01/06/2005: "I'm back!"
I just came back from my trip to Japan on Monday, and have been feeling like a zombie- suffering from the most severe case of jet lag. I hardly slept last night, which means I've been up for about 40 hours now. Japan was over-crowded and ridiculously hi-tech as I expected; many public restrooms were now equipped with ass-washing device in toilet seat. Waiters came to take orders with mobile handheld device that sends the order to the kitchen wirelessly, which still didn't prevent them from making mistakes in the order. They now had this little card that you can put credits toward train travel; you swipe the card at the turnstile, and they just deduct the amount you owe at any train station, eliminating your need to purchase tickets. Everyone got a cellphone with high quality digital camera. At hot spring, they gave me a little key with a chip that would register your check-in time and locker room number. What I enjoyed the most, besides spending some time with my friends like Akiko Katsuoka (well, she asked me to mention her in my blog), was visiting old temples, my favorite Senso-ji in old downtown Tokyo area Asakusa, and zen temples in old city of Kamakura. On new years eve I had a wonderful experience of meditating with a priest at Kencho-ji, the home of Kenchin Jiru which is one of my most popular dish. It was snowing all afternoon, and it was pretty cold by 5 o'clock, when they had a zen session open to public. There were three other crazy people willing to sit in the cold room with open windows without socks. (You're not allowed to wear socks, nor outer jacket, of course. The priest told us to imagine warm streams of water pouring from the top of our head, covering our entire body. It did work for the most part, and I survived one hour session in the beautiful tranquil evening. In the new year I attended another zen meditation at Hokoku ji temptle, also known as bamboo temple for their garden, which was another cold morning. I was surrounded by veteran practitioners and also had quite an experience to witness their new year ritual of opening the ancient scroll and chanting. But glad to be home in New York. Many neighbors and customers welcomed me back. Yes they were starving.