Saturday, December 17, 2011

enoshima island--my religion

Wow, I can't believe I have left this blog untouched for nearly three months. It's a bad habit to stop writing whenever I get stuck with something--a chapter, a paragraph, a sentence, or even a word. This time it was a pending review of a film that I really, really liked. Really, really liking something sometimes makes it extremely difficult to write about it while you are still extremely wanting to do so.

While the review stayed pending, there have been other things also pending. There are times in your life when it just seems impossible for any progress to be made and you are running out of the energy to change it, and the past month or so of my life has been that way. It's like a rainy season and I know it will go sooner or later. I tell myself that every time. Still, it is frustrating when you are drowned in this strong sense of stagnation.

So today, though I was still dragging the aftereffect of the recent stomach flu, I decided to pay a visit to Enoshima Island.

I don't see myself belonging to any religion, but the way I have been with this small island, I might as well call it my religion. There are shrines up the long stairway, and I do always visit the first one whenever I visit the island to go through the usual "worshiping" ritual, throwing in coins, bowing, clapping, then bowing again after you finish your "prayer." For me, and probably for many Japanese people who visit there, this act has hardly any religious connotation. It is rather cultural and a way to show respect just as taking off one's shoes before entering the house. When I put my hands together and close my eyes in front of the shrine, my words are directed toward not only the goddess of the shrine but also the island, the ocean, the trees, everything that surrounds me on the island.

But, yes, I might as well call this island my religion because I do go there seeking support and comfort and I always find it. I came here before my college entrance exam. I came here while I was applying for grad school in the States. I came here when my mother got sick and when she was recovering. I came here after the earthquake in March. Every time, somehow, it got better. I felt better. If nothing else, it is a truly pleasant place to visit especially on a sunny day like today.

I was there only for an hour or so, visiting the shrine, walking around, taking pictures and browsing shops. The wind was gushing, making the ends of my scarf flatter and leaving my hair all messy. The sun was high up all while and black kites were floating in the blue of the sky. All was beautiful, and it gave me back my energy. Yes, again, I found what I was looking for in Enoshima.

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