I am extremely impressed by Japan so far and I feel like I cannot even begin to describe how much I’ve been enjoying my time here. I really like how Japan has such a long and well preserved history, and I know that were periods where they attempted to move away from their past, but I am grateful that they did not do so completely. I am in awe each time we visit an old site, not only because of how well preserved they are, but also because I think it is amazing to just try and wrap my head around the fact that hundreds of years ago people interacted with these places and things just as I am doing today.
It’s very hard to decide, but I think my favorite thing so far has been visiting the Yagotoyama Temple, along with all of the rest of the temples and shrines. I first visited that temple at night when it was raining with Julie and Peter, and this combined with the fact that nobody else was there created an extremely serene and amazing environment. I’m not a particularly religious person, but visiting the shrines and temples and feeling the positive energy and environment that have surrounded all of them has lead me to begin to understand how some people could be. So far one thing that has peaked my interest is religion in Japan, specifically trying to understand Buddhism versus Shinto and if and how the influence of Western religions have spread to and throughout Japan. In addition to that, I’m also interested in if religion in Japan is going through the same phenomenon that it is in America in that in the younger generations, belief is dying out. I talked to some of the Japanese students at Nanzen university who said that they were not Christian even though they attended a Catholic school. However, I didn’t think to ask them about their other religious views.
A nice surprise has been how easy it is to get around. I’m not very experienced with public transportation back home and I was worried about how it was going to be taking the subway as our primary means of transportation here. However, it’s been relatively simple and easy to navigate, and after a few times travelling with other people, I am fairly confident in my abilities to travel by myself. I am looking forward to the next three weeks and all that come with them!