There is no better way to conclude this year than sharing it. I was invited to give a presentation of my year at Otemon Gakuin University for students interested in cultural studies or learning English. It was during exam period so many thanks to the students who showed up and were patient that I don’t know Japanese! It was crazy reflecting on all of the amazing sites I visited this year.

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Isshin-ji Temple- my last site. Isshin-ji is known as the common people’s temple. and has thirteen okotsu butsu, or bone buddahs. These are statues of Amida that contain ashes from bones of tens of thousands of people of any background, which are mixed mixed with clay/resin. This started sometime around  around 1700, but in 1948 they took fragments from the past six and made a one statue. Now a new one is created every ten years, ritualizing the process. Once a year in April thousands of people make a pilgrimage to honor and celebrate the dead enshrined here, however when I visited on a weekday it was very crowded with people lighting candles, praying, buying memorial trinkets, and admiring the architecture.


And thank you so much to Keiji, Rika, and Fumio for hosting me in Osaka and giving me the best send off imaginable for this year: amazing food, incredible views, and of course the chance to always learn new things.


Also, the mascot for the tallest building in Osaka (views above) is called Abenobe. I am obessed with his slow hypotizingly calm treks around Japan- my travels were definitely not as calm or smooth as that- but then again he is a cloud…



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