Presenting About My Experiences Living in a Japanese Zen Temple

Colleen at Westwood Nature CenterLast week, Colleen and I went hiking at Westwood Nature Nature. Colleen has now returned to China. I miss her a lot.

Hello friends,

Spring has come (haru ga kite). I say this because while cycling around town, I see the beginning signs of spring. The hedges outside my house once had fuzzy protective buds, but now I see small specs of green erupting from their cores. Outside my window, I see that the migratory sparrows have returned, as well as the robins. Not to mention that those bitter cold nights are well behind us now.

It feels good to put away my big winter jacket and to prepare for warm days to come. I’m also looking forward to this upcoming spring because (in a sense) I am starting my life anew. I moved into a new house with two lovely roommates. I’m planning on meeting new people and making new friends. I’m also hoping to get myself to more state parks, as well as the BWCA.

Sakura Path in NagoyaThe Nagoya Sakura River Path.

In Japan, spring is a time for celebration and rejuvenation. This is when the sakura blossoms are in full bloom and most people are spending their afternoons picnicking beneath the sakura trees. This is called “Hanami” and two years ago, I was one of those people, enjoying the beautiful flower displays in Nagoya. I was also living in a zen temple. During this time, I was helping the temple prepare for their Spring Festival (Hana-Matsuri). It was an honor and pleasure to be apart of this age-old tradition and I was thankful to have been invited to attend their Buddhist ceremonies. I was even more grateful when the head monk, Oshou-san, invited me to stay longer. He told me that I could stay as long as I wanted, but that I must do my duty as a zen student to help around the temple. This resulted in my cooking for the monks, cleaning the main hall (hondo), and studying Japanese (so to better communicate with my zen peers). It was a perfect situation.

So, why am I bringing up something I did two years ago? Well, in a couple weeks, I’ll be giving a presentation about my time living in the temple, as well as, I’ll mention my time WWOOFing (World-Wide Opportunities in Organic Farming) in Azumino. I’ll be presenting at Midwest Mountaineering’s Spring Outdoor Expo. Last year, I gave a presentation on my backcountry backpacking trip through Mongolia’s Bogh Khan Uul Strictly Protected Area. I had such a good turn out that I was asked to return.

TokurinjiTokurin-ji. Here we are preparing for the Spring Festival.

My presentation is on Saturday April 25th. It starts at 11:45am at the UoM Hanson Hall, Room 105.

I am also co-presenting with my managing editor, Lou Dzeriak, about RootsRated. That presentation is also on Saturday April 25 starting at 4:45pm in the Midwest Mountaineering Expedition Room. We’ll be talking about the website and highlight its new features!

Feel free to come to my presentations. I’d love to see a friendly face in the audience.

Before I go to enjoy a family Easter dinner, I’ll mention one more thing. In early May, I will be tabling at Minneapolis Spring Comic Con with my brother Jamie. I don’t know our table yet, but when I do, I will most definitely share it with you guys. The table is mostly for my brother, who is an artist and illustrator, but I plan to have a few of my things too! : )

Well, Happy Easter. Till next time.

Much Love,


2 Comments on “Presenting About My Experiences Living in a Japanese Zen Temple

  1. Pingback: Bikes, Old Keys, and a Short Film on My Experiences Living in a Zen Temple | Molly's Journey to the West

  2. Pingback: Louisville Swamp: Backcountry Snowshoeing to Historic Jab’s Farm | Molly's Journey to the West

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