I’ve been in Kyoto for a couple of days again. I feel like this is a great place to be. Part of it is that I’ve been staying at a good place. I haven’t been a very good tourist over the past few days. Saturday afternoon I met with Steffen from Germany who is studying at Kyoto University and at the Shokoku-ji Zen Monastery. He showed me around a bit and we went out for dinner with some of his friends. He’s lived here for quite a while, so he knew of a great little restaurant, and we all ate like we were going to the electric chair.
The next morning I met Steffen at Shokoku-ji, and was able to practice zazen in the main hall for an hour and a half, then attended a talk with the Roshi. Fortunately for me, he talked about posture and stretches and breathing, so I was able to follow along a bit even though I couldn’t understand what he was saying. I have no idea how old he is, but he’s not a young man and he did a stretch that none of us could believe. It was a friendlier environment than I expected, but at the same time clearly a very serious place.
Other than that, I’ve been a bit of a slacker the last couple of days. Somebody found a great restaurant/bar that we’ve spent a couple of evenings at. Fortunately for me, I was out with Steffen and his friends the night things got a little out of control at the other place. If I thought that Shokoku-ji was going to be a serious place, I never would have guessed how serious they are about the Kyoto subway.