We’re back! After wandering all over Japan, the writers have returned with some amazing stories. I’ve heard bits and pieces and can’t wait to read, edit, help publish and celebrate many of those fantastic tales. You’ll find some of them here or on our Wanderland Writers website. For others you’ll need to go to additional publications, but I’ll try to shout out where and when they will be appearing right here on the blog.
What’s always amazing to me is the ways in which our experiences of a place differ and the ways in which they connect. For example, some of us were alone in our passion for pickles, but I don’t think there was a soul among us who didn’t appreciate the magic of Henjosonin and our temple stay in Koyasan. Still, even in that unity, the reasoning was unique. Some loved the place because of the Otsutome (Buddhist ceremonies); some for the spectacular Shojin Ryori (Buddhist vegetarian cuisine); some for the beauty and profound spirituality of Okunoin, a celebrated cemetery and sacred area filled with towering centuries-old cedars, over 200,000 gravestones and the great buddhist monk Kobo Daishi Kukai’s mausoleum. Others were enamored most by the Asahi beer and sake vending machines in one of the corridors of our shukubo, or temple lodging, and visited these with frequency.
What astounds me, always, is the manner in which we can see something and not see it, be there and not be there, not be there and still be there. There are no real boundaries, and what we really discover on our wanderings is that travel is a state of mind—or more profoundly, a dimension of being that transcends space and time.
Our next Wanderland Adventure will take us to Andalusia. More about that later. For now, we are enjoying Japan!
—Linda Watanabe McFerrin