Fantastic Voyage

FANTASTIC VOYAGE: Looking back, looking forward: Traditions on the decline

I’ve been teaching English in Japan for a long time, and around New Year’s, I always ask students if they eat osechi ryori. Out of the 50 or so elementary school students that I asked this year, about half said “no.” Given that it’s a very small sample size in a remote part of Japan, […]

FANTASTIC VOYAGE: Obon in Japan, compared to America

I’d been trying to think of how to compare Obon festivals in Japan and America, but for reasons I couldn’t quite put my finger on, it was very difficult. On the surface there are many similarities; however, the role of the temple in America is very different than that of Japan, so to properly understand […]

FANTASTIC VOYAGE: The process of becoming a better minister

Happy New Year! It has been two years since I last wrote, and in that time I finished my Buddhist training and have become an assistant minister in my village. It’s pretty difficult because as I was told: Being a minister is not a job, it’s a lifestyle; there’s no clocking out. But it is […]

FANTASTIC VOYAGE: Becoming a monk

Waking up at 5:30 a.m. has never been my thing. And waking up in a temple, throwing on monk robes and saying Buddhist chants for an hour on my knees when it’s snowing outside is also not usually my thing; but it’s what I found myself doing last winter. A couple of years ago, I […]

FANTASTIC VOYAGE: The road to naturalization in Japan

Few things in life are irrevocable, but renouncing your citizenship from the U.S. is one of them. And yet that is what I plan to do in order to gain Japanese citizenship. The words sound so crazy, and I always feel like I have to explain my reasoning right away, even though I’m sure most […]

FANTASTIC VOYAGE: ‘99 Nen no Ai’ – A popular Japanese drama about Japanese Americans

Any Japanese American would immediately understand what you meant if you said 442nd, E.O. 9066, or camp. But how many Japanese people living in Japan would know? Before November, not that many. However, in November, Tokyo Broadcasting System aired a drama in Japan called “99 Nen no Ai ~Japanese Americans~.” The drama was about the […]

FANTASTIC VOYAGE: Japan’s 2009 at a Glance

A new political party in power, another World Baseball Classic title, a Japanese movie winning an Oscar, the yen soaring to the highest yen-to-dollar rate in decades, North Korea continuing its nuclear tests, and Obama making his first trip to Japan as president. These are some of the biggest events of the past year in […]

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