I was told that Himeji (姫路市) would be incomplete without a hike to the temple complex of Shoshazan Engyō-ji (書寫山圓教寺) atop Mt. Shosha (書写). A bus ride and a ropeway got me up to the top of the mountain where a good chunk of The Last Samurai was shot. Being there on the second day of the Japanese New Year / shōgatsu (正月) made for another cultural experience.
I made it up the mountain around 10 a.m. to photograph under the morning sun. I watched as many families followed but to pay respects and spiritually prepare for the upcoming year.
I always like being in the mountains. I just know I will end up living at the base of or amidst mountains. The light was just wonderful, and the mood of the site was really positive. There was a lot of smoke from some fires burning all day. I heard monks singing prayers. Gongs rang every five or ten minutes. And, surprisingly, as a tourist, I did not feel that I was trespassing. There is really something to say about a culture that does not convey any suspiciousness (if not show signs of welcome) on such an important holiday, especially when I am on spiritual ground.
There was more than just elevation beneath my feet, and so I thank you, Shosha.
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My first reaction to some of this is:
Was this a good activity for reading summary?
Did I need extra one-on-one reading help as a child?
Did I really get the gist of what I was listening to?
What was the real lesson behind all of this?
While these questions might appear critical of the schooling I received, I still know that the best was done for me when my parents came to making schooling decisions.
Toward the end of the book, I am noticing that my drawing becomes more complex -- I began to use different layers of the presentation, such as different levels of background, etc. However, the Old Testament stories seem to only have given me enough of an understanding to differentiate that the names of these people I was hearing about were male or female.
Demonstrated by the Cain & Abel drawing, I noticed no depictions of violence in any of the drawings (no blood, no weapons, etc), suggesting that my early days of loving G.I. Joe and other action figures did not have as gory a depiction on television in those days or such depictions were squelched in the classroom. In the case of Adam & Eve, I seemed to have decided that Eve deserved some Lincoln chops.
So, after all of the recent digging around in my bedroom, I have come across many cool artifacts that I had never thought I would run into again. Many of them were found stuffed into drawers with little concern for returning to them. (We all know that feeling of stuffing items into a place just to get the bedroom picked up for Mom.) So, after making an initial inventory of artifacts, I have decided to spend some time really breaking these things apart as a testimony to my growth. (Here is where many of my College of Ed cohort is going to tear me apart for sounding e-port-ish...) I will be soon begin to the portfolio of Catholic school artifacts (propaganda, for some).
Ladies and gentlemen, I announce today the beginning of a new saga to my blog (that continually spins around looking for a straight direction like a kid on a carousel)... a new series that I am going to call Artifacts of the Schooldays.
I will begin with the Catholic school years. At some undetermined point, I compiled a rather lengthy (in-?)school project where I summarized Bible stories through drawing. Every one of the kids in my family is pretty visual; we all greatly enjoyed drawing/coloring/artsy projects in and outside of school. (Runs down from my dad?) Anyway, here's the cover for starters. More updates will come through as I can recall the Bible the stories themselves and perhaps spend a little thought of my visual Bible portfolio.