#17 Andrew


Temple: Kokubunji – another soto zen temple. I still haven’t seen anywhere where people can meditate like there are in Thai Buddhist temples. Japanese temples seem much more about lighting incense, praying to the deity and moving on.

Dedication: I met Andrew last year when I was having a pretty tough time. He’s a linguistic anthropologist and has gone to Tanzania to study an undocumented language. We did a lot of fun things together and explored some of London I hadn’t seen. We only had a brief time together but he made me smile.

Picture: a tour bus of pilgrims all chanting the heart sutra together. The tour leader keeps rhthym by tapping a stick. First they said the sutras to the hondo, then they rotated and said the to the daishido. I’m having a lazy day so I sat in the sun and watched them.

As I walk I say hello to people (Ohayou gozaimasu, konichiwa, or occasionally konbanwa if it is late). They often say “Ganbatte” which means “Try your hardest!” – a very Japanese exhortation. Sometimes they say “Ki wo tsukete” which means take care. I feel people tend to say that to me more often when I’m tired or feeling a bit rough. I was also told “Ki wo tsukete” in Tokyo when I bought a bottle of champagne from Isetann so it’s not just for pilgrimages!