Monday, August 22, 2005

saturday night, sunday, and monday

Saturday night i went to Saijo, my neighboring city, to a "special dinner for new Jets" that ended up being at what I called in Japanese "heaven's restaurant" because it was on a smooth rainbow stone beach next to the mountains and a river famous for its purity (we drank water directly from this river). The restaurant was actually a huge grid of gas stoves where we cooked stews filled with with noodles and vegetables and tofu…Ah, heaven. And the weather was perfect because it had been raining all day. And I met so many people there, including Elias from Zambia. I’m eating dinner with him tomorrow.

So, perfect night, to a perfect, rainy morning, where I went bright and early with Jesse to the Zen temple, which included more people this time (because last week was a holiday, “o bon” where many people stay home to welcome and give offerings like incense to the spirits of their ancestors who supposedly visit during this day. And I was thinking about it, and because the family brings their ancestors to mind, because they re-member them, those spirits DO visit on that day.) Anyway, the sitting was amazing, and the chanting, and walking, and we even did prostrations at the end! Afterward I visited the Niihama Onsen, which was like 9 different baths, 5 of which were outside. One I found in a small circular building, a dark stream room, beautiful music, and stars (tiny lights) illuminated in the dome ceiling, around which glowed a black light, and below which was a dark, brick red bath, just barely visible beneath the steam. The water was brick red, and he circular bath held maybe 8 people at a time, (so some were sitting on the stone benches around it,) and I loved this bath because the water was cool, and very red, like thick tea, and the room was so hot. The naked man next to me immediately talked to me in English. I asked why teh water was red andhe said was an iron bath, good for your skin. "makes you glow adn shiny." there were lots of other kinds of baths. let me know if you want ot know more.
after the bathhouse i found an Egg vending booth by my house. (see pick)

Today, Monday, I took the bus to Matsuyama (the capital) for another free Japanese lesson. Here is the entry I scribbled into my journal at the end of the two-hour ride.

Today on the bus.
I always look at clouds
And today, like many days, the clouds are doing things they have never done, or at least, that I have never seen them do in my entire incarnation.
Its like the clouds are lawless.
True, there are the classic clouds,
The puffy shapes, colors,
But every once in a while,
Clouds surprize us with something
We could never have dreamed of.
So today, I listened to amazing world music and looked at the clouds.

Basic gray crescents, or a hundred finger nail clippings, crescent moon shaped slivers of clouds all scattered at random as if thrown across a table, some straighten out like eels, some turn light pearl gray or seashell grey.

I look out and think I feel my mind expanding out to touch them. When I look out at the sky, it's like I feel my mind get bigger. My soul stretches to include in its embrace the clouds, the mountains, the horizons. I become so large. The whole sky is inside my awareness, my soul. Clouds, the souls of the rivers, are swimming in my head, as well as the busride and journal.
We stop at the Hospital everyday---old ladies in kimonos, and old men smiling and limping, I am filled, FILLED with happiness when I see the elderly walking and smiling. I look up in joy and I find the shape of a bird emerge out of the hole in the clouds. An omen.
“Whenever you see a feather on the ground, look up and listen carefully.”
And that bird, and those clouds, could not have come into existance without me.

My purpose as a wavetip of life is to discover that I am alive and that I am wet.
Life waking up and discovering it is alive.
And the music calling, the beauty beckoning,
The art whispering, “look around and see what is already true.”
It is as if god herself is calling us home with every cloud and every feather.

Scarecrows in the rice fields, sometimes I see manikin heads on sticks, kind of spooky, but effective I imagine,
Sometimes black garbage bags hang in rows like flags. A contrast to the bright green,

Some kid just got on the bus carrying a very long boa, at least six feet long, Japanese archery, it was wrapped in silk,

The waving rice leaves remind me of
Carpet anemones

Lots of old people on bikes in big hats
Or working hunched over in the green oceans
So bright
And a field of sunflower
Shout, scream, crash yellow symphony “look at me! Look at me! Look at me!

Town after town after town, car dealerships, bodhisattvas, mystical raccoon dogs with erect penises and gigantic testicals
Tiny cars and trucks,
My dad told me last night about a bicycle-powered car.
I am still thinking a lot about an old friend who recently stabbed himself in his heart,
And these clouds make me what to hurl myself down and kiss the ground, open my arms and hands wide in prayer and reverence to the Beauty flowing beneath and through all things,
And I feel my breath,
And my breath continues,
And my heartbeat goes on
Like the mountain rivers,
The clear water and the secret temples
The construction sites and the dead sunflowers
The changing trees and the lawless clouds
Coffee wars, cemetaries,
And more car dealerships,
Gardens and clothes hanging
Scarecrows and streetlights
Cranes and crains
Their necks
Black tire roofs
And telephone lines, I finally roll into the city to start another
Japanese class, step out into the sidewalking traphic, the city,
Lively and
“Enjoy coca cola” “recycling saves the planet” “so many men, so many minds”
Arrows, signs, trucks,
Vending machines, starbucks
pulls me like a magnet. I go in, order a soy makiato and a bananna muffin,
Beautiful people sit around me,

“All dharmas are dreams”
a beautiful old black man sits before me talking english to a beautiful old japanese women with gray and orange hair,
two businessmen laugh engish behind me, I turn around,
at first I snear,
but then they sit down and I see they are whearing the exact same suit
and I think oh, they are not businessmen, sort of,
they must be missionnaries, mormons,
must be,
now I am calm and inviting
but I also wish there were businessmen
my coffee and muffin taste good.

I saw a whole shrine devoted to tanuki ( mystical raccoon dogs) today on my way to the language class. Tanuki are real animals, and the legend is that they can morf into other beings and appearances, and they get their magical powers from their large testicals. Seeing a real one is considered a great omen. Enjoy the pictures.


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