Grief is a Seed
Sandra Kimball looks at the experience of grief and loss
We often think of grief as something that happens after a big event in our lives, such as the death of a loved one or the end of a relationship. But there are many small things that can cause grief to visit us, especially when we leave home to live in a new country. Many intangible losses can be tucked in amidst the excitement and benefits of living as a foreigner in a new place. These "hidden losses"occur when all the patterns of daily living are changed and with it, the sense of security and competency that are vital to us.
If you're reading this, there are most likely losses you've experienced by shifting your life into a new culture. The loss can be big, such as losing contact with family and friends, or the change in lifestyle or status, or smaller losses like having access to your favorite creature comforts.
Grief is a label given to a generic process consisting of multiple moods, but many times the word is used to label the feeling of being overwhelmed by loss.
If grief goes unresolved, it can appear in other kinds of behavior like anger, anxiety and depression. Experiencing a loss can cause a hairline fracture in our identity and oftentimes, our attempts to keep it together and to stay in control can intensify our grief. For foreigners this can be a confusing paradox because at the same time there are wonderful and exciting experiences on offer from living in a new culture.
Passing through borders will mean there is always something left behind. When one gives attention to unresolved grief, transitions can be smoother. It can make life easier when moving from one country to another, into a new relationship, or when gaining a new sense of ourselves. Giving some attention to what has been left behind can clear a space for what lies ahead.
-by Sandra Kimball
Sandra Kimball is a psychotherapist from Counselling Services Kyoto
She is the facilitator for the Open Group Discussions held the first Saturday of every month
at the Kyoto International Community House.Topics vary and address issues concerning
foreigners living in Japan. There is no charge for participation.
Plum blossom in Kyoto city
Plum blossom is as familiar as cherry blossom in Japan. The former opens from February to March while the latter opens from March to April.
Kitano Tenmanguu Shrine, Umenomiya Taisha Shrine, Heian Jingu Shrine, Shimogamo Shrine, Kyoto Imperial Garden, Kyoto Botanical Garden, and so on are famous for plum blossom in Kyoto city1). Kitano Tenmanguu Shrine is the most famous among them2).
It is central to shrines at which Michizane Sugawara is worshipped in Japan and contains two thousand (50 sorts) plum trees in about a 66,000-square meter precinct. The Baien (plum garden) contains one thousand and the grounds within the Romon (main gate) contain one thousand trees. The Baien is usually opened from the first ten days of February to the end of March. Adults who are older than junior high school students pay the admission fee with a price of Japanese tea and cake of 500 yen and children pay 250 yen.
Why not go and see plum blossom in Kitano Tenmangu Shrine?
1) The Catalog of Plum Blossom in Kyoto (JR Central); http://kyoto.jr-central.co.jp/kyoto.nsf/special/sp_19_1
2) Kitano Tenmanguu Shrine; http://www.kitanotenmangu.or.jp
-by WATANABE Takeshi
Kyoto International Manga Museum
When you go to Karasuma Street near Karasuma-oike station, you can see the surprising sight of adults and children lying down and reading comics on the grass. You should stop at the unbelievable sight in a big city.
“KyotoInternationalMangaMuseum” is the first comic museum in Japan made of old elementary school building. In the museum, visitors can enjoy as many comic books as fifty thousand to the full, sunning themselves by the windows.
The rooms for research will be open from April, where you can read such materials if you register. You can enjoy not only reading comic books but also picture-story shows and workshops in which you can draw pictures and comics. Foreigners and various generations including children and the old can have a wonderful time. You should be able to learn the history of Japanese "MANGA"culture, enjoying mangas.
Kyoto International Manga Museum
1-minute walk from Kyoto Municipal Subway, Karasuma Line/Tozai Line"Karasuma Oike"Station.
A Note about Norovirus
Norovirus, an infection of the stomach, is expected to be a significant hazard through March. Unlike some illnesses with similar symptoms,norovirus cannot develop in food, but only in the stomach. The disease is passed through the stool or vomit of infected people. So, for most people, washing one's hands often throughout the day, and especially thoroughly after using the toilet, will help a great deal to combat the disease.
-by FUJIMURA Eiji
-translated by Chris SCHIMOLER
Series: My favorite Kyoto
Kyoto has long been the target of my visits due to two main reasons. One of them is my interest in the Japanese culture - the Japanese cuisine with its long history, architecture, the most beautiful gardens, tasty restaurants, Nishiki Food Market. The second reason, which is actually the main reason, for my decision to come to live in Kyoto is my beautiful Kyoto wife.
In the abundant treasury which Kyoto offers, there are two places I visit most gladly and frequently. These are The Holy Annunciation Orthodox Church in the Yanaginobanba Street and Kyoto International Community House.
When I need prayer and spiritual strengthening, I go to The Holy Annunciation Orthodox Church. This beautiful temple was built by St. Nikolai, equal to the apostles, archbishop of Japan in 1903 and the first bishop was St. New Martyr Archbishop Androwik of Perm. The temple is built of wood and it is famous for its architecture and icons. Therefore, it is a protected heritage of the city of Kyoto - the Kyoto bunkazai.
Kyoto International Community House is a very important place for me as a foreigner not only because I study the Japanese language and culture there but also because I obtain valuable information and assistance and participate in numerous events. All this helps me integrate in the country and understand it better because being a foreigner is never easy. Kyoto International Community House and its employees and volunteers work with foreigners with a lot of love and patience. They are the best ambassadors of Japan and the Japanese people.
-by Dragoslav Tatalovic-Sasha (Serbia)