Mind Over Matter

Mind Over Matter

Mind Over Matter

Mind Over Matter

After arriving in Japan decades ago on January 11, 1987, one had the opportunity to visit an elementary school as a guest—in the middle of frigid January.

Much to one’s surprise, the heating system consisted of a worn out kerosene heater, which had seen better days struggling in the back of the classroom.

Stove - Land Of The Rising Son

In icy January and February, it was as cold inside the building as it was outside.

Unfazed by the icy cold, the pupils carried on about their day in a most routine manner—some of the boys in short pants.

This is also where one first got the history lecture of the events leading up to the period of isolationism starting with the ouster of the Jesuits and Christianity from the early 16oos.

Silence-The Tale Of Jesuit Failure In Japan - Land Of The Rising Son
Unfortunately, the history lecture was carried out by the excited Japanese teacher at the back of the freezing classroom to a white-face who just fell off the plane and could not speak Japanese at all.

I-dont-know - Land Of The Rising Son

It was not only until several years later where this impromptu Japanese history lesson concerning  the Japanese Christian being persecuted became clear as one could recall him going though the motion of stomping on pictures of Christ to prove their loyalty to the daimyo while explaining the history of Japan.

踏み絵を踏んでいる - Land Of The Rising Son

踏み絵 - Land Of The Rising SonNevertheless, this classroom experience was a dramatic introduction to the ancient Shinto concept that enduring the cold of winter as one of the fastest and most efficient ways to develop extraordinary mental control and intellectual and spiritual awareness all of which were essential to mastering martial arts and other skills.

Japanese businessman 大寒 - Land Of The Rising Son

In early Japan it was the custom for samurai warriors, geisha, Japanese high school girls, and others to perform their exercises outside during the winter months and dressed only in the lightest clothing.

japanese-girls-wearing-shorts-in-winter - Land Of The Rising Son

This formidable custom a custom is especially common during daikan, or “the great cold,” from January 20 to around February 20.

Following their exercises, students of martial arts would then drench themselves with icy water.

Shinto priests and religious devotees have traditionally stood under waterfalls in the dead of winter to purify their spirits and build their character.

Nothing quite builds character than standing underneath the glorious icy water of the winter waterfall to purify one’s heart, mind, and soul.

Japanese waterfall meditation - Land Of The Rising Son

There was really no attempt to heat Japan’s school rooms until the 1960s, and students, from kindergarten onward, were expected to endure the cold temperatures of the bitter winter seasons as part of their education and physical training.

There was famous international intrigue in the 1980s where an elementary school in central Japan received attention due to its requirement for its students, girls as well as boys, to attend classes wearing only shorts and light tops throughout the winter.

The children were shown on national television at study and play, looked happy and robust, faces bright and shining.

School doctors who were interviewed said the children gave no indication that they were suffering; nor were colds or other illnesses any more common among the children than among those who dressed warmly.

little kids sports festival - Land Of The Rising Son

Japan’s traditional attitude toward cold goes a long way toward explaining the characteristic dedication and diligence of the Japanese in all of the enterprises they undertake.

Many Japanese customs are a part of the old belief that the mind can prevail over matter if it is sufficiently trained, and this kind of training played a key role in the extraordinary skill developed by the Japanese in all of their arts and crafts, and indeed business skills.

Getting ready for the waterfall - Land Of The Rising Son

The concept fortifying oneself washed in the icy cold of the Japanese winter (daikan) is much alive in Japan, and it still influences the attitudes and behaviour of most Japanese even until this very day.

In the waterfall - Land Of The Rising Son

Lawnmower Girl

Lawnmower Girl

Lawnmower Girl

Lawnmower Girl

The constitution of the Japanese farm wife is to be looked upon with awe and respect.

Having lived one’s adult life in rural Japan, there has been plenty of opportunity to interact with these hard working citizens of Japan.

terraced rice field Japan - Land Of The Rising Son

In particular, one has a relationship with the farming family who own the land next to one’s country abode.

Unquestionably, this farming family has a significant amount of political power in our community.

The head of the household saw a vast opportunity to participate in the Japanese bubble, and when not farming he took his clan off to work in the big city making roads, thus, the coffers of this wise farmer became abundant.

abundant coffers - Land Of The Rising Son

One particular thing to respect about wealth Japanese farmers is their innate sense of modesty, as it’s in the DNA of the Japanese imprinted into this society over millennia.

Regardless of the vast amounts of money he accumulated during his time of building roads, there was never an ostentatious display of wealth by this family.

This man’s wife, Ms. Hanae never fails to impress.

Old Japanese farm woman 01 - Land Of The Rising Son

Always chipper when bumping into her she is witty, humorous, and the same ages as Maggie May—82 years old.

Ms. Hanae journey to the farm started when her family sent her to Mr. M’s farm the next town over as the new wife (oyome san).

This was an arranged marriage, and in those days of yore, nor the bride or groom had a say in who the marriage partner is whatsoever.

お見合い - Land Of The Rising Son

There are disturbing horror stories of the appalling treatment of some new farm wives by the entrenched sour matriarch of the farming clan, where she is known as the dreaded shutome—the ideograms (姑) meaning “old (古) woman(女).”

Mention shutome to one of your female Japanese friends and see the reaction— you may be surprise as to the kind of image this powerful word conjures up in the females population of Japan.

困った顔の女の子 - Land Of The Rising Son

Interestingly enough, while talking to the Hindu proprietor of a very delicious Indian curry shop, one came to understand arranged marriages are quite common throughout Asia as the traditions of the East remain firmly rooted in the cultures throughout Asia.

Indeed, he told me 95% of marriages in his Indian town were arranged—as was his, and he was in total agreement with this embedded tradition of arranged marriage for Indians.

arranged-marriages-advantages-and-disadvantages - Land Of The Rising Son

He further added that he thought this was for the best of both families, as the parents know what’s best for the continuation of the clan and the family legacy.

Ms. Hanae not only runs her farmhouse like a well oiled glove, at 82 she also swings her lawnmower with the skill of a master mower.

Even more surprisingly, Ms. Hanae never misses taking her dog for a walk every morning and evening.

One often bumps into her and her lovely Shiba-inu, where we stand around chatting, or as the Japanese say ‘ido bata kaigi’ (water well conference)

One can see these diligent farm wives throughout Japan, trimming the weeds and generally mowing down anything around the rice fields that gets in the way of a successful crop.

golden rice fields of Japan - Land Of The Rising Son

Ms. Hanae’s constitution and resilience is probably due to the fact she has never drank alcohol and has eaten the traditional Japanese diet of rice, vegetables, and fish for her entire life.

Always a pleasure to engage Ms. Hanae while giving her the honour and respect she deserves as an exemplary model of the diligent and hard working agrarians that grow the sustenance to feed the nation of Japan.

Cousin Dennis Celebration

Cousin Dennis Celebration

Cousin Dennis Celebration

Cousin Dennis Celebration

Life changed when older cousin Dennis roll through our small rural British Columbia town in 1977.

He was so very kind to take a 14-year-old boy to the record store—buying Led Zeppelin IV and the double album—Waiting for Columbus, by Little Feat.

Led Zeppelin IV cover - Land Of The Rising Son

Here the life long love of music was consolidated on side-one, song-one—”Black Dog” on Led Zeppelin IV.

Note: Maggie May sparked the love of music by taking her child to classical and jazz concerts from one’s earliest memories.

Dennis was a true music fan and would travel great distances around North America to see all the contemporary acts of the 70.

Led Zeppelin concert - Land Of The Rising Son

Truly a man of his time, he lived his life to the fullest—his own way.

He choose a life of tough seasonal work in the harsh-frigid environments of northern Canada, where he constructed pipelines, and for most of his adult life, as the foreman.

Never one to sit in an office all day, he only worked these lucrative seasonal jobs, spend his precious time living his life according to his own principles.

One summer Dennis rolled through our town with his airstream in tow.

Airstream-Classic-2020-Exterior-Travel-Trailer - Land Of The Rising Son“I am on my way to ‘babysit’ a mining camp while it is idled for the summer.” He said to me joyously while tuning up his dirt-bike.

For certain his Husqvarna dirt-bike allowed him to savor the meaning of true freedom in northern Canada and what it means to be truly alive.

Husqvarna Motorcycles Dirt Rider Dennis - Land Of The Rising Son

Dennis was a pescatarian, didn’t smoke, and only drank socially.

Perhaps, seeing his own father die early of a heart attack due to an unhealthy life style made him conscientious of his own health and mortality.

Unfortunately, there is nothing that can stop the hands of time, and there always comes the time, when one no longer has any time left at all.

Hourglass - Time Waits For No One - Land Of The Rising Son

Just a brief time ago Maggie May called to say beloved cousin Dennis had stage 4 esophageal cancer, which had spread to his lungs and marrow.

Time ran out for Dennis soon after that fateful call from Maggie May.

Beloved cousin Dennis died and became a God on November 24, 2022 at 03:12 at the young age of 68—his life come and gone, in the twinkle of an eye.

Dennis as a child - Land Of The Rising Son

The last time to every speak to Dennis was to invite him to come to a grand party in celebration of one’s father’s 85th, and Maggie May’s 80th.

The plan was to gather the greater clan and unite around the elders to venerate and honour them—as it should be.

Much to our dismay, traveling was not possible at the start of the age of Corona in early 2020, thus, the once-in-a-lifetime party never occurred.

Moreover, the opportunity to see beloved Dennis one more last time was not to be, alas with much sorrow.

Teardrop - Land Of The Rising Son

However, the very fond and pleasant memories of this special man will continue to warm one’s heart until the end of one own time.

Thank you Dennis for giving your brotherly love to a little boy, and for treating me like your friend.

お辞儀 - Land Of The Rising Son

Way-Station No. 9

Way-Station No. 9

Way-Station No. 9

Japan is the last stop before exiting the atmosphere of Mother Earth to reside as a God—one foot in this material world—the other in Nirvana.

( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)—Nirvana is a Buddhist term embodying the transcendent state.

In Nirvana, there is neither suffering, desire, nor sense of self—a place where Gods hang out.

Keep in mind—within indigenous Japanese mythology (Shinto)—all who pass from this particular world to Ωne become a God—venerated by descendants of the Clan.

ロレンス氏神の神棚 - Land Of The Rising SonThe tenet in this pragmatic Shinto wisdom indicates the newly departed as embodying their worldly personality traits in the land of the dead.

Also, keep in mind—the emperor of Japan is a descendent and current representative of the Sun Goddess Amaterasu.

This fundamentally puts the currently living Japanese emperor (Naruhito) in the same status as the idol of Christian worship, as well as the other plethora of Gods and their images worshiped by the faithful throughout the globe.

Shiva - Land Of The Rising Son

Moreover, the Japanese exhibit breathtaking flexibility with the notion of all becoming god upon death and the memory of the departed will truly be a reflection of the life lived—good and bad—the full spectrum in between—and the lives they touched are molecular imprints lasting for eternity.

10 Iconic Japanese Gods - Land Of The Rising Son

So, why does one consider Japan to be the last stop on earthly paradise before the final departure into the Infinite Source, also referred to as Oneness?

First and foremost, the Japanese people themselves and the society created over millennia.

Traditional Japanese Lady - Land Of The Rising Son

Many people have often asked over the decades—why remain in Japan?

The stable and peaceful society the Japanese have built after the severe growing pains of industrialization remains the exemplarily model for all societies to follow with a key element of Japanese society embodied within the word chitsujo.


There is no direct concept in the Anglophone world as the notion of chitsujo has developed over the millennia of Japanese community evolution.

Roughly translated as “order,” chitsujo is commonly used when referring to a harmonious society with social order.

Emphatically, social order is one of the sacred tenet immortalized in the original Japanese constitution written in the Asuka period (CE 604) by Shotoku Taishi.

Prince Shotoku with Attendants - 13th century - Land Of The Rising Son

Chitsujo is also an integral component of the core Japanese system of Form☀︎Order☀︎Process.

This has lead Japan to the peaceful and prosperous nation of today, which can be held up as a model society to be emulated and commended for overcoming insurmountable obstacles—including the unprecedented nuclear cataclysm event perpetrated by the Anglo-American empire upon countless innocent Japanese civilians just a few short decades ago.

Hiroshima Devastated by Atomic Bomb - Land Of The Rising Son

Viewing the outside world from the comfort of rural Japan, it seems that more now than ever, so many other countries could use a health dose of chitsujo to alleviate the suffering of the general population.

Everyday is the right day to do one’s individual part creating chitsujo in one’s own neighbourhood and larger community— living in this world the way it has been constructed—while creating a world for those who are destine to inherit the earth.

Our Shared Planet Earth - Land Of The Rising Son





The Japanese have existed on a series of small volcanic islands over millennium, formulated in the way of Kata:


Over the centuries, ordinary Japanese were rarely exposed to other ways of life or thinking.

Nor have the majority of modern Japanese experienced any other way of life except life within the cloistered world of Japan.

This naturally leaves the Japanese acutely sensitive to deviations from the Japanese way of doing things, especially in the light of the severity of Japanese history, and the mandated Form☀︎Order☀︎Process.

Samurai Executing Prisoner - Land Of The Rising Son

The constricted evolution of the Japanese has contributed significantly to their developing especially strong feelings of being unique in the world—a feelings of uniqueness which still persist today—influencing the behavior of the Japanese toward the others—sometime in a negative way.

In light of this evolution the Japanese will often refers to themselves as:

shimaguni konjo
island country mentality

Satellite Map of Japan - Land Of The Rising Son

It very difficult, if not impossible for ordinary Japanese to relate to non-Japanese—as for the most part, the Japanese do not speak a second language—nor do the majority of foreigners speak Japanese to any meaningful degree.

Moreover, the Japanese are innately averse to contact with those from outside their circle and this goes to include other Japanese as well.

Proof in pudding.

Proof - Land Of The Rising Son

Chit chatting to my local friendly farmer, one pointed to the sole neighbourhood restaurant mentioning the owner move here from Tokyo.

To which he replied:

“That idiot is not Japanese, he is a North Korean,” which is considered a grave insult when used on a Japanese citizen.

North Korea military parade - Land Of The Rising Son

Indeed, the local friendly farmer was not so welcoming or amicable to this Japanese outsider—nor did any other neighbours in this rural town consider the new face on the block from Tokyo as anything but an outsider and unwelcome.

One could actually say in general the Japanese are unique in their uniform suspicion of all outsiders.

村八分 - Land Of The Rising Son

Who would have ever thought that some as simple as fish could be turned into such an extraordinary work of art—not only gustatorily, but ocularly as well.

Sashimi is uniquely Japanese, embraced globally, not only for the extraordinary menagerie of flavours within the fruits of the sea, but in healthy eating protocol as well.

One can only wonder in amazement at the mind it takes to look at ordinary fish in its natural state, then visualizing it into something remarkably marvelous—such as one of the three power pillars of flavourful happiness—sashimi moriawase—oshinko moriawase—rei shu (chilled rice wine).

刺身船 - Land Of The Rising Son

If one would like to truly understand Japanese society on a deeper level while exploring deep inside the nooks and crannies of the Japanese spirit—it’s time to hit the books.

Kanji in context - Reference Book - Land Of The Rising Son

Upping one’s own language ability, no matter from where one may have started in the Japanese language journey is the key to a success living among the Japanese.

After a period of time and reaching a certain communication level, life in Japanese society is routine, if not somewhat mundane.

Nevertheless, one’s pink shinny face serves as a daily reminder—regardless of the depth of one’s Japanese language skills, there is always much farther to go.

All the while, in the attitude of gratitude, reminding oneself how fortunate to be living here in the Land Of The Rising Son, among the Japanese, as one is reminded along each step of one’s own Way.

Japan—speak Japanese—do as Japanese—be Japanese

Japanese fans cleaning up the stadium after soccer match - Land Of The Rising Son

Fork In Road

Fork In Road

Fork In Road

Going Nowhere Fast - Land Of The Rising Son

Having tasted the bitter flavour of ennui and wandering for years in the proverbial desert, a consequential breakthrough was uncovered.

Do not ignoring important forks in the road, whatever they may be.

Over time, the stark realization ΩNE’s Japanese language skills would remain in the jozu desu ne category, forever, carrying with it a feeling of hopelessness and despondency.

Despondency - Land Of The Rising Son

Cultural point 1: The phrase jozu desu ne is used by the Japanese, particularly on those from Occxie-land, when there is even a minor level of cohesive communication in Japanese.

Cultural point 2: This innocuous comment is intended to be kind, but to those who seek deeper levels of communication with the Japanese, it is also serves a stinging backhanded compliment, and a bleak reminder:

Regardless of how far ΩNE has come—ΩNE must still go farther along the way day by day—until the final play—passing into the God molecules, and continuing along ΩNE’s own Way.

Fork In Road

Fork-in-the-Road-Learn-To-Read-Japanese - Land Of The Rising Son

The Ministry of Education mandates the Japanese language curriculum consisting of 2,136 ideograms, and two other syllabaries—hiragana and katakana.

Over time, ΩNE came to the bleak realization—without Japanese reading ability—illiteracy.

It is said when the student is ready, the teacher will appear.

Kanji In Context Workbook Volume - Land Of The Rising SonRegardless of the intense degree of difficulty for this old autodidact, the kanji challenge was the most significant forks in road.

Entering into the realm of the Japanese literate, has lead to extraordinary opportunities, not available to those who cannot read, or write Japanese.

Fork In Road

A Fork in the Road Two Children - Land Of The Rising Son

Relationships at all stages, must be carefully examined throughout life.

People progress in different paces and ways, and more often than not, the value to each other changes over the course of time.

It is best to recognize when old relationship no longer serve association, and it is always prudent to move on, when that important fork in road has been realized with clarity.

Clarity Over Time - cybersensei - Land Of The Rising Son

As ΩNE matures, the realization of the fleeting nature of life, and how quickly the journey ends, has allowed ΩNE to put to rest any relationship no longer serving the edification of Each Other.

Fork In Road

There's a Fork in the Road and You Should Take It- Land Of The Rising Son

Truly, as ΩNE heads into the 6th decade of life next year, the most significant fork in road has now appears and the necessity of the next step, no matter how large, can no longer be ignored.

Watching the country of ΩNE’s birth collapse into incivility, the once beautiful society ΩNE was privilege to have been raised in is now a faded memory.

Indeed, as ΩNE said to beloved mother the other day.

Margaret Circa 1958 - Land Of The Rising Son

If living until 95 years of age, ΩNE has the opportunity to live one more full adult lifetime in Japan.

Thus, the fork in road for the author of this article is to leave the citizenship of birth behind—becoming a citizen of Japan—the country of my family, clan, and community.

Such decisions are not easy, but more often than not Fork In Road has a brilliant spotlight shinning on its entrance.

Here, after understanding the reading system of Japan, ΩNE can now clearly see the nooks, crannies, and layers of Japan, along with the rich magic held within the Japanese heart, spirit and mind.

Japanese Language Proficiency Test - Land Of The Rising Son