I’ve joked in the past that I aspire to be like Yoda at tea ceremony, ie the epitome of zen. Now that’s a picture…

Sen no Rikyū, the most influential historical figure in the world of Japanese Way of Tea was a student of Zen. He served as the tea ceremony master to the infamous warlords Oda Nobunaga and Toyotomi Hideyoshi, aka the unifiers of Japan, during the warring period (1467–1615).

Rikyū is said to have incorporated the philosophy of wabi-sabi into Way of Tea, and in later years he used a tiny, simple hut especially built in the garden…

Warren Wong @wflwong

When I think of the word Earth, my sense of smell is instantly activated. I recall with joy the scent of the mischievous dusty earth under the scorching Aussie sun, and the scent of the cool ancient black soil in my back garden in Japan, in the depth of which I often found cicada grubs. Thinking of my childhood, I can almost feel the rain falling on a hydrangea-lined street during the monsoon season; the fragrant warm moist air rising up from the ground and filling my lungs. …

When the whole covid thing blew up, my first thought was, “How interesting, ‘they’ are trying to take our breath away.”

When I had the most profound ‘rapture’ experience in my life during a conscious breathwork session, I became convinced that nothing would ever shake me again from that moment on. Breath was the vehicle that carried me to the transcendental state of no time where I experienced ‘oneness.’ There was no fear, no worry, none of those emotions on that spectrum, but love, awe and indescribable freshness. I knew I’d be OK till the day I die because I’d…

I had my first (non-psychedelics-induced) profound spiritual experience in early October 2009. It was still summery in Okinawa, the southernmost part of Japan. My older sister, her husband and I flew in for a diving holiday to see the manta rays. Both my sister and my brother-in-law were experienced divers, so I was going to be trained up before we went to the Manta Scramble, a hot spot for manta rays twenty minutes out to sea.

It was my first time in Okinawa, and on the remote island we chose to stay I was enjoying everything the Okinawan culture could…

The other morning as I meditated outside I received an inspiration to hold a fire ceremony. The feeling was getting stronger by the time I got up. As I walked in the garden, fallen branches from the ash tree snapped and crunched beneath my feet. I happened to look down to see a magpie feather right on my path. This was a sign.

In my view, the Japanese myths got a bit murky at several points in history. I have a sneaking suspicion that the government sanctioned ‘organic’ assimilation of mythical characters with religious icons to justify some political agenda. The interesting result of it is that there are now several versions of the myths ‘frozen in time’ in regional folktales. The Chronicles of Susano’o, the younger brother of Amaterasu the sun goddess and Tsukuyomi the moon god, is no exception.

Unlike his luminous yet inconspicuous brother, audacious and bodacious but sometimes child-like Susano’o is a popular figure in Japanese art in general…

I’ve been pondering the importance of retreating into one’s own ‘cave’ for a few days now (I wonder why). Going deep inside of myself to seek what’s lurking underneath, then to exorcise these demons, so to speak, and finding the treasure they have been guarding for me all this time, my buddha nature.

There had been several attempts at ‘cave expeditions’ in the past. They might have been failed attempts, though, if my intention was to get to my Shangri-La. Being extremely introverted, these journeys are like recreation to me. However, being pretty timid in nature also, I haven’t dared…

Last night my dear friend complimented me on the phone saying that my stories were ‘medicine stories.’ A lovely and kind thought.

I woke up feeling pretty happy, the words ‘medicine stories’ still reverberating in my mind. I wondered if my story about the cat was in any way a medicinal story. To me it feels more like a snapshot of a daydream, now that Aurora’s slapped me in the face by leaving a gift of poo and puke in my office. Cats are stunning in their capriciousness.

When I wake up early, like this morning (surprising, the clock sprung…

You do not not fall in love just because they haven’t got that long to live. I am hopelessly falling in love with a 19-year-old cat who lives at my lodging. I am a sucker for love.

This morning, exactly one moon cycle after I moved in, I felt ‘it.’ The emotional attachment I am developing for this beautiful creature. This came with a pang of pain, a memory-induced dread for the inevitable consequence of having a family pet. Separation by death that eventually comes, which I am never ready for.

Her name is Aurora. My landlord says, ‘she only…

I struggled all day yesterday to get words out in a coherent manner in order to write this article. As a Japanese saying goes, I was even prepared ‘to brew someone’s nail grime and drink it.’ In plain English, I could’ve done with borrowing someone’s literary talent. I have a friend who effortlessly and eloquently churns out 6,000 words in a day. That’s whose nail grime I’d brew. Disgusting AND down right dangerous considering Covid-19, the very topic of my writing.

What I wanted to convey was this: it’s compelling to me that Covid-19 affects our capacity to breathe and…

Naoko Yogi Takiguchi

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