Japan 2017

Last month we concluded a successful trip to Japan. We had a total of of thirty-two members join us on our trip. Each time I travel to Japan, I see something new, I experience something that inspires me and I meet people who are simply amazing.

This trip we started in Tokyo, traveled to Kanazawa and the Noto Peninsula and then headed to Kyoto. From Kyoto we visited Okayama and ended our trip in Hiroshima. While in Kyoto I was able to see and reconnect with friends. Even after decades of traveling to Kyoto and having lived there for 3.5 years, I learned new things about Kyoto. We had a wonderful tour of Nishi Hongwanji our mother temple in Kyoto.

I had one amazing experience during the first part of our trip. We had left Kanazawa by bus, and after about 20 minutes on the bus I had the sinking feeling that I had forgotten something at the inn we stayed at. I continued to check my pockets and backpack but soon realized that I had indeed somehow left or lost my money clip full of yen. I kept it to myself, since I didn’t want to admit my mistake. Within another 20 minutes our tour guide received a phone call from the inn informing us that they had found my money clip in the room and were sending it to me at our next hotel in Kyoto. I had a great sense of relief of course. And true to their word, a few days later a package arrived for me in Kyoto with my money clip and all the money intact. Others on the trip also received packages from the inn with items forgotten. When I have shared this experience with others, they are amazed that I was able to receive back my all my money.

As I reflect back on that one experience in Japan, I began to wonder what goes on in the mind of someone who works at a hotel and finds a money clip full of money. Perhaps an over simplification, but it could be as simple as they are not thinking of the self, but they are thinking of the guest(s). As an employee of the inn they are part of a team that is concerned for the guest and the reputation of the inn. This type of attitude would have to run deep throughout the staff, but also deep within each person.

Once again I am the recipient of the kindness of others. I have been treated so kindly by an unseen person who I cannot personally thank. This is the moment when I am made to realize the infinite wisdom and compassion of Amida. All I can do is bow my head and put my hands together in gassho and recite the nembutsu.

Rev. Shinseki