I came back to London from 3 weeks’ stay in Japan a week ago, feeing finally recovered from the jetlag.
It was very nice to be reunited with my folks and friends for the first time after the March 11 tsunami & earthquake and see how they were all doing. None of them directly got hit by tsunami but had been affected by the biggest earthquake in their lives and the radioactivity scare. Many of them seemed eager to talk about their experiences so I was happy to listen. I could also see different positions and feelings coexist in one person as well as in the society; despair, anxiety, depression, regret, willingness to take actions to transform the society, the wish to go back to the old ways, and the need to just forget about everything and relax. On a practical level, there are still thousands of people still missing in the northern region and many survivors are waiting for their turns to receive temporary housing.
I experienced an interesting synchronicity while I was there — three friends in separate occasions in four days recommended me to go to a shinto shrine called ‘Ise Shrine’ in western region of Japan. I of course felt that I had to follow it and planned a day trip on the only free day I had during my stay in Japan. (About Ise Shrine; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ise_Grand_Shrine) The whole place felt more other-worldly and sacred than any other shrines that I know — a dwelling place for very ancient nature spirits. After the visit, I feel something in me have shifted. Seeing how many people are talking about the shrine (three more friends told me about it after I planned on a visit), I think many people there are also yearning to have deeper connections with the land and the ancient spirituality of Japan.