Lake Kawaguchiko, near Tokyo, Japan.
Lake Kawaguchiko, near Tokyo, Japan.
A torii is the boundary between the human world and the spirit world, normally at the entrance of a Shinto shrine.
The Great Torii at Miyajima Island , usually shown as if floating on the water at high tide, is an icon of Japan.
But at low tide, one can go up close and explore it.
Some people even place coins between the barnacles for good luck.
But I also like the way the Torii peeks above the roofs as seen on the way down from Mount Misen.
Either way, it’s definitely worth a visit when in Japan.
He sees two other windows
Oblivious to him
Each one a screen
Lives playing out
A sliver of reality
A slice of time
Will they look at him
Looking at them
Or the other windows on his train
Or when the train moves
At the city lights
And the stars in the lonely sky?
(Thoughts on a bullet train station in Kyoto.)
Loyalty is the foundation that makes friendships endure. It’s the difference between ordinary friends and true friends.
Dogs are called “man’s best friend” because they can show unparalleled loyalty.
One of the most famous stories of loyalty is that of Hachiko, an Akita dog whose owner was a professor at the University of Tokyo. Each morning they would walk together to Shibuya train station for the professor’s commute, and at the end of the day Hachiko would wait at the station for his return. Until one day the owner did not show up for he had a stroke while giving a lecture. For ten years — rain, shine, or snow — Hachiko would wait at the station every afternoon until his own death in 1935. This happened long ago and still the story is being told, including a movie with Richard Gere in 2009.
Hachiko became famous as a symbol of loyalty in Japan that a bronze statue was erected at Shibuya station in 1934, unveiled with Hachiko present!
Hachiko is still waiting after all these years.
His statue is now a popular landmark in Tokyo and a favorite meeting place among young Japanese friends.
“If you haven’t learned the meaning of friendship, you really haven’t learned anything.”
– Muhammad Ali
Let me hasten to add, if you haven’t learned the meaning of loyalty, you really haven’t learned the meaning of friendship.
“A good friend is like a four-leaf clover; hard to find and lucky to have.”
– Irish proverb
True friends are rare because loyalty is rare. Treasure them, and be one.
“Like all great travelers, I have seen more than I remember, and remember more than I have seen.”
– Benjamin Disraeli
I may not be as great a traveler as Benjamin Disraeli, but I have seen quite a bit and remember quite a few.
Among those things I’ve seen and remember is the Golden Pavilion in Kyoto. I do like temples and, though not a Buddhist, I find it soothing to the soul when I’m in a Zen temple or garden. This one in particular captures harmony between heaven and earth, and also shines in its beautiful setting.
The Golden Pavilion is worth visiting for a sight to remember, if not to soothe one’s soul.
Some facts about the Golden Pavilion
1. It is a World Heritage Site.
2. The top two stories are covered with gold leaf.
3. The gold is to purify any negative thoughts towards death.
3. Its origin dates back to the 1400s.
More info on the Golden Pavilion here.
When I watch a sunrise
Or the occasional moonrise
I sometimes wonder if the earth is a better place without us.
I’m not trying to be a tree hugger (nothing wrong with being one).
I am simply trying to ask a bigger question —
Is the earth a planet that belongs to our species, to use and exploit, and, when exhausted, move on and colonize Mars and other planets?
Or are we part of nature, homo sapiens another species on earth, another passenger on this planet?
“With great power comes great responsibility.”
This has been quoted through the centuries, including the French Revolution, the US Supreme Court, Winston Churchill, the Holy Bible, and yes, Spider Man movies.
That our species is preeminent confers it great opportunity, to shape the earth for its purpose, and enjoy its gifts.
Photos from top: Sunrise at Mt Fuji, Moonrise over Laguna province in the Philippines, Todai-ji at Nara in Japan, Ho Chi Minh International Airport, Sunrise in Laguna province in the Philippines
He tried, he really did. He put his whole being into it, he made her the center of his universe.
But the more he tried, the more it was slipping away. The more he surrounded her with this fortress, the more determined she seemed to escape.
Until one day she left. And he was empty, for every moment of his waking hour, every thought and every part of his being as humanly possible he gave her.
Then he saw a castle and he saw it in his heart — was he protecting her, or was he protecting himself? Was he putting this fortress not around her but around his heart so he won’t get hurt?
Slowly he knocked down the walls, bit by bit. He cried, he laughed, he got hurt again, and didn’t mind.
He made a leap of faith, and things started coming to him, including the peace of mind that he never found inside his fortress. The inner peace that only comes from freedom.
She did come back, as a butterfly. And he was happy for her, as only one who has found freedom can.