Ko-hee, friends and trees

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”sleepy?”

”yess… no coffee in Misono, I never really wake up!”

”ooh, here you can have ko-hee every day, just ask someone to make it. Every afternoon you can drink ko-hee”

– And such was the conversation that gave me very strong and warm sisterly feelings towards Hide. While Misono is a bit claustrophobic for my taste, with all its elegant meticulousity, the little model farm upholds a sane level of beauty and elegance, the snip of the toilet paper is still neatly folded, and every inside surface cleaned several times per day, but in the farm work it is like anywhere else. We throw around things and some fall on the side, people exchange roles fluently and each person moves to the role which is needed, there is chit chat about everything and nothing, with shy laughs when things get lost in translation, and every once in a while a song.

” Hide I have something to ask that you might find weird because it is not in your culture.
You see, for my spirituality it is very important to go into nature, and touch the soil, hug the trees to really connect, now I see all this amazing forest around and I really really want to take a walk inside it…”

Hide’s face goes blank, then he translates to the others, laughing.

”so you want to go into the forest? For me its fine, I think there are no bears… it might be the only problem if trees fall… maybe its a problem”

Hide needs to call Taka, who is my official caretaker on the trip, to get approval. Then comes back to me.

”so… tomorrow afternoon after lunch you can go have a walk. How long would you like to stay in the forest?”

”maybe some two hours?”

”two hours?!” Hide laughs again…

Later same day after lunch cooked on the traditional wood-stove Eri brings me a whole thermus of ko-hee, and sits down next to me to chat until she is called back into the kitchen. I stay seated on my pillow on the floor and pour myself a second cup and a third, and keep the cup close to my face as I change between inhaling and sipping, as I fall into the gentle music and the fresh air coming from the open door.

The house’s sensei brings me three little packages of ready to use drip filter kohee.

”special gift”

Indeed it is

”Arigatooo gozaimasu”

Next day indeed I go into the forest, in the pouring rain, to the one temple where I truly feel at home. And Eri brings me more ko-hee, more beautiful, beautiful ko-hee.

Peace quietens the space around me, and my heart expands into the great one-life.

Arigato gozaimasu….

 

 

 

 

 

Misono days

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With a babbling brook outside our bamboo covered windows, and all the simplicity I have been yearning for my whole live in our bamboo mat covered room with two futons and a low table a night in Misono could not be any more peaceful.

The days however can leave you out of breath. Morning call is at 6:00 am but in order to perform the mandatory ritual cleaning of the bathroom before breakfast 5:45 is more realistic. After the cleaning a clothes change is required as you cannot enter the temple in work clothes or jeans. Then breakfast is served in the canteen two floors up – our meals are rice, soups and tea three times a day. After washing the adorable little bowls and placing each part back in its original place, and head towards the temple were you wash hands and mouth in the fountain, and bow in all the right places on the way to the entrance where you cover your shoes with plastic slippers before coming inside Meishusama’s hall (which reminds me of Mariko Mori’s imaginary of a space ship: elegant, feminine, bright and deliciously beautiful, though less colourful – no photos allowed inside so you will have to trust me xD).

After morning service with chanting and Jyorei (healing sharing) we change clothes to work and go for dedicated hoshi activity. The point is not what work you do, but to focus the mind on selfless service for the happiness of all beings – in my case means turning over soil and making compost outside in the fresh mountain air. NOT BAD. (most of the other hoshi tasks are Cinderella inspired jobs such as cleaning floor or mattresses on your knees, scrubbing the kitchen etc.)

After hoshi the clothes change again and we venture back into the temple for evening service, followed by bowing, rice, greetings, and my dear Brazilian friend with much eloquence extorting sexy Japanese phrases from our very shy Japanese friend.

After all this left is only to roam around the reception area to pick some wifi to talk to my boo, or finding our Sensei to see if he will break the tea monotony with a oh so beautiful whiff of coffee, or as we say ”ko-hee”. I haven’t made it to a ko-hee encounter yet though, I have mere managed to collapse on futon, and as it says in the sleeping instruction manual (because everything in japan comes with a manual): ”lastly please get into bed and sweet dreams”

Tomorrow 05:45 repeat…