…how it all started
When I first visited Shikoku in 2009, I did not know a lot about this Island. What I knew is, that Shikoku has a lot of pure nature and mountains to offer. Hiking, climbing, crystal clear water, adorable landscapes and solitude.
Later I have been told, that if there are places on earth where you can feel safe and secure, even leave the front- and the back-door unlocked, one place would be Shikoku.
Its people sparkle with heartiness, friendliness and give you the impression of being down-to-earth. It is a giving-receiving mentality, an openness towards foreigners that is not really common throughout Japan.
One day, at a gasoline station in Shikoku, I was standing inside the little shop and watched at the magazines and newspapers. One single booklet was written bilingual in Japanese and English. It was a booklet about the “Shikoku 88 Temples Pilgrimage”. I took it from the shelf opened and started to read it – I was pulled away from where I physically was. I immediately and instinctively knew that – one day – I will do this pilgrimage.
Since I can think I had an affinity to nature. There, where the elements (earth, wood, water, air) gather and there out an energy spot is created. Out there, where human beings are the weak ones, nature the strong one. There, where we instantly and unconditionally get reconnected with our instincts. There, where we reconnect to our senses and open our inner ear to be able to listen to our body.
Then there are religion, culture and traditions. Possible guidelines, strict rules, authenticity, sense, motivation, inner drive, life & death. Religion, culture and traditions are often performed in nature. Imagine… meditating close by a waterfall or at the beach or on top of a mountain. Imagine… cherry blossom viewing (hanami) under a roof of uncountable cherry trees. Imagine… a wedding under blue sky with colorful flowers. Imagine… a funeral where the remains are laid back to where it came from – back to mother earth.
Then there is Japan. In a touching way, Japan lives the seemingly inseparable connection between nature, religion, culture and traditions. The many Japanese festivals (matsuri) throughout the year are often – if not always – a celebration of nature. The many Shinto (indigenous spirituality of Japan) deities are often associated with “natural” forces like mountains, rivers, lightning, wind, waves, trees, rocks. Deities (kamisama) and people are not separate, they exist within the same world and share its interrelated complexity. Interrelated in the sense of “take care of nature and nature will take care of you”.
Three reasons for this web page: nature, religion (in a broad sense) and Japan.
It all comes together, it all interrelates, it all exists within each other…
and I am blessed to be within it all.