Still hanging in there..

Hello and warm, actually very hot, greetings from Takamatsu!

The summer is well upon us, and we have had several days in the 40 degree celsius zone. We would all like to immediately blame the current White House administration of America for all the global warming, but pesky science teaches that this has been an ongoing problem for some time. Let’s hope, and plan, for better days ahead. No one wants their kids and grandchildren living in a world that has the surface temperature of the sun.

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John with Mark.
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Mark with John.

But I digress… yet again. And why not? This is a blog. This is a site on which I am free to ponder, or drool, in any and all directions in which I choose. Nevertheless, I shall try to update this blog, and our kind visitors on what is going on.

As usual, our company is quite busy and we had a very nice summer school program with the kids. I always like it, as it breaks the regular routine and lets us communicate and get to know each other better. It is astonishing to see how they grow and develop!

The ohenro are still on the roads and paths all over Shikoku, but summer is excruciatingly hot and unforgiving. As such, the numbers are fewer but autumn is prime time for pilgrimage so it will be great to see more people travel in white, staff in hand, putting the miles in as they go.

Our little company has also made some inroads with local government and we are approved to submit projects for promoting the prefecture. We have a format in mind and I think it would be great to have a chance to do what we can to make the pilgrimage better known, and do what we can for making it more accessible.

In other news, my book, that has been in development for over ten years is getting closer to completion. I think it should be ready to go by 2019. It is entitled, “Escape from Calvinism: Why You Need To Get Yourself Free”. It is autobiographical, highly critical, and is somewhat stream of consciousness. So, if you are reading these lines it is much like the style and tone of this page. But with curse words for flavouring. Sorry about that.

Life is good. I celebrated a birthday recently and am now at the ripe age of 49. Astonishing. But I feel healthy, lucky, and in the head-space I need to be. Now each day is approached, as best I can, with a sense of how I can serve others. My kids, my wife, my company, our team of teachers, the kids in our classrooms, the parents that bring them, my neighbours, my fellow Takamatsu-city dwellers, and people I meet wherever I go…

Maybe it is easy to hang on to things that hurt us in the past. We should do what we can to put that stuff in its place, seek chances to right wrongs, and be of service to lead and model better ways to live. I know I have made mistakes along the way, but I would like to focus on the lesson learned rather than the scars that resulted. At 49, with a reckless past, that is inevitable. I ask for forgiveness where I can, and leave the nonsense that tries to drag me back where I cannot. So much is different than what we imagine it should’ve been. But, no regrets…

Hope you feel similar fellow pilgrims. Travel safe and well.

Mark

 

The Invitation

At this time we are in the process of getting things formalized for inviting tour groups to come to Kagawa to experience the incredible Shikoku Pilgrimage. We have worked very hard this last year and things are coming together nicely.

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If you are new to this site, and are here to find our more about what the Shikoku Pilgrimage is about, I hope you will take some time to look through some of these pages. There are a few caveats I need to give you right away.

  1. This website is far from complete. Last year I finished the 88 temple pilgrimage and I am still updating information on the site. Last year was a “gyaku-uchi” year, so we traveled the pilgrimage in reverse starting at the last temple, number 88. So, if you are looking for my own journey, please start there. I have been updating the information as I have been going along and I am down now to the early 30’s. I hope to get this all updated as soon as possible. The pages all have photos, just no explanations or history–YET.
  2. I am not a tour guide operator, but I work closely with a group of business people and one of our members is a tour operator. If you are a travel agency, please contact me via email (cometokagawa@gmail.com or englishbiztakamatsu@gmail.com) and I promise to respond in a timely manner.
  3. Should you decide to come to Shikoku, we believe you are going to have an unbelievable experience. Coming to Japan is a marvelous thing in itself, and you will surely enjoy the great sites of Tokyo, Nara, Kyoto, and Osaka. I love all those places myself. But coming here you will find a certain closeness and “hands-on” experience that you will not get in the more high traffic tourist places.

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There are also a few things I want to tell you about our great Come to Kagawa project as well. Some of it is pretty cool so I can start to let the cat out of the bag early on. We have been in conversation with several people who are masters or artisans in their specific fields and each is very interested and keen to share their knowledge and passion for art with groups that will come.

Our team of artists and experts are in the following fields:

–tea ceremony

–calligraphy

–zen meditation

–Shintoism

–udon making

–bonsai gardening

–kimono wearing

We are absolutely blown away with the intensity of interest these artists have in their desire to share their knowledge and passion with visitors. Many have said the same thing, that they have a certain “urgency” to share with others. They have the knowledge of art in their hearts and minds and just want to share that passion with others so that their art will continue beyond them.

These would be things that visitors could surely enjoy and participate in, in addition to the 88 Buddhist Temple Pilgrimage itself. We think that we are cooking up a very unique and supremely fun experience here. So, if you have received an invitation to come to our fair prefecture of Kagawa, and if you are interested in talking about the specifics, please get in touch with us. We are very much looking forward to talking with you soon.

Yours truly,

Mark

Sacred Journeys Documentary

If you are considering coming out to Shikoku to experience the 88 Buddhist Temple Pilgrimage, a documentary you might consider checking out is this one:

 

 

It is the episode of the television series, Sacred Journeys, which takes place all over the world and is an exploration of different kinds of journeys and pilgrimages, discussing the purpose, the journey, and those who travel these paths. This episode is quite well done and it is a good representation of what you may see should you come out this way. It is a bit long, so get yourself a cup of tea, settle in, and enjoy.