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January 30, 2012

The months of January and February are very cold here in Takachiho. The cold wouldn't be too bad, if only the houses were made to withstand this cold! The outside temperature gets down to about minus 8 or 9 on a regular basis, and the living room is 2 degrees when I wake up in the morning. So, I do not recommend visiting us at this time of year at all, unless you are an outdoor survivalist-type.

Apart from a steady stream of funerals and subsequent memorial services for those who have died in previous years, the temple is very quiet.  The garden is frozen, the water pipes are frozen, the sky is a beautiful blue, and the air is fresh and dry. The heaters in the temple main hall struggle to get the temperature above zero, even after an hour of pumping out heat.

Around about the end of March, the grape hyacinths will start to show, the pansies will start to look a little more chipper and the daffodils will trumpet in the arrival of Spring.  Our first helper of 2012 is booked in for the beginning of April.  Our first job will be preparing for the Hana Matsuri, the celebration of Buddha's birthday. The official date is April 8th, but we will probably be doing it on April 7th, the Saturday. This is a children's event mainly. About 20 or 30 local elementary school children come to the temple for a short service, games, a treasure hunt and a lunch of curry and rice. Our temple women's group will help with the preparations for this, and our women's group meeting will be held in the afternoon.

I gave two speeches at a temple, down in Kagoshima City over the weekend.  Kagoshima is about a 3 hours and 40 minute drive away from here. The speeches were both an hour long. I am booked to give a speech up in the Kanto district on February 18th, then I have a speech in Kumamoto on March 22nd. The one in Kanto will be in English! This will be a first for me. All my speeches have been in Japanese, and the jokes and the nuances and the word plays will not work in quite the same way in English, so will have to put my thinking cap on.

I do enjoy giving speeches, in both Japanese and English, so if you know of any organisation looking for a speaker, please let them know about me.

Leslie Brown
- February 19 2012 at 17:10

Your entry brought visions to my mind of frozen white fingers typing on the keyboard keys, icicles dropping in front of you from your breath, and more, all without an ounce of complaint! You are right. Waking up to 2 degree rooms does not sound appealing to me. You are a family of service! Thank you for a realistic image of the work you do and the life you live. I look forward to some more blogs. USA
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Genbuzan Shonen-ji Temple, Kamino 2771, Takachiho-cho, Nishiusuki-gun, Miyazaki-ken, Japan 882-1411