It was said that when he would sit in Zazen in a temple or other structure that even the mice that had been squeaking away behind the walls would rather quickly become a part of the quiet blanket he threw over the room. This reminds of Krishnamurti as much the same was said about his presence as well.
I have not the time or energy to go into the important parts of life surrounding the advent of the Meiji era and just what a crucial figure he was and will save that for another time. Yamaoka died of the very painful disease of stomach cancerage of It is said that the day before he died, he realized that the training Dojo was rather quiet.
He was informed that the practice had been called off to honor his weakened state. In a show of bravery and dignity that has rarely been seen in history and especially in relatively modern history, Yamaoka gathered his disciples together on his last day.
He wrote his Death poem in classical Samurai style, sat in front of his students in Zazen and died. An act that is scarcely be comprehended much less copied. His final writing in the Death poem was:. Translated as:. Tightening my abdomen. The caw of a morning crow. Bushido is the proper way of life for the Japanese. If you have made it this far I will add on one more little tidbit to the story. Anyway, I am sure that in its early days it was an honorable and legitimate place to train the mind and spirit.
I have added a 8 minute clip from a podcast show I used to do where I talk about it in detail. Take a listen if you please. Tom, what a fascinating story of abuse. You learned a very valuable lesson about mind control. Glad you got away with both body and mind intact. Otto Yamaoka was quite accomplished, as well, and once easily defeated four men who attacked him in an alley, because he danced with one of their girlfriends. Otto played the Japanese ambassador to the U. Thank you for the comment. Yes it was a great lesson into the darkest aspects of the mind and in that sense I am glad I experienced it.
Thank you. Your email address will not be published. These 10 stories are known by most all Japanese and by some long-time foreign residents. It is interesting to note that while most of the stories i. The Magic Bandanna and The Tanuki Band of Shojoji have good morals, the moral of the stories in a few others seems to be little more than "you'll be happy when you kill your enemies.
It is also interesting to note who the heroes and heroines are in the book. For example, in "The Monkey and the Crabs" one of the protagonists is…a cow pie. Try finding that in Western children's tales. If the stories are to be believed, the reader will learn a lot about the Japan of days gone by. If the tales are to be taken literally, Japan has a lot of old, childless couples living in mountains, that the mountain men spent a lot of time gathering firewood, and that flying animal friends are good for surveilling enemies.
One big bonus for the Japanese English language learners is that there are 13 pages of notes in the back explaining difficult English words and phrases. For example, the phrase "drumming his fingers" is explained in Japanese. Another way of looking at it is that Japanese English language learners can learn how Japanese expressions are translated into English.
Although the book is small and thin enough to carry around in your pocket, there are still cute drawings large enough to aid in the understanding of the stories. You can enjoy the stories for what they are, but readers can also better understand what values Japanese want to teach and have taught their children for many years. Continuing on from Once Upon a Time in Japan see review above , this book is composed of 10 additional well-known Japanese children's stories. While the stories in this book are arguably not as famous as the stories in the first book, most of them are still recognized by most Japanese.
Even foreigners will probably recognize the story of Tanabata, since it is listed on many Japanese calendars. Seen through the prism of modern sensitivities, some will unsurprisingly find a few of the stories far from politically correct. Among the lessons to be learned from the stories are 1. Step mothers are bad, 2.
Book: The Way Of The Dragon
Ugly women are mean and 3. Pretty women are kind and good. Like the first book, some of the stories teach good morals such as don't break promises, treat the less fortunate well and don't be greedy. A few of the stories seem to only say, "Revenge is good. And it served him right, don't you think? Readers can sometimes tell just how long ago some of the stories were written. In Baby Grandma, the grandfather looks into a water barrel to see his reflection. There are no mirrors yet, I guess. Like the first book, there is a good glossary in the back to help English learners with difficult phrases, although it certainly can be used by learners of Japanese, too.
One example is the explanation of "he wrinkled his nose.
Parents looking for an uplifting book for their children broaching the subject of the destruction of the Hiroshima bombing should consider Takayuki Ishii's One Thousand Paper Cranes, the well-known story of Sadako Sasaki. Initially, two-year-old Sadako survived the bombing, but years later, as a sixth grader, she came down with radiation sickness, was hospitalized and died within a fairly short period of time.
Her story has become famous for her continued belief that if she just folded one thousand paper cranes cranes being a symbol of good luck in Japan , that her wish to become healthy again would come through. She finished the thousand cranes and started on a second thousand, but her wish never came true. The author, who visited with a number of Sadako's relatives, writes of the young girl's life from birth to death, and focuses on Sadako, her family and her friends at school.
The book is clearly not intended as an in-depth study of World War II, focusing pretty much only on the story of Sadako. In fact, on the first page the author states that he wrote the book for "the children of America and other English-speaking children of the world. From page 15, "Every man, woman and child for miles around was either killed or seriously injured or burned. The reader will definitely come away from the book with a sense of how much Sadako loved her family, and how much she was loved by her family and schoolmates.
One obvious criticism of the book is the surprisingly poor quality of the pictures. It appears that the low quality of the paper is to blame. Also, about half dozen of the pages have illustrations, some of them full-page illustrations, that have no captions, so the reader is left to wonder who drew the art and what the background of it might be. Also, strangely, the point size on the captions that do exist are larger than the point size of the regular print. At the end of the book there is a one-page explanation of how to fold an origami crane.
There are also two pages of the words and music to the song Genbaku-wo-yurusamaji, a song mentioned several times as having been sung by the survivors. Some readers might find it interesting that the author is likely coming from a different point of view than many others who have written about World War ll. Author Ishii was born and raised in Japan, but became a Christian and went to theology school in America.
He and his wife are both Methodist ministers. One can learn a lot about a culture, for example what values are prized and taught to youngsters, by reading the children's books produced in that culture. Florence Sakade has compiled 20 of Japan's best children's stories. First assembled in , these stories have been redone with updated drawings. The story of Little One Inch, by the way, goes back around years.
If the stories are to be believed, they explain to non-Japanese the reason why men and women dance like they do, why kumo means both spider and cloud, and why jellyfish have no bones. Quite educational! If all you knew about Japan came from this book, you would think that there are lots of pots filled with gold buried in the ground, that there are lots of gullible people and animals, and that good pretty much always triumphs over evil.
As you would expect, most of the stories have morals ie don't be jealous, be clean, don't hurt others etc , but some do not. They just kind of end. In The Badger and the Magic Fan, for example, evil is punished but those hurt by evil do not recover. Overall, this is a cute book which is great for children, yet also good for non-Japanese adults to get a peek into the lessons that a young child is taught in Japan.
Origami, the traditional art of making objects out of folded paper, dates back to at least the year in Japan, and maybe before. Over the years origami has become most often associated in the Western mind with the story of Sadako, the Japanese elementary school-aged girl who, suffering from the effects of radiation due to the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, believed that by folding one thousand origami cranes that she could be healed of her disease.
Cranes are a traditional sign of long life and happiness in Japan, and it is said that one crane represents one thousand years of happiness. This book starts with a short introduction of origami literally "folded paper" , then talks about the paper used in origami. When Luke reaches down to pet him the old dog whines and moves away.
As the final bell sounds, the commotion signals the end of another workday for Nancy. Feeling tired but with a sense of accomplishment, she is ready for the weekend break. Putting away her books and charts, Nancy notices a figure at her door out of the corner of her eye. Turning in that direction, she is surprised to find a much thinner Luke standing in the doorway.
I made a terrible mistake, did an awful thing. Can you ever forgive me? I know that you had a bad lot compared to most of the rest of us. But to become so hardened, what have you got to show for your sorry? Just a strong desire for us to be the way we used to be……………before I thought the war gave me privileges that were wrong. I had everything wrong but……. Can you find it in your heart to do that Nancy?
We go back a long ways. Just maybe. After all, I am a teacher. But when she looked aside and caught my gaze, her lips uncurled and her eyes caught mine. Beyond a need, or one that mattered not, she held on. While people brushed by to and fro, all attuned to the crosswalk glow, I held on too. Blessed by Starbucks all about, we fell aside the crossing push to sip a cup and let it be. As cups with frothy tops passed by, their holders watching other palms, she told me that she taught, and asked about me. I told her that it was another world, I did shows for culinary flair, pleasant couples, no needs at hand, smiled and watched me play.
It was fun being with her, the scent of ivory towers brought back a time afore, and her nice looks with a mind to match, made an edge of interest something more. My wayward ways she did not seem to mind, the reach of her eyes told me that. When it was time to go, I ask for her number as we dusted about, two colors of one ilk.
But she made it easy as if there was no other way, and handed me her card. She said that the number was on the back. Only muzak voices that asked for a note had anything to say. The disappointment was sharp at first, but slowly slid to dull, like those that had passed that way before. Time moved on to a steady click, and I just let it go. After needy clinks of china, and mindless chatter with bellies full enough to watch, I did OK. And a fan that sometimes hung on for more to do, passed my time a little bit.
But a lot I roamed the walk, that crossed the avenue. Balmy autumn, shades of orange and green, turned to windswept grey and shadows darker still. She was gone. One night I dropped a line when I looked out and saw her smiling on. An elegant gent was at her table too. I did my show by rote, and kept my eyes where they belonged. While walking home alone, feeling anger that she had put me on a stage, I crossed the avenue, to find a taxi parked along the curb. As I neared, the dark glass slid down to show her face, just as it had been that day we met. She said that her father had to go, would I show her where I lived?
So deep in, with little choice, I almost smacked her face. It was late and even if no father was, things would have to be. I took her words to heart, and it hurt to see that it was not so much. Only fans, him and her, and me. Despite all this time apart I am snapped back to that time we knew together. Wholly unprepared for this discovery, I quickly learn just how deep some things can run. Things that lie mostly dormant yet are a part of the main, always there just waiting for the right synapse.
I thought that I had a much better handle on my past and what it makes of me. Thought that I would not be so taken unawares in my years. Memories of her flood my mind. And a lump in my throat tells me that it is not just in my head. Suddenly, out of the past, I am touched. Young and new, Southern Appalachian boy and Northern New Jersey girl, a mutual bloom along a common route, we were. I knew that she wanted me. She had told others. And she knew that I was looking for a steady girl.
All my friends knew that. In the small underground social groups of that time word of such things got out no less than in society at large. Perhaps even more so. That was one way that I knew that Julie was not promiscuous as many other hippies were. Another was from my own interactions with her on a more intimate level. We were alike that way. The others, most well into their own relationships, simply were socially aware. It made for a smoother trip through those times.
Like two rare birds, Julie the colorful art student, and me a drab military veteran back in school, we flashed our young wares. It seemed only natural that evening, among the community, spaghetti, and warmth, that I should try to make it with her again. And it seemed that Julie wanted that as well.
Can you do that? Much different from the freedom of academia, there were struggles and disappointments to begin with but we pulled together and found that, though times could be unpleasant, we were indeed young and stronger for the effort. Eventually times became less arduous and more relaxed. Perhaps it was then that our bond began to flex and grow less tight. Some of the principles of our former counterculture began to yield to the pressures of a money driven society. Avenues and uncommon roads took on a different light and seemed to beckon our growing confidence and changing priorities.
We began to explore things that might have seemed too mainstream before. But not always together. Because of her natural beauty Julie was frequently hit on by the customers of the Soho Arts Cooperative of lower Manhattan where she worked as a buyer. She would tell me of those encounters and laugh them off leaving me unconcerned about it. But the one that would do the damage she never mentioned until it was probably too late to gain a foothold in my priorities. I had recently lucked out with a new and better paying job in the Behavior Sciences Department of Bellevue Hospital.
In other words, for one of her bosses. Since all the work was done in the cooperative studio and Julie was well paid for it she felt it unnecessary to tell me about it. But when the paintings of her became so well known for the lovely model that appeared in them, it all came out. She became so sought after that she began doing it full time, making a lot more money than I did. Involved in my work, I simply chalked it up to the Southern boy, Yankee girl thing.
Just different styles but likes in the heart. And I helped spend the money on higher living along the path to wherever we ex-hippies were going. Too much my thoughts were about not checking the teeth of a gift horse and not enough about there is no free lunch. We were happening…..
Quickly, I made the short trip from Bellevue across Manhattan to the cooperative. I was a little surprised to find that the shop was closed during her sitting or standing or whatever it was called but I had no time to ruminate about that if I was to meet the investment deadline. I hurried through the shop to the connecting door and, without thinking, pushed it open.
There, my beautiful naked Julie was, her arms gripping the hind quarters of a bronze pony, while one of her bosses pummeled her from behind. It was very late. It was much later still after I walked the many blocks up to what only hours before had been my midtown home. For a good while after that I was not all present. Just so much tissue going along by rote.
Julie and I never spoke much after that. Julie and her driver gave me a ride to LaGuardia and before I got out of the car at the drop point Julie laid a hand on my arm. And then in my mind I heard that scream that haunts me still. I needed the drive to defuse if it were possible. At needful times I had always been able to bet on the Appalachians for that.
The scenery along the way was magnificent and I felt myself begin to ground a bit by the time I reached my new home. A small but sturdy structure atop the Blue Ridge chain with a view across the valley to its parent Appalachians, my place would be plenty enough. It was nothing like where I was coming from when it came to material resources but I had provided it with all the ways necessary to keep up with my investments. And it was thoroughly stocked for new beginnings. A place where silence was familiar, cherished. I have new loved ones now and the peace that comes from that.
And I grieve, trying to hide it from my wife. She thinks all my nightmares are about the war. More baggage, good and bad. The scream is not good certainly, worse than any I have heard. But I loved Julie, and that is more the constant. Her trip is over and I have to believe it was a good and kind exit. Our travels often befool us in many ways but if mine ever take me by the place where this obituary says she is, I will leave a Rhododendron bloom to pay my respects.
She is addicted to Pokemon Go, but only because she was deprived of Pokemon games when she was young. She likes taking pictures of cloud formations, but only after it rains. Christine Kim envies people with face dimples, because unfortunately she only has dimples on her back. She hates vinegar. Christine finds views from the top soothing, even though she is afraid of heights. Please, talk to me. Why do you keep avoiding me? And you know what? Do you even care about our relationship?
Of course I care Ellie. You are my girlfriend. As she entered her room, tears started running down her face. A few hours past, Ellie, feeling hungry, decided to grab a quick meal at the cafeteria. However, just as she put her hand on the doorknob, she hesitated. What if we meet? She wondered, Jay is probably not even there, maybe off doing his crazy job and whatnot.
And who cares if I see him? He should be the one worrying. She leaned closer to listen with curiosity. Thank you, agent. What on earth was he talking about? What do you want…. We have to work together Jay is a spy! Suddenly, she heard footsteps coming towards the door. Heart racing, she dashed back to her dorm. When she got back, her cellphone rang. It was Jay.
Do you think you could meet me at my dorm right now? The door was open and the room was dark when she got there. She took a few steps in. Then, out of nowhere, she felt someone blindfold her and tie her down to a chair. Just when she was about to cry out for help, Ellie felt someone take off the blindfold. Ellie saw Jay standing in front of her, his hands behind his back. Why am I all tied up? You really are a spy! With a visibly pained expression, Jay cocked the gun. Jay please. Ellie screamed. A cold jet of water splashed onto her face, leaving her sputtering and utterly shocked.
For a minute, Ellie stared dumbfoundedly at Jay, the water dripping down her face. Then, Jay broke into a smile and doubled over laughing. You scared me half to death! Ha ha ha!
- Book: The Way Of The Dragon.
- The discipline of freedom: a Kantian view of the role of moral precepts in Zen practice;
- Practical Dojo Projects (Practical Projects).
A joke to make you think I was a spy! I know. Look, I was thinking all day to gain back your trust and our relationship. I just thought it would be nice if we reenacted our spy play we did for first grade play night. I wanted to bring back ourselves to day one and try to start fresh and new. How can I possibly forget? I really will. Reminiscing old memory is good but can you please let me go now?! When they parted, Ellie smiled and opened the door to leave. This had to be something good. Black Sheep Bobby my mom calls him. She says all he wears is blue jeans and flannel shirts.
One summer, me and Bart went there for a week. Like a log cabin in the woods or something. Bart was lucky. You can come too. She said I could be the one to tell you. Besides Uncle Bobby has everything we need and he drives a big pickup truck. He can haul stuff in the back, he can tow a boat and even put a canoe on top of it. It is big and green.
What do I need to bring? Just bring clothes and stuff. Is it okay? If Uncle Bobby says so, I guess it is okay. Friday finally came. Riding in a truck was so cool. The truck went bump when we pulled off the road onto a dirt path and we both were startled awake. There were two bedrooms and a living room with a kitchen on one end.
Fostering Lifelong Community Among the FUMFA family
It had a fireplace and a porch with wood piled on it. Me and Bart figured it was near to heaven. Use it or the woods. Whatever you want. We get to pee outside without getting in trouble. Best hot dogs ever. Right over the fire on a stick. Uncle Bobby whittled the end of the stick with a knife to a point. Well, that and bottles of Coke. Bobby ate five. I think I ate four.
And two Cokes each. This was living. Me and Bart were sure we could live there forever. We sat around the campfire talking about baseball until the sky was full of stars. It was really dark when we walked the short distance from the fire to the camp. Big day tomorrow. I put flashlights on your bunks. Came up empty. I was relieved we made it inside in one piece. I think me and Bart were asleep in two minutes. Wake up. Did you hear that? I think bears are coming. You hear it this time? You think they are bears? A light started moving around and Uncle Bobby appeared in the doorway.
Phew, now all was well and we were still tired. I woke to a bit of smoke in the bedroom and the lovely smell of fried meat. We never had bacon at home—too expensive. Bart sat up in bed and smiled at me. We went into the main room of the camp to the sound of sizzling eggs on the stove. Uncle Bobby was at the stove flipping eggs with one hand and moving bacon around with the other. Like a magician. Uncle Bobby grabbed the toast as it popped, buttered it, and loaded up plates. It was quiet after the coons settled down.
You two sleep okay? We ate all the bacon that was cooked. Fishing calls. You two take the canoe and wear your lifejackets.
We paddled around and fished pretty much in the middle of the lake. We caught five perch that morning. The biggest two were mine. Felt pretty good to catch a fish on a hook you baited. Shore lunch it is. Fresh-caught fish with cheese and crackers washed down with Cokes. Never had a better lunch. After lunch, we went back out on the lake. I was getting the hang of canoeing. The fishing was good along the shore where some trees were partway in the water.
Bart kept tugging. Saved the lure. Hand my paddle back now. Bart turned around and looked over my shoulder. It was a beautiful day for a swim. Uncle Bobby had set up a chair to watch us cross the lake pushing a canoe while swimming. He just sat there smiling and shaking his head. We made it back to camp in time for supper. Whadda say? Uncle Bobby cooked the fish over the campfire.
Boy, it went down fast. I guess all the swimming with the canoe made us hungry. Me and Bart were sure Uncle Bobby could cook anything over a fire and make it delicious. Now, I know me and Bart could live here forever. As long as Uncle Bobby was here, I guess. He never seems to run out of Cokes. The campfire was burning nicely. Uncle Bobby smiled as we made quite a big pile. Then some more. All the while Uncle Bobby was smiling. Nothing better than a big fire. I saw Uncle Bobby coming around the corner of the camp carrying a big bucket.
He went down to the lake and filled it up and poured it out on the ground between the fire and the camp and along the sides of the slope by the fire. He kept pouring bucket after bucket. I had to back away because the fire was getting too hot. We no longer had a campfire but a bonfire. Bart kept throwing on wood and Uncle Bobby kept pouring water. The wind shifted and Bart looked like he saw a ghost. The ground was on fire most of the way to the lake. The water Uncle Bobby poured kept the fire from spreading to the camp or to the sides of the path to the lake. The ground was black and scorched between the fire and the lake.
Good thing the fire had been moved closer to the lake. Now you see what can happen. The fire settled back down and so did we. It was a beautiful night by the fire and the stars were bright. It was a good day but it was time to hit the sack. Breakfast was eggs again.
The Dojo Crusher
Runny yellow and hard whites. All I ever had was scrambled.
Uncle Bobby had bacon done already and added pancakes to breakfast. Better hit the lake and catch some fish for lunch. Life jackets on, we dragged the canoe to the water and shoved off. It was going to be a big lunch as we started catching sunfish right off. Big ones too. Bart liked to leave them in the bottom of the canoe but mine were on a stringer hanging over the side. Then we heard about five booms in a row coming from near a camp on the other side of the lake. Men in one of the three boats looks up and sees us heading towards them.
They crank the outboard motor and head right at us. The boat was almost on top of us when it stopped. Now I was worried. He revved up the motor and sped away. Hey, Uncle Bobby is on the shore waving to us. Looks like he wants us to come in. When we got back to camp, Uncle Bobby said we should relax and have an early lunch. Wardens are the good guys in the woods. But they have to deal with bad people sometimes. What can we do for you? Skin on. Keeps the meat moist and sweet. Care to join us? I have to go to work.
Been reports of explosions on the water to gather fish. They came in about a half hour ago. You might want to ask at the camp on the other end of the lake. Me and Bart looked at each other, neither of us wanting to get out of our chair. After Uncle Bobby loaded the canoe on the truck, we spent the afternoon exploring the woods around camp. We were worried about supper with no fish, but Uncle Bobby had cans of something called Spam.
He said it was a Hawaiian delicacy. The slices were perfectly shaped and boy, was it good. After an early supper, me and Bart went into the woods to pee outside one last time. We giggled until we saw a skunk come around the outhouse. The skunk ignored us as it waddled around and then headed off into the woods. Remember that. This way your moms will be fooled. Me and Bart carried our stuff out to the truck and said goodbye to the camp. My dad said he changed after being in Viet Nam. I told her it was the best weekend ever.
And there is always tomorrow. And it was hot. Good, hot, sweaty weather. Perfect swimming weather. I had permission from my mom to go swimming. Bart never had to ask, but I had to. It could get embarrassing for me when I did. But I had permission to go to the swimming hole. Sandwiches in pockets and towels around our necks, we mounted our bikes and headed to the river.
We called the easy access area of the river the swimming hole. We liked it because not very many people swam there what with the new town pool. The water was clear, but kinda brown. Mom said it was from the tree roots. Seemed fine to me and Bart. We ditched our bikes on top of the hill overlooking the river and ate our sandwiches while leaning against a tree. What a life! It was just us two there anyway. Bart loved the rope swing that launched him into the river. The rope was at least three inches in diameter with a big knot at the end.
Related Mouse in the Dojo (Short Writings - Japanese Stories)
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