Hi Mike!
*s* So I guess you work as a tour guide?  I love your soft-sell approach.  We 
have not finalized the itinerary  as of yet, but will likely have a stop in 
Kyoto. Kyoto  is coincidentally the name of a truly outstanding Japanese 
restaurant where I live. Given your description, perhaps I should skip the 
bath-houses  there? 
Sadly, the vending machines and the shift in  traditional diet there can be 
blamed on  the USA and western influences.  The native Japanese diet is among 
the healthiest on the planet.  Emphasis on fish, sea vegetables and so on, 
enabled the people there to live long and productive lives.  Trust McDonald's 
to end a thousand-year tradition..
I remember watching a video of a Japanese zen monastary.  The winter months 
there appeared brutal indeed. Their only reprieve was a bedtime drink of rice 
wine to warm their weary bones.
As you have children-- how are they adapting to life, school, language and 
culture there?

--- On Mon, 10/11/10, mike brown <uerusub...@yahoo.co.uk> wrote:

From: mike brown <uerusub...@yahoo.co.uk>
Subject: Re: [Zen] Re: Don't pray in my school and I won't think in your church.
To: Zen_Forum@yahoogroups.com
Date: Monday, October 11, 2010, 7:38 PM


Japan in January will be bitterly cold, but then again each season has its own 
atmosphere and charm. Which city will you be visiting? I live in Kyoto and work 
in Nara. Although I'm getting more used to living here every passing year (this 
is my sixth), it still feels like 'Lost in Translation'. If you want your house 
to really feel like the genuine Japan, just include a vending machine on each 
wall and a drunken salaryman being sick in the garden. 


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