JSI – May 23

<— May 22                                          May 23, 2012                             May 24  — >

This video is connected to our first days at learning some Japanese.  Please do not take any offense.  The lyrics are about the challenges to the human character posed by technology.

This early morning, I walked the bike path around the bike path.  There were some detours by a community flower garden and by some schools.  The Diamond Head side of the canal – the southern side of the rectangle had a golf course.  It was a pleasant morning walk.

Fujikawa-Sensei led us in an activity to get to know each other through introductory questions in Japanese.  I had learned that she had been a Peace Corps volunteer teacher of art in Korea in the 1970s so we connected by experience.  I gave her a donation for our son’s memorial fund and she gave me a copy of the memorial book on Thursday morning.  She is a very memorable and warm, caring individual and an educator is well understands using a variety of instructional activities to enhance student learning.

Professor George Tanabe, a professor emeritus in religion and an engaging instructor, introduced us to Shintoism, Buddhism, and the uses of practical religion in Japan and in the Japanese communities in Hawai’i.  We had a bit of discussion over the uses of terms like high and low religions and the value placed by others on someone else’s religion, considered to be superstition.  He told us some challenging Shinto creation explanation – particularly about female-male relations.  The sun god created Japan by stirring up the thicker parts of the life-liquid, with Japan forming from the drips.  Then the sun god and the sun goddess went down to Japan and a pole rising from its center.  They walked around the pole in opposite directions.  When the sun goddess met the sun god, she spoke first about meeting a handsome man.  The sun god was offended that she spoke first and made them walk around again.  When they met again, the sun god said that he had excess life source and the sun goddess said that she felt lacking and needed some life source.  From their joining, the kami – gods – were born.  We had some discussion of the descent from the sun goddess by the emperors of Japan and the list of lineage.  We mentioned that there are other lists of lineage in the religious world – the children of Aaron, the descent from Adam ascribed to Jesus, … Professor Tanabe shared other Shinto tales and explained about how Japanese tend to make use of Shinto for temporary blessings – for health, for safety, success, … He later told us that for funeral most Japanese use Buddhist rites and for marriage increasingly Japanese use Christian rites.

In the second part of his presentation, Professor Tanabe discussed the evolution of Buddhism in Japan, the basic concepts of the 4 noble truths and 8-fold path, the dilemna with desiring to avoid desire, the notion that karma is not endangered if one does not have intention, a discussion of the importance of grace over right action, and the rise of the Pure Land movement, the most common form of Buddhism in Honolulu.  He included his presentation with a short survey of amulets and good luck charms popularly used.

After class, our hiking group of 4 – Lien Fan, William, Cara, and me – found the 5 bus near Don Quijote and went to Manoa Falls in Paradise Valley.  It was a good hike in a moist, dense forest.  We returned for some shopping at Don Quijote and then dinner at Phuket Thai.

Here’s some images from the canal walk and our hike into Paradise Valley.

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If you have any questions about this website, please contact David Stoloff – stoloffd@easternct.edu .

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