This is my 4th day at Sado Island. Today is the turn of 2 of my favourite things: to experience activities in a temple and to play wadaiko!!!!
1.- Chokuku-ji Temple
At first I went to Chokoku-ji Temple. The monk who runs this temple is Monk Tomita, a man in his 70s full of energy and ideas to introduce meditation to visitors. This temple has a history of more that 1000 years and you can find cultural treasures from Heian Era. The first experience was to meditate on a rock. Inside the temple and next to the main altar, there is a space with a plain rock where you can meditate. The monk said that this is also a way that monks meditate sometimes. At first was difficult to find a good position to sit. Without a cushion, it becomes a little hard but if you relax and let your body find it, you will do. It is an interesting experience. Then I did Shodo (calligraphy). This activity consists in copying a sutra doing shodo. You have the Kanjis (chinese characters) under a light white paper that allows you to see the shapes of the Kanjis and copy them following the strokes with a brush and black ink. This kind of meditation makes you focus only in that moment. Because you have to pay attention on what you are doing, everything else disappears. This is a very good way to clean your mind, to live the present. The next activity was to get into the Dark Room. The dark room is a small room out of light that you can get in only through a small hole in the wall. You have to crawl through a short hall and then get into the room. In the room you have a small altar and once you are ready, the monk closes the door and you just stay there in the dark. This activity is also interesting. I never did meditation in a dark room, it makes you feel conected with yourself. But if you can´t handle being in small places, I wouldn´t recommend you to do this. You have many other activities to do!!! And the last one was the “reborn coffin”. Basically you get into a coffin as if you were dead and stay there for a few minutes. The idea is to get into the coffin with something to think about and make a reflexion about it. When you get out form the coffin, it is like you are reborned. The first time I experienced the coffin for 2, and then I asked to experience the coffin for one. The coffin for 2 feels warmer. To share that experience with someone else is something nice to do. This temple and the monk Tomita are very unique. You will find a lot of things to do here and of course being around the monk and listening to his stories is a great way to start the morning.
2.- Kodo Taiko Center
After having lunch, I went to Kodo. Kodo is the reason I knew about Sado Island. Because I played wadaiko back in Argentina, and now also here in Japan, Kodo is a place to go if you like Japanese drums or if you just want to experience playing wadaiko. I have to say that this is not my first time here, it is actually my 3rd time, and all the times that I came to Sado before were because of Kodo. This time I wanted to know about the place from where all the magic happens by doing this trip around the island, but being here it was mandatory to visit them. As usual, the people at the reception are so kind and helpful!!! They explained to us about Kodo, the history their purpose and all the question we had. Then we got into the huge practice room full a drums to “play” with. They told us about the 2 unique drums they had made by themselves, but if you want to know about this story, you should go and check it out! Every time I go to Kodo's Taiko Center it becomes a happy time. They feel like family to me and I always want to go back. Let´s see when it will be the next time!!!!
3.- Kasai Strawberry Farm
When I thought the day was over, I got surprised!!! I was taken to a strawberry farm!!!!!! Kasai strawberry farm in Kamewaki, Hamochi. We visited a local farmer near by and I was able to see how they grow this delicious fruit!!! The happiest moment was when I got strawberries as a present!! Yeeeeiiiii!!! :) Very very tasty!!!
To finish this amazing day, I went to a soba restaurant, Mozemu. The most amazing food I tasted. The Chef there is one of the best in the Island. You need to make reservation to go there and the dishes are planned in advance to be perfectly scheduled according to the reservation time, which means that the time of cooking is also being taking care very carefully. It is a small place ran by the chef and his wife who works as the waitress.
This is all for today, I can´t wait for tomorrow!!!!!!!