This weekend we headed for Big City by train. This was a practice run for traveling as light as possible, learning to use new technology, and keeping track of things to pack/not pack. We learned a lot from each other and I think Wabi &Sabi understand a bit more of what will be expected of them in August.
What does it mean to be Buddhist? What does it mean to be Buddhist in Japan or the US? These are questions we have been exploring.
This summer we plan to visit several Buddhist temples, especially in Kyoto, Nara, and Nagano. (Kyoumizudera, Kinkakuji, Todaiji, Zenkoji to name a few) In Japan, the main religions are Shintoism and Buddhism. Statistically speaking there are more than twice as many practitioners of religion in Japan than there are citizens! Nearly every Japanese citizen considers themselves both Shinto and Buddhist, unlike here in the USA where we often identify ourselves with one or none.
As a family we have been reading Buddha at Bedtime each night. Wabi and Sabi really enjoy the stories and the moral lesson at the end of each one. In a couple of days they will provide their own review of this book. I’m looking forward to hearing what they have to say about it.
Like most families with school aged children, we have school work rituals. After school we do our homework, play with friends outside, and then do some of our chores around the house (unless they can get out of them). But in our house we also have Japanese studies, which means we all get up just a bit early so we are ready for school and work by 8 a.m. Our bus comes just before 9 giving us about 45 minutes of Japanese worksheets or computer lessons. We have this ritual because we also go to school on SATURDAYS. At first Wabi and Sabi hated it. They didn’t speak very much Japanese; and they couldn’t read hiragana, katakana or kanji. Now that we’ve been students of the Japanese Supplementary School for more than 6 months though, they actually enjoy it. When we do a little bit of our homework each day, we remember more. Now they talk a bit to their Sensei (teachers) on Saturdays and play with classmates in Japanese. It’s a lot more fun now. Instead of thinking what a painful job it is to study every morning, we tell ourselves that we are preparing to play on Saturday.
Each morning before school Wabi and Sabi study their Japanese lessons for about 15 – 30 minutes. Sabi has a long list of homework assignments from her Sensei (teacher) at Japanese Supplementary school. Today she worked in her Japanese math workbook, and practiced reading and writing Hiragana . Wabi preferred to work on Rosetta Stone at the same time.
We’re setting up our website this week. We hope you’ll follow us this summer as we explore Japan from our kid-sized point of view.