A Zen Retreat, and my “Cycle Training Camp”

•April 24, 2017 • 2 Comments

We’re in Japan for 5 weeks; three of them are at a Zen Retreat on Kyushu.

untitled shoot_20-Sep-15_042-Edit-EditOur typical daily schedule includes waking up at 5:00 for 30 minutes of chanting, followed by an hour of meditation, then tea time, and an hour of Yoga. Then, a few hours of “Samu”, or service to the temple, taking us up to lunchtime.

The afternoons are mostly free, with Alison doing a daily art project, calligraphy with the monk, and hikes to the beach or the village. 

I’m bringing my bike, and plan to do a daily bike ride up into the tiny, twisty, quiet roads into the hills.  My Spring Training.

There’s internet, but we will be on a self-imposed 3 week total news blackout.  No politics. No news.  Just doing the Zen thing and me cycling as much as possible. 


An Indigo Master, & a Pottery Village

•October 19, 2016 • Leave a Comment

The Little Indigo Museum in the small village of Miyama, north of Kyoto.  We took a subway, two trains, and a bus…but it was well worth it.


11.jpgHiroyuki Shindo has been using Indigo since he was a young man.















The pottery village of Shigaraki



1.jpgThere were art installations around the village, this one inside a kiln




Images of Japan at night (mostly)

•October 15, 2016 • 2 Comments

Some photos of Nagano, Obuse, Matsushiro, and Takayama…


In front of Zenkoji temple in Nagano

 These are of a procession in Nagano, going between a small temple and the enormous Zenkoji, which takes place at night for a few weeks each year




 Fire buckets are everywhere in Japan, usually red, but these must be faded 

 Obuse is known for its chestnuts.  The town has footpaths paved with blocks of chestnut tree wood  

 Shot through a window covered with a spotted UV pattern

 A steep path leading to a beautiful shrine outside Obuse

 Castle ruins in Matsushiro, a 10 mile bike ride from Nagano

Young Monks repairing a torn shoji screen 

Alison and I were cycling around Takayama…photo not taken by me



Images of Japan – Post Cycling Travels

•October 10, 2016 • 5 Comments

A Soba making demo…






The precision of the cutting was something 


The D.T. Suzuki Museum in Kanazawa…









At the Contemporary Art Museum, Kanazawa…








At a wasabi farm…








Just some random shots… 


Soaking feet in tubs with apples…don’t ask…






To Nagano

•October 6, 2016 • 3 Comments


My bike on a local train.  A few stops after I took this photo, the train started filling up, so I moved my bike to the front where there were no seats.  There was more than 4′ of unoccupied bench next to me, and only a few tiny spaces here and there in my car.  This was a local line…not a tourist route.  At further stops, more people boarded than departed, but no one took the space near me, they just squeezed into the other spaces.  I didn’t take it personally.  


I’m not sure this is even physically possible

05.jpgI cycled through that half tunnel 


A festival in a town I cycled through 


These wrapped ears of corn are displayed all around.  Must be a autumn thing. 

Rainy days

•September 30, 2016 • 3 Comments

It’s been raining off and on the last few days.  Fortunately, I’ve been mostly on very small mountain roads so the rain hasn’t been a huge issue.  Plus it’s been pretty light and reasonably warm. 


 Setting out in the rain 

 Taking a break to get dry for a while 

サラダ says “Sarada” or salad, but Salad Road?

 The only other place in the world I’ve seen wood so neatly stacked was Switzerland 

 Primping for the camera in front of Kumamoto castle 

 The menu at the restaurant last night.  I can read Hiragana and Katakana pretty well but I can read absolutely zero Kanji, so this was mostly useless for me 

A bike shop.  It was open for business if you could make it through the mess



Kanazawa to Shirakawa

•September 25, 2016 • 1 Comment

48 miles and 4200’…with lots of ups and downs and some pannier-load challenging grades. They call this the “Japan Alps” region, which has some passes up to 8000′, that I’ll do in a few days, but the elevations are nothing compared to the US Mountain Region. Nonetheless, the climbs are still a workout. 


Small mountain village


This region is known for its many traditional thatched roof homes


First time I saw a shrine dedicated to a big root.  Nice root, though.  

In my route planning, I’ll always choose the “route less traveled” when possible.  This section was definitely less traveled.  


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