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Archive for April, 2008

The International Association arranged for a lunch potluck under the cherry trees today at 11am. I cooked a huge pot of Malay curry and rice. However, we wanted to see the parade first so Dave went into town on his bike to check it out – we knew driving would be a mistake with all the people and traffic. He rang me up to say the parade had not started and to come into town. I said ‘how about the curry?” He said we will come back for it. Lucy’s bike has a basket.

The parade was really fun, reminded me of July the 4th parade in Truckee, only very different. The men, somehow are pant-less!! Dave said they wore diapers but I saw a guy with bare buttocks!! Some had underwear on – they wore a short yukata – like a short kimono top but nothing on the bottom!! There were alot of dancing and gold chariots on top of wooden structures and were carried by lots of chanting men and women, and always, there will be a lady or two balanced on the wood structure dancing. It is as if the men and women carrying the chariots wanted to unbalance the dancing ladies. The route they took was lined with awesome cherry blossoms.

We went back home, loaded the curry and rice and rode our bikes towards the castle grounds. We had been visitng the grounds to view the blossoms since last sunday but today they were at their best – freshly opened a couple of days, they say. What a difference the whole castle area looked – so magnificient. This was even better than Ueno Park in Tokyo! Everywhere you looked was just blossoms – we walked along the moat under a canopy of beautiful flowers.

By the time we found our picnic area, the food was mostly gone. Evryone had gathered there from 11am but we wanted to see the parade. So we ate the food we brought, chatted some, made new friends. Went home about threeish.

When it was dark, we again rode our bikes to the castle – yes, it is the happening place today – to view the blossoms under lights. Awesome! I don’t want them to go away – I just want the blossoms to stay!

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My sister in law, who practises Reiki wanted to visit the grave of the founder and to visit Mount Kurama in Kyoto where Reiki started. I had no idea that Reiki started in Japan. When I asked people aound here, they are clueless. No one has even heard of Reiki.

In Tokyo we went to Saitoji Temple to visit the grave of Usui Makao, the founder of Reiki. The temple was in a very quiet neiborhood and besides two little girls playing in the play ground, we met an Australian lady who was a Reiki Master. Julie, my sister in law, paid homage to Usui and meditated at the grave side while I had lunch with Jane and Lucy in the temple yard. The Aussie lady told us that she studied Reiki under  William Lee Rand. Of course, Jane and I had never heard of him but apparently he is highly regarded in the reiki world.

In Kyoto, we took a train to Kurama town, passing cherry blossoms and lovely sights, and then hiked up to the top. The climb was not bad at all, hundreds of steps and well laid path took us to the main temple up top. Along the way, we stopped at various points of interest as pointed by Julie’s book “Reiki” by Jessica Miller, another Reiki master. The book was really helpful and made the trip very meaningful/

The day was gorgeous, sunny and warmish. It had rained the day before and the weather man said rain, so of course, we were delighted.

From the main hall, Julie wanted to see the measuring stone and the tree roots and the old tree Usui meditated under in the early 1920s, so we had to hike up more trails and steps. I had been under the weather and so was huffing and puffing a bit. Jane opted to wait for us by the cable car.

We found the measuring stone, which was what a 16 year old Samurai used to measure his height before going to war. It was hardly three feet tall – wondered how short samurais were! The tree roots that this guy used to hop around for his agility endurance were just there and we saw the old tree. It was fenced off but we managed a picture or two. Julie lit an incense and then we hiked back down.

We took the cable car which took us to about halfway down the mountain, hiked down to the train.

 

 

 

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The picture on the header of this blog was snapped at Chidorigafuchi Park in Tokyo. We walked along the river where hundreds of trees were in full bloom. Occasionally, the wind would pick up and thousands of blossoms would swirled around in the air! We could smell the blossoms too, faint sweetness in the air.

In Kyoto, the wonderful old temples were framed by cherry blossoms too and hundreds of tourists took in the sights. We chased after Maikos – apprentice geishas, although one or two were tourists playing at being geishas we suspect!

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