I've been blogging my best in the down time I've had to try and get the temples (are you tired of them yet?) and other adventures covered before I "run out of time" and then somehow never get around to writing them, which knowing me is a likely scenario.
Those in the know may be aware that I'm back to the US in mid-September, which if you're counting, is still like three weeks away, so I should therefore have plenty of time to 1, finish all 33 temples, 2, blog about them, and 3, see and spend time with all the friends I've yet to properly do farewell activities with.
And that would be true, but for the way this is all booked up. In a good way, and in important ways, of course.
I think I've been trying to blog the temples now because I think my perspective on them will be different on the 'other side' of the next excursion, is all. I mean, I did keep a little notebook of impressions from each temple visit, and the website where I got all my info will still be accessible (seriously, are you not tired of them yet?).. the only thing that could possibly change is my point of view.
There's just too many temples and other adventures to write about before tomorrow evening, though, so I doubt I'll make it, and we'll have to be content with whatever I manage either tomorrow morning amongst the other duties, or whatever I can come up with once I've finished my next adventure.
I guess also it's possible that the next adventure will take up a pretty significant chunk of attention.
Starting tomorrow evening, I'll be joining a Vipassana course for the first time. I almost don't know what to expect, except I've read JET accounts, and heard from and about those who have done it..
I first heard about the course from Yut while we were in Cambodia, having out wonderful sunset talk (which I refer to mentally as the 'sermon on the mount' .. yeah I know I'm out of hand) which led to our incredible nighttime bike ride (and my plowing straight into a mountain of gravel, woo!), and it was immediately a thing that sounded like it lay in the direction of my alley.
Since then, I looked it up online and realized that in order to have ten straight days of free time, I would have to wait til after my contract, or else once I was back in the US. I preferred to do it in Japan, though, because it just felt like a more.. Buddhist place, I guess, than say, south Georgia. I wanted to try this for the first time in the setting of the place I was preparing to leave. Later, it will maybe be fitting to do it in the place I am going back to.
So what I'm trying to say is, I'm going to go tomorrow to a meditation center in Kyoto (when I say Kyoto, it sounds like a fancy Japanese temple in the old capital.. but what I mean is Kyoto prefecture, an area just over the border with north Hyogo, and probably in a mountainous countryside inaka hideaway just as remote as any inaka I've been to), where I'll hand in my cell phone and books and notebooks (what?! No note-taking?! How will I manage?) and try sitting still and listening inward and not speaking to anyone for ten full days.
When it's over, I'll tell you all about it, or as much as I can, because I get the feeling that it's something you can't explain so well as do (not that I think the doing is easy, mind you).
Once that's over I will head directly to Tohoku to commence a short volunteer project with Habitat for Humanity. This might be a terrible idea just after mediation, or might be really perfect; I've yet to figure it out and probably won't know til I'm there. After spending a few days in Miyagi and then Akita (Akita not disaster zone, just a friend visit), I'll head back to Shiso just in time for my final weekend.
So in many real ways, heading into meditation is the beginning of the end for me.
I still have a list of things I want to blog (performing arts in Kyoto, Daigo-ji and Sanjusangen-do [temples], the wervs visit to Kagoshima and Ibusuki, Nakayama-dera and Katsuo-ji, Soji-ji and Fujii-dera [temples], Wakayama and couchsurfing, Kokawa-dera and Kimiidera [temples again... no but really I bet you're sick of it]) but they will have to wait.
Because for all that I run around and want to do everything, for all that there's never a dull moment, I think it will be really good to slow down, really important to be quiet.
So when you can't get ahold of me for the next two weeks, now you know why.