Hiroshima 70 Years Today

Today August 6th, 2015 marks the 70th anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima. Last night on the eve of the Atomic Remembrance Day, I came by the Atomic Bomb to remember, to learn, to think and to pay my respects. The local suffering of one people can have global consequences. Every time I stand beneath the Atomic Memorial Dome, I feel weighed down by a heaviness, a sense of despair. The Atomic …

Continue reading

Cherry Blossoms After the Rain

 Cherry blossoms after the rain. Les cerisiers en fleurs après la pluie. Hoa anh đào sau cơn mưa. 雨上がりの桜. Rain has inspired endless verses perhaps because of its beauty, its freshness, its romance and its melancholy?  While cherry blossoms and their ephemeral beauty have been woven into centuries of poetry. La pluie a inspiré d’innombrables versets peut-être en raison de sa beauté, sa fraîcheur, son romantisme et sa mélancolie?  Les …

Continue reading

Reflections

What is Reflection? REFLECTION |rɪˈflɛkʃ(ə)n| [noun] (a)  the returning projection of light, heat, or sound by a body or surface without absorbing it; (b) an image seen on a shiny surface or mirror; (c) serious thought, contemplation or consideration of a matter or of the self; As I walk through Korakuen Garden in Okayama Prefecture, Japan, the fish are swimming around me in the pond.  We are sharing with you reflections of the …

Continue reading

Destiny in the Mist

 What is destiny? It has been said that destiny is a matter of choice and not an occurrence of chance. Do you agree? If choice determines our destiny, then whose choice is it to shape our fate? Who determines the destiny of one individual, the fate of a people, the fortune of a place, the luck of a nation? Destiny is sometimes found in the mist, as it was in …

Continue reading

Musashi’s Final Battle

The last battle that Miyamoto Musashi ever fought was on April 13th, 1612, when he was twenty-nine years of age. This final duel was between Musashi and an equally renowned swordsman of the Edo era, Sasaki Kojiro 佐々木 小次郎, on Funashima Island, Funa-jima 船島. Known as Ganryu in battle, Sasaki Kojiro is recognised as the founder of the Ganryu 巌流 kenjutsu 剣術 school of traditional samurai Japanese swordsmanship. April 13th, 1612, was also …

Continue reading

烏城 The “Crow Castle” & the Age of Turbulence

Okayama Castle 岡山城 (Okayama-jo) stands majestically by the Asahi River across the magnificent Koraku-en 後楽園 garden in central Okayama City, Japan. Bridge over the Asahi River that links Okayama-jo and Korakuen Garden. Views of Okayama-jo from Korakuen Garden. The castle is also known as 烏城 (U-jo), the Crow Castle.  The dark exterior of the castle conjures up images of the black crow. Many crows also nest in the trees here and soar above …

Continue reading

Where do Hopes & Prayers Go?

Where do prayers go?  Những lời nguyện cầu đi về đâu? Where do our hopes journey to?  Những ước mong của chúng ta hành trình về chốn nào? What of the dreams we carry inside our hearts for this life on earth? Visitors to Shinto shrines in Japan often write their wishes, dreams, aspirations and prayers onto wooden plaques, known as ema 絵馬, and hang them at the shrine, in the hope that these …

Continue reading

Solace and Simplicity

At Nanzoin Temple in Sasaguri, Fukuoka, Japan lies the world’s largest Reclining Bronze Buddha. In Buddhist philosophy, the Reclining Buddha symbolises the moment Gautama the Buddha achieved Nirvana, liberation from the cycle of human earthly life, after a lifetime of seeking enlightenment and sitting in meditation. The Buddha’s face depicts simple serenity. There is balance, a sense of absolute harmony. Buddha’s feet, inlaid with intricate designs of gold are remarkable. This …

Continue reading

Secrets of the Honmaru Goten Palace 熊本城-本丸御殿

  熊本城 本丸御殿 Honmaru Goten Palace within the grounds of Kumamoto Castle is the precinct where government business was conducted and built by Kato Kiyomasa, feudal lord and ancestor of Kumamoto, in 1610. While the original palace was destroyed during the Seinan Rebellion of 1877, restoration of part of Honmaru Goten was completed in 2008 after almost fifty years of work on it by numerous architects, craftsmen, carpenters, painters, designers, metal workers …

Continue reading

清正公まつりSeishoko Festival 2014

Today, on Sunday 27th July, 2014, the Seishoko Festival 清正公まつり (Seishoko Matsuri) is taking place in Kumamoto City in the prefecture of Kumamoto on the island of Kyushu, Japan. Organised by Kato Shrine 加藤神社 in Kumamoto, the Seishoko Matsuri is held to honour and remember the founder of Kumamoto, Lord Kato Kiyomasa 加藤 清正. Seishoko 清正公 is an honorific designation as well as a term of endearment for Kato Kiyomasa 加藤 清正. The …

Continue reading