Thursday, May 27, 2010

Power Spots

There are a few workshops at school that the kids can participate in and one is essentially "international club". They want to learn more about other countries, especially the USA, since they have me here. Later we are going to cook Japanese and American foods together, for example.

So, today a few students came and asked me questions about the US. Some were about how junior high school was in my country, what surprised me about Japan and such. My favorite questions were from a group of baseball boys (you can tell by their shaved heads). "Are there any legends from your state?" Why, yes, in fact there are. So, I told them about Paul Bunyon and Babe the Blue Ox and I googled a picture of the real deal--you know, up in Bemidji.

Next question please. "Are there any power spots in your country?" Now, from the pronunciation, I thought they said power sports and so I started thinking about Ultimate Fighting and sky diving and stuff. Then I asked to look at the paper to see for myself. Hmmm...power spots? They followed up, "Are there any places we can go to get power?" I asked what an example of a power spot in Japan would be (except in much simpler language). "Akimiya", they said. That's one of the two Shinto shrines in town. Ah. I had to pause. Then I told them--nature. The Grand Canyon, Rocky Mountains, the ocean, Niagara Falls. I googled pictures of these.

But it got me thinking. I guess for Mormons, Temple Square in Salt Lake City would be a power spot. For Catholics maybe St. Patrick's Cathedral in NYC. For some uber-capitalist maybe Wall Street or something. That's one of the fundamental differences between Japan and the USA. Japan is so homogenous. One power spot works for most Japanese people. Most Japanese are somewhat Shinto (and somewhat Buddhist) whereas every American would have their own personal power spot that is meaningful and empowering to them and it may or may not be linked to any religion. Even if they are religious they may choose the north shore on Lake Superior. It's hard for these junior highers who are so wrapped up in their world of school and club sports and homework, with maybe some manga and anime thrown in, to imagine how different and diverse the US really is. Thus the workshop and having me here, I suppose. I'm sure the average junior highers in the US aren't thinking too much about Japan. Also, I'm sure they'd consider Mt. Fuji a power spot too.

It also got me thinking, can I get power just from going up to the shrine behind my house? Does it work if you're not Japanese? hee hee!

Here's a picture of one of our favorite little hidden temples, just up the mountain a bit from us.

1 comment:

  1. So beautiful!! I absolutely love ancient shrine architecture. Domo!