Huseng wrote:Being an ESL teacher is an option, but the pay is decreasing and the work is often draining (wearing a suit to teach a bunch of kids who just don't care).
a monthly stipend sufficient to live
That is what I hear. I would not want to teach in lower middle class or working class schools in suburban Tokyo. People who go to smaller cities and nice parts of the countryside seem to have better experiences even now.
Woo. Sufficient if you live very conservatively. It is really easy to spend money in Japan, especially in Tokyo. But the memories you'll have!
Tokyo is really fun.
Huseng wrote:The countryside would be far better. Far cheaper. Not too many people want to live in the inaka. I wanted to, but my university was a few stations away from Shibuya in Tokyo.
If I could live anywhere in Japan it'd be Nara. Imagine being able to walk around Todai-ji with the tame deer every morning.
It can be. The university scene there is kinda cool because so many academics in a small area makes for a lot of special opportunities. Tokyo Uni has a monthly reading of Chan texts where a bunch of students and profs from various universities get together and read some text. Outside the Akamon (Red Gate) of Tokyo Uni there is a Buddhist bookshop which sells all those rare titles that costs 25,000 yen or more each.
Living in Japan was fun. I miss it sometimes. Taiwan doesn't have much history.
PorkChop wrote:I think in the end, I'm probably going to end up one big mutt of a Buddhist.
Queequeg wrote:PorkChop wrote:I think in the end, I'm probably going to end up one big mutt of a Buddhist.
I'm actually really appreciative that I am a practicing Buddhist in the US - there are so many influences here. It would be nice to have the institutional resources in Asia, but, we have the advantage of Buddhism being wide open, challenged, and as a result, really vibrant.
There are worse things to be than a mutt.
Yeah, but figuring out what to practice and how is a MAJOR challenge.
illarraza wrote:Yeah, but figuring out what to practice and how is a MAJOR challenge.
I think you can approach it like you would choosing a marshal arts. You might pick a day or a half a day to complete immerse yourself in the practice of the various grappling [judo, wrestling, jiu jitsu, aikido] and striking [boxing, muay tai, kenpo, kung fu] art against a similar weight and competent competitor and see where your strengths and comfort level lies.
You could spend one day chanting the Nembutsu, one day performing Zen meditation, one day Tibetian meditation, one day Theravadan meditation, and one day chanting the Daimoku of the Lotus Sutra, lets say for five hours of concentrated effort.
Queequeg wrote:I can say from personal knowledge, your attraction to things East Asian is common. I don't know if I am an expert, but I've spent a lot of time around East Asian grad students and expats in Japan. We sometimes call people like that Otaku, a word used in Japan for people with an intense interest in some subject - usually comics, but we give it a broader meaning for anyone with an intense interest in East Asia. I don't think its something bad, and being conscious of what may be going on is healthy. I think your attitude toward it is good. Racist? Maybe some features of it are there, but its not the same thing.
I don't think it is unfounded to develop an interest the way you have. I am sure you remember, Japan is a different universe. Asia is a different universe. The trappings of Western civilization are there, but as you may recall, there is something very different going on. I think its indicative of an adventurous spirit to want to learn and know about a culture or civilization different than your own. Many people in Japan would appreciate your interest. After you graduate, you might consider going over there to teach English and get to know the place first hand. The pay isn't great, but if you can get a gig out in the countryside in a vibrant area, you may get a lot out of it.
Queequeg wrote:Hi OB,
Japan is a different world. People have deeply ingrained assumptions about the experience of living that are woven into vocabulary and grammar, aesthetics, culture. You can read tons on what is unique about japan and why. But this is not unique to Japan. Every distinctive world has its cadre of scholars and commentators trying to understand how and why cultures are different. Personally, my interest in Japan is who I am. I can't escape it. It makes up the world I live and breathe in. Its part of the experience that makes me who I am. I just am.
Otaku is otaku. Dont read too much into it. Its not a technical word. Its a kind of humorous word that embodies informal observations and judgments. It really isn't concerned with how someone comes to an abiding interest. If you ask a person with a strong and abiding interest in something, they all have their own reasons. When I use the term Otaku, I have no concern for someone's motivations. Its a remark about how they appear instantaneously.
Not sure if that's responsive or a satisfactory answer to your questions.
It sounds like you're trying to understand yourself, and the trail you're following takes you to Japan. Not sure if anyone else can provide satisfactory answers to your big questions, but things more specific - you can find people to talk things through with. Eh, that's just my take on life.
As far as I'm concerned, asking the question "Why" and seeking answers is the whole point of life in the big picture.
To turn this back to Buddhism - in a way, I think Buddhism is a rubric of thought and practice to better ask and answer the question "Why".
PorkChop wrote:That's why I'm surprised that I haven't really felt an affinity for most of the Japanese Buddhism that's available to me here; but part of that is because 2 of the main places here are pretty much the flavor of Buddhism that my wife rebelled against in converting to Christianity. So in order to reduce any friction between us, I've actively pursued other routes.
Masaru wrote:It's a bit off topic, but what compelled your wife to convert to Christianity?
PorkChop wrote:Masaru wrote:It's a bit off topic, but what compelled your wife to convert to Christianity?
If nobody minds the thread hijack...
Her parents are SGI. Her parents made the kids chant the Daimoku for hours on end without explaining what they were chanting or why. Whenever election time came around, the SGI folks hit her parents up for donations. Meanwhile, she had a teacher in high school who was a Christian. She admired this teacher and this teacher took her to church.
To be honest (not trying to insult her), I don't think she really understands much of Christian doctrine. She's never read the whole New Testament, let alone the whole Bible. I've been with her to Church; she attends services at nondenominational Christian churches in the vein of Max Lucado. Coming from a Catholic upbringing, it was a bit of a trip seeing coffee served and the casual atmosphere. So it's a very "feel good" environment, not so heavy on the doctrine. "Let go, let God" seems to be a concept she's very taken with.
It's been a little bit of a balancing act trying to explain to her what I'm doing and why without her feeling alienated (ie embracing something she left behind). I try to encourage her spiritual practice when I can and have been very clear that I don't intend to convert her. I show her the stuff I think she'll like - she really liked the 8 verses of training the mind from the Tibetan tradition. I think she has an open mind - enough to let me do what makes me happy. For our son, I completely leave that in her hands. I think being raised Christian makes life a bit easier in this country. I try to avoid any confusion for him.