Yakudoshi Got the Last Laugh On Me

Call it karma, superstition, what have you, but the last week of yakudoshi got the last laugh on me.  You see, I was in the last year of yakudoshi (a.k.a. atoyaku, 後厄 ) until the Chinese New Year of 2020, or January 25th.  Although Japan doesn’t celebrate the New Year according to the Chinese calendarContinue reading “Yakudoshi Got the Last Laugh On Me”

Whatever Happened to the Ancient Greek Religion?

While reading about the Hellenistic Period of ancient history, and the later Roman history, I have been curious about the gradual evolution and decline of the ancient Greek religion, centered around the Olympian gods. As history shows, the Roman Empire gradually transitioned from a pagan Imperial religion to Christianity, becoming official with the reign ofContinue reading “Whatever Happened to the Ancient Greek Religion?”

The Japanese Zodiac Explained

This year, 2020, is in the Japanese (extended) zodiac the year of 庚子 (kano-é-ne).  The Japanese zodiac was originally based off the Chinese Lunar calendar, though this changed in the late 19th century when Japan moved toward rapid Westernization and industrialization. However, the 12-animal zodiac, or jūnishi (十二支), is still an important part of theContinue reading “The Japanese Zodiac Explained”

A Brief Introduction to Japanese Shinto Religion

While I usually talk about Buddhism a lot, especially Japanese Buddhism, on the blog, I wanted to take some time to talk a little bit about the other religion in Japan: Shintoism. With New Year’s just past, it’s a good time to explore this oft-misunderstood tradition. Shinto is a tricky subject in some ways becauseContinue reading “A Brief Introduction to Japanese Shinto Religion”

Symbols for Japanese New Year

Japanese New Year (oshōgatsu お正月) has come and gone, and we’re now in the year 2020, but I took a photos around the house to show the kinds of symbols and accoutrements you’ll see this time of year. The first one is a kadomatsu (門松): This display, combines bamboo (竹), pine (松) and plum blossomsContinue reading “Symbols for Japanese New Year”

The Maha Santa Claus Sutra

Note: If Santa Claus was a Buddhist, this is what he might have looked like in a Buddhist text or sutra… 😏 Thus have I heard. At one time the Buddha was staying in the Jeta Grove monastery of Anathapindaka’s Garden at Shravasti, together with a large assembly of twelve hundred and fifty monks, whoContinue reading “The Maha Santa Claus Sutra”

The Cycle of (Un)Happiness

After a particularly stressful day at work, I caught myself “stress-eating” some leftover catering at the office, which got me thinking about the little self-destructive habits we all have.  Then I found this great video by 8-bit philosophy…   In Buddhism, this cycle of “aimless wandering” or Saṃsāra isn’t just limited to one life, butContinue reading “The Cycle of (Un)Happiness”

Politics and Hysteria

This was a sobering article I found in the Atlantic: https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2019/03/watertown-new-york-tops-scale-political-tolerance/582106/ In particular, this quote really disturbed me: This matters because political disdain has begun to distort our perception of reality. Democrats now think Republicans are richer, older, crueler, and more unreasonable than they are in real life, according to multiple studies, including one byContinue reading “Politics and Hysteria”

Yakudoshi? More Like Yaku-no-shi!

In Japanese culture, certain years are considered inauspicious based on the year you were born and are called “yakudoshi” (厄年). The logic behind these particular years comes from Chinese homophones (words that sounds alike). According to this helpful book, the years listed can also be homophones for bad things. For example “42”, if you sayContinue reading “Yakudoshi? More Like Yaku-no-shi!”