Happy New Year Everyone!

Hello all,

The New Year in Japan has had some ups and downs. The New Year’s Eve plans mentioned in the last post didn’t happen as the little one came down with the flu on her birthday and spent the next few days with a fever and nausea. Some sagely advice from Dr. Sears, fluids, lots of rest and so on helped her recover just fine though, so she’s watching the Kōhaku music special belatedly with her aunt and mom, both big fans of Johnny’s boy bands. :)

New Year’s Day was quiet too. The little one was still recovering somewhat but we did manage to visit a family friend who is a temple family. In Japan, smaller branch Buddhist temples are often run by a single family which is a somewhat unusual system compared to Buddhist institutions elsewhere. Why this is so is long and complicated, but suffice to say that’s how it is in most cases. My wife’s family works in the funeral business making grave markers, so they are not a “temple family” but know a lot of them. Some families, some people are pretty serious about Buddhism, while some are more in it from a business perspective. It really depends on the individual.

Anyway, a particular family we know runs a Jodo Shinshu temple near their house, so we paid a visit in the afternoon. My little one receive plenty of otoshidama (お年玉) gifts from neighbors and relatives, while we had a good talk in Japanese about American Buddhism and such. It was hard to converse in Japanese on a more difficult subject like that, but I managed just enough.

I haven’t had a chance to upload pictures of their temple yet, but will soon. Also, I don’t have any clear plans yet, as there’s a lot of unknowns, and then I have to return to the US in 5 days. So, the trip so far hasn’t had anything really interesting for readers. I still hope to get in touch with a couple friends, but apologies to readers for not having anything to post yet. Hopefully later in the week things will turn out better.


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