and the head alone is 3 meters/10 feet. It weighs 32 tons.
At the time of its completion, it was the third largest Buddha in Japan after the Great Buddha of Nara at Todaiji Temple and the Great Buddha of Kamakura at Kotokuin Temple.
Amida Nyorai is the Buddha who created “paradise” to save people in a world without suffering. Please put your hands together and say, “Namu Amida Butsu.”
I have seen Great Budda, Nara Todaji, and Great Buddha, Kamakura, which are eye-opening Great Buddhas. The Tokyo Great Buddha looked softer, as if it had a gentle soul relaxing its vibrations in the busiest city, Tokyo.
We took many pictures and had a great time with Junko and her family. Her son Ikkei danced on the ground of Tokyo Great Buddha to impress how good a dancer he was to us.
He wants to study abroad in America, so he might come to stay at our house like his mother, Junko. It’s a double memory that shares the past and the future. I hope it will come true.
After Tokyo Great Buddha, for my request to go to a botanical garden – they chose Akatuka Botanical Garden, a walking course blessed with nature, which was within walking distance from the Tokyo Great Buddha.
This botanical garden was opened in October 1981 as a facility that uses the hilly area of Akatsuka, which still retains the vestiges of Musashino, where nature and plants can be more familiar.
It started to rain, so we had to shorten our walk there, but it was the gift of nature: I gained my energy back and got ready to meet more friends.
When we were driving by Masaki’s, the rain stopped, and he was outside looking up at the sky – he could not hear, but we called his name loudly, “MASAKI!”. Eric quickly got out of the car to surprise Masaki.
Masaki said later to us, “It might be a rainbow after the rain, so I was outside, but instead of the rainbow, Eric came!” with his big smile!!!
What a reunion for the first time in 20 years!
Masaki’s restaurant opened about a week ago, so he was alone greeting customers, taking orders, cooking, and cleaning up. We were so impressed with him.
We also planned to meet up with Kuni and his wife, Kumi, at Masaki’s restaurant. Kuni used to work in Tahiti with Eric more than 30 years ago, and Kumi loves dogs, so I had a mutual connection.
We all had such a great time with Masaki’s sophisticated, tasty food!
What a way to see old friends with good food!
After we left Masaki’s restaurant, Junko’s daughter, Mako, said, “How about Gelato?”
We stopped by A La Campagne near Soshigaya Okura Station on our way to Setagaya, where we were staying.
I didn’t eat gelato, but Eric bought me a cute bag for dessert.
There are many cute shops around. When I passed by after gelato, the flower shop that caught my eye was called “Green Mind.” The next time, I definitely want to go there, so I’m looking forward to it.
Well-planned and executed, unexpected things and plans for the future.
Ending the third day of my Spring 2023 trip to Japan was perfect!
Love, Sanae ❤️