Day 1 – Simple flower arrangement at Toji-in (等持院)

A simple flower arrangement in a reception room near the entrance of Toji-in temple (等持院)

A simple flower arrangement in a reception room near the entrance of Toji-in temple (等持院)

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No expectations

Great Mormon butterfly (Papilio memnon – Nagazaki Ageha, ナガザキアゲハ) in Chion-in temple http://bit.ly/1imccEb

I bought my flight ticket and am leaving in two weeks. Now it has become a real thing. I have been dreaming and thinking about this endeavor for about a year now and the time has finally come. Of course, my mind is full of expectations, I ask myself how things will be like, where I will live, whom I will meet, what work will be like. BUT, I also try not to let them go to my head. Too high of expectations of how things will be had left me disappointed when I arrived at my first apprenticeship, although it turned out to be the best place to work and live. So I try to avoid that trap this time.

Although it is hard to do so – after all I have been dreaming of living in Kyoto and writing a book for a long time. It is really a dream come true. I already dream about coming back to Kyoto every few years to write my second and third book. I have a very romantic idea of my life there. It really is hard not to have expectations too high. But I know that I will probably life in a very small, maybe old apartment, I will not have super-much money to indulge in all of Kyoto’s refined kaiseki cuisine. The up side is that the times I will enjoy such a multi-course meal, I will truly value it, especially if I eat Miso soup the rest of the time.

Working on Saturdays is not uncommon in Japan, so I might not even have enough time to visit temples and other gardens, let alone places outside of Kyoto on the weekends. But that will be OK, since I work in the gardens, I will spent the most of my waking time in them.

I will treat these three months as a retreat – exchanging my SF life for a different one. Working, cooking, writing. Sleeping. Meeting friends once in a while. And going to the Sento (銭湯), the public bath house.

It will be another lesson of letting go. Letting go of possession. Letting go of expectations, letting go of worries, letting go of planning ahead. The Japanese system, in which you trust your superiors and in exchange be loyal to them, should help me with that. Letting go of control. Whatever control we image we have. Control is just an illusion anyway.