Thursday, September 11, 2008

Nature heals cancer 56

Erica's mother determined that she did not want to take Chemotherapy. Due to Erica's connections her mother's treatment began being supervised in early July by a natural medicine doctor who had practiced it for over forty years.
He checked the condition of her blood and her vital organs. They gave advice about the food she should eat and how to eat it. The food consisted of brown rice, natural salt, miso, soy sauce,vegetables and fermented food. She was instructed not to eat meat, oils, fish, sugar, eggs, or animal protein. The food she was instructed to eat was organic with no chemical additives . She was told to chew each bite of food at least two hundred times before swallowing. They also instructed her to continue with the various compress treatments.
After she saw the doctor she became enthused and hopeful about her condition. In two weeks she became increasingly independent taking more care of herself without Erica's assistance in administering the various compress treatments.
She takes sauna three times per week. She walks regularly and her condition is improving. In her last check up with the doctor, she was told that her condition is improving steadily. You can see this improvement in her energy level, the almost complete removal of pain related to rheumatism (she no longer takes medication for rheumatism) and in the complete disappearance of her cough. The doctor reports that her vital organs are strengthening. She will continue on with these treatments. We are please for the natural way she is being healed. We applaud her for her courageous choice not to have chemotherapy. She reports that this is the happiest time of her life. She is thankful for the cancer because it has changed her lifestyle and her world view. According to the western doctor's predictions she should now be preparing to die. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Nature heals cancer 55

In April of 2008 Erica's mother, Akie Shinya was diagnosed with stage four lymphoma. She was told by doctors trained in western medicine, that if she did not take chemotherapy treatment she would only live for six months. If she took the chemotherapy therapy she had a fifty percent chance of living for another five years. The lymphoma had spread to her lungs and esophagus resulting in a nagging cough. She had also taken rheumatism medication for five years to reduce its pain.
On the 23rd of May Erica traveled from the states to Hiroshima where her mother lives and began to do natural therapy with her mother. It included natural or healthy eating and several specific natural treatments to strengthen her mother's vital organs. This included yam and ginger compresses, Japanese medlar or loquat and heat compress. At the same time she began to gradually reduce her rheumatism medication so as to be free of chemicals in her body.
Three weeks later her coughing began to change and increasingly became less frequent. Still she had severe pain in her body brought on by the reduction of rheumatism medication. Here you see Erica(right) her sister(left) with her mother in the center in early June of 2008 .

Monday, September 8, 2008

Aikido 54

What was amazing was the gentle approach of the the restraint. With just a flick of the wrist a young child could throw an adult! Below, Miwako is thrown to the floor in effortless fashion.
In so many ways the Japanese are concerned with the method or the "right way" to do things. I was impressed with their ability to find "the right way" to subdue. As Morihei Ueshiba, a master of Aikido stated, "to control aggression without causing any injury is the art of peace." This is the art of Aikido

Aikido 53

I had the honor of meeting my friends Hero and Miwako with their daughter Naomi. They took me to their Aikido class. There I was able to watch and learn about this Japanese martial art form.
Aikido is a martial art that does not damage or kill. It is not violent. It simply restrains and focuses on peace and harmony. Here the teacher is about to demonstrate a technique.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Masanobu Kimura 52

One of the great joys of my time here in Sapporo was meeting Japanese composer, Masanobu Kimura. He lives here in Sapporo and is a university professor who teaches composing. He is a very active composer and I now have several of his CDs. He has already collaborated with Erica and has turned one of her poems into a beautiful song.
He has also arranged three concerts for me and has assisted me in connecting to concert venues in other parts of Japan. His calm gentle manner is refreshing. His wisdom and musical expertise is impressive and his kindness to people, animals and the earth is instructive.

After concert fun 51

After the concert we were served various fruits and beverages and had informal conversations with each other. Music brought us together and deepened our connections with each other. Here you see the ones who stayed to the very end of the evening. I am looking forward to my next concert at Mahoroba scheduled for Saturday September 13, 2008

Friday, September 5, 2008

Concert at Mahoroba 50

We sang to a sold out crowd. As a result I have been invited to return to sing another concert on September 13.
It was a very moving event. I have never sung a concert where there were so many tears. The music connected across culture and language and touched our hearts. It once again confirmed my inner sense about the power of music.
We need more places like Mahoroba where people come together to learn how to live more meaningfully, spiritually and responsibly.

Making contact 49

Erica( on the right) assisted greatly by translating for me. I spoke and sang at this event. Here in these pictures I am singing a call and response song that involves the audience.
They were engaged and enthusiastic singers.

Akiko Watanabe 48

I had the honor of meeting pianist Akiko Watanabe when I heard her play in downtown Sapporo. I was so impressed that I asked her to accompany me on the concert at Mahoroba. She plays the piano with great care and sensitivity. I was fortunate to have found her.

Mahoroba 47

On August 23rd. I had the pleasure of singing a concert at Mahoroba in Sapporo. Mahoroba means a land filled with peace and bliss. Mahoroba is a comprehensive organic store that serves as a community center. They offer classes, workshops lectures and concerts to the public. I was honored to be invited there by Shuhei Miyashita who is the chief executive officer. Here you see Shuhei at his desk along with a picture of Mahoroba.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Remembering the Ancestors 46

It was a very educational evening for me and I am thankful to Erica for helping me understand the deeper meaning of the things I encountered.
While there I paused to remember my ancestors as well. The events of the evening were a reminder that our lives come from them through the miracle of birth. For that we are truly thankful.

Remembering the Ancestors 45

While watching the dancing I was approached by people who gave me food, soft drinks and their warm smiles. Here I am with a group of boys who wanted to try out their English. They make the peace sign and encourage me to do the same. It was a wonderful way to be led by the children.

Remembering the Ancestors 44

Erica makes two new friends.

Remembering the Ancestors 43

Children are also invited to participate.

Remembering the Ancestors 42

Here Erica joins in the dancing!

Remembering the Ancestors 41

The bon-odori dance is an important part of these festivities where the spirits dance with the living. A circle is formed and the dancers walk and dance in line with the others.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Remember the Ancestors 40

Every year Japan celebrates the Festival of Obon. It is a tradition whose roots lie in Buddhist thought which emphasizes the importance of honoring the ancestors. It has grown into a family reunion where people return to their ancestral roots to be with their families and to honor the dead. This often involves cleaning the grave sites of their loved ones . It is a time when the spirits of the ancestors are called back home. It is a time for prayer of the souls of the ancestors. This holiday usually starts on the 13th and ends on the 16th of August. On the 16th the spirits are returned to their graves.

39 Deepak and Fujiko

Two of my dear college friends live in Sopporo. We were students together at Goshen College. I remember well when Deepak and Fujiko began dating. Deepak is from India and Fujiko is from here in Sopporo. They are married and are university English professors.
Here we are after attending the Sunday morning service at one of the Mennonite Fellowships in the city.
I am fortunate to have them here in Sopporo! It is a special gift to connect deeply with good friends from from the past.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Kimiko Moriyama, sings for her deceased students 38

Nagasaki observed the 63rd anniversary of its atomic bomb on Saturday August 9th. 90 year old Kimiko Moriyama is an atomic bomb survivor and former music teacher.
When she saw and heard the B-29 bomber in the sky she ran for shelter to a soy sauce shop. She was however struck and impacted by the explosion.
She later learned that 1,400 teachers and students in her school died as a result of the bomb. 15 days after she was exposed to the radiation her hair began to fall out. She had a high fever and lost consciousness. Her doctor counseled her mother to make arrangements for her funeral. However, she did revive after New :Years Day in 1946
In 1948 she was able to return to her teaching. In 1992 she had a stroke which left her almost unable to speak. She then entered a Catholic nursing home and was baptized into the Catholic Church.
Even though she could barely talk she practiced singing every day for 15 minutes singing hymns. In time she was able to sing and speak. Nevertheless, the left side of her body remains paralyzed.
She signed up to sing in a peace choir for the 63rd anniversary ceremonies along with other survivors. She says she wanted to "tell my deceased students that I'm living not only my life but theirs too." She sang in the choir for herself and her students. She reports, "our songs surely reached heaven."
It is hard to comprehend why a second atomic bomb was dropped three days after devastating Hiroshima.
We are thankful for the life of Kimiko Moriyama and her continuing commitment to her students and to peace.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Lunch 37

Sopporo has many organic restaurants. Eating Organic food is natural and healthy. It too is a great way to make a statement about our earth. Polluting the earth with harmful chemicals which then saturate our food and our bodies is a form of violence. In America we say "you are what you eat."
I am discovering that there is an organic food movement here in Sopporo and I am beginning to meet many of its members. Many of them are committed to"being peace" on a variety of levels. What we eat is connected to our care for ourselves and our earth.
Here you see my organic meal of salad, squash, brown rice and fish . The Japanese are a people who care deeply about quality. The meal was both healthy and delicious!!

Japanese traditronal dancers 36

While walking a bit further I found these ladies in their traditional clothing who were about to dance. Unfortunately I was not able to stay to see them dance but they did invite me to have my picture taken with them. You never know just what you might find in Sopporo on a warm summer day.

The beat of the traditional drum 35

While walking downtown I was surprised when I heard drumming in the distance. I walked over to have a look and found several drummers playing. The taiko drum is a percussion stick instrument often used at traditional Japanese festivals. The drum for me represents the beat of the heart of the earth and the movement of time. It is a vital primal instrument representing life itself. I find drums every where I go. I was delighted to hear them in Japan!

Downtown Sopporo shopping area 34

The colorful banners in this shopping area are related to the traditional festivals in the city during the summer.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Hiroshima Remembers 33

11 year old Honoka Imai and 12 year old Soto Hondo, both six graders, read a peace pledge before those gathered.
"We will start with learning, knowing and thinking about what happened in Hiroshima. Then we will tell other people about it. "
It was a moving moment for me. This is not just a pledge for the children of Hiroshima. It is a pledge for us all.

Hiroshima remembers 32

I watched the ceremony marking the 63rd anniversary of Hiroshima's atomic bombing. About 45,000 people were present along with representatives from 55 countries. China for the first time sent a representative. That is indeed good news.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Singing at the summit 31

I was honored to sing at the summit. They responded well to my music. When I told them that my great grand father was a Cherokee Indian they applauded. There were Cherokee peoples there from the States and we connected afterward. I had a wonderful time at this event. I know something about discrimination as a result of the African experience in America. These people too have their own stories of injustice. I emphasized the need for connection and the sharing of our stories with each other. I will long remember this evening and the new friends I made. Experiences like this are life giving.

The Ainu traditional home 30

Here you see a traditional house of the Ainu.

I'm dressed in traditional Ainu clothing 29

After posing for the first photo with the Ainu elder, he took off his coat and hat and motioned to me to wear it. It was a symbol of the solidarity we felt and of the inclusive nature of these people.

The Indigenous Peoples Summit 28

The Ainu people are the indigenous people of Hokkaido. They were driven off of their land by the Japanese in the 19th century. Today they number about 150,000. Here I pose with a traditionally dressed Ainu elder.

Indigenous Peoples Summitt 27

They came from such places as New Zealand, Australia, The United States, Canada, Japan, Central and South America and Norway.

2008 Indigenous Peoples Summit 26

On July the 3rd I had the honor of singing at the International Indigenous Peoples Summit held just outside of Sopporo. There I met many indigenous peoples from all over the world. It was exciting to meet them and to hear them talk about their common concerns. Here representatives from the various countries share the stage and comment on their solidarity as indigenous people.

Parking Lot for Bikes 25

I am not the only one riding a bike. Here you see a parking lot for bikes. Riding a bike is a way of life here.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

A great place to bike! 24

Sopporo is very eco friendly with many bike paths. I bike each weekday to Hokusei University where I am a visiting researcher. It takes me 25 minutes each way. Biking has become my main means of transportation. I will show you the bike paths on a later blog. It is a great way to stay in good physical shape and to have a slower, closer look at the various forms of life along the way. I have become increasingly aware of our great mother earth as I ride my bike. She needs our care and attention more now than ever before.

Sapporo at Night 23

sapporo 22

On June 20, I arrived in Sopporo. It is the largest city in the North most part of Japan and is the 5th largest with a population of 1.6 million. It is the major city on the northern island of Hokkaido. The island was annexed by the Japanese in 1855 and official government offices were completed in 1871. In Japanese terms it is a new city. It is the most western in architecture of the major Japanese cities. This is the city where I will stay until early December when I will return to the States.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Buddhist temple 21

A wonderful setting for a temple in old Kyoto. Many of these temples are used for funerals and are often visited on religious holidays. Many are still used as monasteries.
Most Japanese municipalities have at least one temple. Kyoto however has thousands of them due to the fact that it was the old capital and Emperors encouraged the spread of Buddhism and Shintoism.

Sunday, August 3, 2008