I didn’t realize until I wrote the date in this blog that today is the anniversary. Just a year ago I arrived in Minamisoma with several other colleagues just after the largest earthquake since 3.11 had struck 100 miles off the coast. We waited, uncertain, not knowing if the nuclear power plant 25 miles away would have another catastrophe. Here’s my blog about that day: https://newstories.org/innocence/
I’m back in Japan for some final work and doing some planning and organizing for 2014. Shortly I’ll be sending out an appeal for support. We’re at the beginning of the long haul now, as people work together to build a future they want. I hope you will consider supporting us. It’s easy. Just give through PayPal: http://bit.ly/DonateNS-RJ
But that’s not my main reason for writing. This e-mail is an advance invitation. After more conversations with people here, New Stories has decided that we will offer our first Learning Journey to Japan. This will be in early November, 2014. The journey will be a little less than 2 weeks, we will spend time both in the Tohoku Disaster Area as well as the traditional/spiritual area of Kyoto and Nara.
We’ll spend time in the costal areas of Iwate and Miyagi prefectures where the tsunami damage was the greatest. We’ll visit with people who are building a new future after the old one was washed away. It’s hard. Everything takes more time that imaginable.
We’ll spend time with the incredible people of Fukushima who are still finding a place to start. One place I know I want to take the journey is Namie, the town of 20,000 which was completely evacuated because it was just 3 kilometers from the reactors.
The arrow in picture at the left points to the Fukushima reactors, just up the coast.
Our intent in Tohoku is to explore how communities are called back to life, the title of a book I am publishing in Japan and the US in 2014. It’s an extraordinary story of how disaster opens a space in which the new can be born.
We will also spend tim
e in the Kansai area, home to Kyoto and Nara. Japan’s traditional and spiritual roots are most accessible here.
We will visit temples and gardens, participate in Tea Ceremony, learn some traditional arts, and soak up the depth of Japan. Part of what is happening in Japan right now is that people are learning how to stand up while standing together. This capacity, given birth in the disasters of 3.11, is rooted in Japanese traditional culture.
Ryoanji, pictured to the left, is one of my favorite rock gardens in Japan. A place of serenity.
Kyoto has been my own spiritual home since my first visit in 1970. And November is the season of Momiji — Japanese Maples — which are almost overwhelming in their beautiful oranges and yellows and reds.
Be prepared for big crowds — a cultural experience in and of itself! Nara, just a little ways to the south, is the ancient capital of Japan — temples built 1500 years ago are scattered across the hills.
We’ll work in visits to onsens (Japanese hot springs), perhaps a visit to sacred Mt. Fuji. All along the way we will be exploring questions of what does it take to call communities back to life. We’ll be looking for the ways in which what’s being learned in Japan now translates back into your communities and organizations. To tempt you further, I’ve created links to some of my photo albums on FaceBook, below.
Symphony of Peace Prayers – Mt. Fuji
Renshoan in Fukushima
Tenryuji in Kyoto
Innovators Learning together in Miyagi
Please let me know if you’re interested in being on a mailing list for the journey. Among other things, we’ll be asking people who show early interest if help with planning.
Just drop me a note: firstname.lastname@example.org