Sunday, October 13, 2013

Until next time...

To what, for what, for whom does one pray?  On my last day in Japan, I visited the neighborhood shrine, Hikawa Jinja.  These sacred places are everywhere in Japan, though perhaps their sanctity does not speak immediately to many visitors in this secular age.  I count myself among the secular.  Still, Hikawa Jinja brings back childhood memories--walking down the street in the summer to pay a visit amidst the crying cicadas.  The leafy grounds offer respite from the humid heat.  The sun thrusts through the foliage in bright patches.  Memories, I venture, remain sacred.

It seems like there's a lot to pray for, yet I can't help but wonder if I'm asking for too much, or whether I have the right to ask for anything at all, or indeed whether I want to ask something indeterminate (some favor?) of something indeterminate (a higher presence?).  Perhaps that's overcomplicating matters at hand.  I can certainly accept the fact that prayers constitute positive thoughts, and positive thoughts affect the world in positive, often surprisingly concrete ways.

I'm grateful for the past month.  For time, for family, for friends, for much more--for all these things, it's been life in a state of grace.  I suppose I could stay for longer, but the timing feels right.  I'm glad to go back to the US, and I'll be glad when I come back to Japan.

I've uploaded some final photos of Otaru and Tokyo:

Photos of Otaru
> Photos of Tokyo

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