A story waiting to be told

Japan’s elemental story is waiting to be told. It’s such a remarkable story that I’ve decided to write a book and a blog about it. I’d love you to join me on my exploration of the elements in the Land of the Rising Sun. It’s a journey of amazement and beauty, spanning traditional and modern Japan, where the elements are both friend and foe. The recent earthquake in Kyushu is a telling example of damage that can be caused by the forces of nature. The expression of the elements, both benign and destructive, helps makes Japan the nation it is.

Jann & 5 seeds

Here I am on the night before I fly to Japan, celebrating with some Tasmanian apple cider. The  number 5 is very important in the elemental story of Japan. Gogyo describes the five elements/phases associated with Yinyang in Japan (earth, fire, water, metal and wood) and Godai describes the five elements associated with Buddhism (earth, air, fire, water and ether). Esoteric Buddhism adds another element – consciousness.

Today is May 1st and this is my first post about Elemental Japan. It was written in Kameoka, near Kyoto. On April 27th and 28th 2016 I flew from Hobart, Tasmania to Sydney, then to Tokyo, and then onto Osaka. From there my friend Kimura-san drove me to Kameoka. Quite a journey. This is my first visit to Japan where the prime focus is on the elements. It’s very exciting. The blog will share my impressions, observations and images along the way. It will be informal, informative and perhaps even inspirational!

Sydney to Tokyo April 28 2016

The flight path information on JAL is very good. Getting closer to Tokyo you can see the position of Japan on the edge of the Pacific plate, which forms part of The Ring of Fire. This is an area where a large number of earthquakes and volcanoes occur. These elemental forces are part of the nature of Japan, along with tsunamis and typhoons.

In conjunction with this blog I’ll be undertaking systematic research for the book version/s of ‘Elemental Japan‘ that will weave all of the threads together. It’s a vast and fascinating topic so I’m looking forward to your input, experiences and expertise.

Suki & Tanabata

This is Suki. She is my travelling companion in Japan. Behind her is some fabric I bought there that illustrates Tanabata, the Star Festival celebrated on July 7th. There are many festivals in Japan related to the elements.These will be explored in future posts.

I have already composed some blog posts on the elements in Japan. They are embedded in Fire up Water down, a blog where I have been exploring the elements at a global scale for over two years. Some of the posts focus solely on Japan or have Japan as a main focus. The following links give a flavour of what’s in store in this blog:

Northern transitions, Hokkaido inspirations – this post contains a poem that I wrote about the elements when travelling in Hokkaido with my husband in 2014.

Unlocking the hidden messages in water – a post written to mark the passing of Masaru Emoto, a Japanese who studied the impact of different types of energy on water.

Solving the mystery of the six pointed star, in a way – this post is about the Asanoha, a traditional pattern in Japan which is based on a stylised hemp leaf.

Fire and water, Shinto style – in May 2014 I visited (twice) the shrines and temples on and near Mt Kurama, which is located north of Kyoto. This post relates my experiences.

The way of the drum – this post was written in May 2015, three months after I started learning taiko drumming in Hobart, Tasmania. It relates the strong links between the elements and drumming, in Japan and worldwide.

And finally, here is a post that touches on consciousness as an element in Esoteric Buddhism.

Let the story of Elemental Japan unfold.

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