Busy, busy, busy

Todaiji Shunie Repentance Rite

The twelfth month of the traditional Japanese calendar (now December), known as shiwasu (師走) which means something like ‘priests running’. As New Year’s approaches, both Shinto priests (kannushi 神主) and Buddhists priests (obōsan お坊さん) are very busy preparing for the end of the year celebrations and the first visits of the new year. So they probably have a lot of errands to run, hence the name of the month.

As for me, I am really glad the month is finally coming to an end. It was tremendously busy at work, JLPT, my daughter’s birthday, and preparations for Japan. Christmas was the last of my concerns this year.

At any rate, my wife and daughter went to Japan a week early,1 and I spent time here at home, hiding in the “Man Cave” playing some Playstation, but also cleaning up the house, and packing some more things, making sure the house is in good order before I leave. By the time you read this, I will probably be on a flight to Japan. I am a big person (180cm, 6′), so sitting in an Economy-class seat for 10 hours will be a test of patience.

I think this year I will try doing more of a video-blog format than just posting lots of pictures. I have a newer iPhone so the video quality is good, and it’s convenient to carry around. On the other hand, I feel kind of shy taking videos of myself, by myself, in busy places. So we’ll see. 🙂 If not, I’ll post pictures as usual.

Also, if anyone has anything they really want to see (besides Akihabara), please feel free to pass them along. We have plans mostly for the first half of the trip, and I hope to see some friends during the second half, but I also may have some free days in there. I have ideas where I want to go, but nothing set.

See you all across the Pacific!

1 My daughter seems to have recovered from her stomach flu a few days ago. She was vomiting from Saturday until Thursday, but seems to be better now, and eating lots of food. Worst possible timing, but I am glad she’s OK.


Author: Doug

A fellow who dwells upon the Pale Blue Dot who spends his days obsessing over things like Buddhism, KPop music, foreign languages, BSD UNIX and science fiction.

6 thoughts on “Busy, busy, busy”

  1. Hi Doug, I’m 6’4″ and I sympathize about the flight. Last time I discovered the magic of watching one movie after another until I was there. The movies were mostly crap but they made the time fly. I absolutely hate that flight.


    1. Yeah, the sense of claustrophobia is never fun on a 10 hour flight, let alone lack of sleep. Ah well, it’s a yearly ritual. I am kind of used to it. At least I came fairly prepared. :p


  2. As I have gotten older, the trans-Pacific flights have gotten easier. Here are some possible factors: 1) noise-cancellation headphones or ear plugs. These stop the stress-inducing bass roar. I found on the 777 that the roar is less annoying, so maybe the phones are not necessary, but having your own to plug into the plane’s sound system, instead of those tiny, uncomfortable buds, is pleasant. 2. Meditation also works on planes, with the same idea as for insomnia–you get some of the benefits of sleep. I always had trouble sleeping on planes, but that is improving now, I suppose due to meditation, aging, or both!


    1. Hi John,

      Thanks for the advice. I did try meditation in the past, but somehow it didn’t work for me. I’m big enough that the seats are pretty uncomfortable and tray carts tend to run over my foot from time to time. 🙂 Also, having a little one tends to defeat that.

      The noise-cancellation headphones do seem to help though. I had a pair this trip and found it did work as expected. Maybe that coupled with meditation might work.

      Speaking of getting older, the passenger next to me was a nice, old Japanese lady (we talked quite a bit on the flight), and at one point she fell asleep, and before you know it, she was using my shoulder as a pillow. 🙂


  3. Hi Doug,

    I would like to suggest that if you have time you consider visiting my teacher’s temple Rinsoin in Yaizu city in Shizuoka Ken. It is Suzuki Roshi’s of the San Francisco Zen Center, temple.
    You can take a shinkasen to Shizuoka shi and then take a JR local train south 3 stations to Yaizu shi. take the north exit and there is a taxi stand, the taxis know Rinsoin in Sakamoto cho. It is an old temple but I love it.
    Happy New Years


    1. Hello Rev, good to hear from you. 🙂

      Shizuoka probably is a bit out of reach. I am in Kawasaki City and even getting to the Shinkansen has been a bit challenging. However I have always wanted to visit there so if not this time, hopefully soon. 🙂


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