April 20, 2012
Many years ago, In the district called French River, located in the remote north of the prefecture of Duluth, a young samurai found himself lost on an unfamiliar country road. He was on an extremely important errand for the daimyo, charged with a delivering a writ of execution, but he was not overly concerned with having found himself lost. It was a cloudless sky and the sun was rising out of the east toward noon’s apex. His destination, a  run-down part of the prefecture, overseen by a rapacious and rather uncivilized clan, was located due west. He had only to walk that way, keeping in mind his mother’s oft-repeated saying, “all roads lead to home,” and he was sure eventually he’d come across a local peasant who could set him to rights.
Near noon, he found himself crossing a small, pleasant river. It was early spring, but the sun was high and hot, and he decided to rest and eat a bit in the shade of the bridge’s span.
Now, this bridge, and this river, was known to the superstitious peasants of the area, dirt-grubbers all, as the haunt of a troll, but the young samurai of course had no recourse to this knowledge as he settled onto a smooth rock to eat his meager lunch…

Many years ago, In the district called French River, located in the remote north of the prefecture of Duluth, a young samurai found himself lost on an unfamiliar country road. He was on an extremely important errand for the daimyo, charged with a delivering a writ of execution, but he was not overly concerned with having found himself lost. It was a cloudless sky and the sun was rising out of the east toward noon’s apex. His destination, a  run-down part of the prefecture, overseen by a rapacious and rather uncivilized clan, was located due west. He had only to walk that way, keeping in mind his mother’s oft-repeated saying, “all roads lead to home,” and he was sure eventually he’d come across a local peasant who could set him to rights.

Near noon, he found himself crossing a small, pleasant river. It was early spring, but the sun was high and hot, and he decided to rest and eat a bit in the shade of the bridge’s span.

Now, this bridge, and this river, was known to the superstitious peasants of the area, dirt-grubbers all, as the haunt of a troll, but the young samurai of course had no recourse to this knowledge as he settled onto a smooth rock to eat his meager lunch…

August 4, 2010
Choraku-ji, Kyoto
Perched on a mountainside, a bit of a hike beyond the main sites of Eastern Kyoto, Choraku-ji has been taken over by spiders. The drowsy old monk at the gate seems not up to the task of pruning back the bushes and pulling down the webs from their privileged positions under the shafts of light that make it through the canopies above.
The room of artifacts smells of the 60s. Few visitors have come through to disturb the air and view the scrolls. The spiders might just take over this space as well; they drop down from the sunwells and march slowly up from the pond.
Here is where Kenreimon-in was sent after the defeat of her clan in 1185 by the Genji. The story of how she came to this place is told in many tales, including The Tale of the Heike. It is also referenced in Lafcadio Hearn’s Kwaidan: Stories and Studies of Strange Things. In “The Story of Mimi-Nashi-Hoichi,” Hearn writes, “More than seven hundred years ago, at Dan-no-ura, in the Straits of Shimonoseki, was fought the last battle of the long contest between the Heiki, or Taira clan, and the Genji, or Minamoto clan. There the Heiki perished utterly, with their women and children, and their infant emperor likewise—now remembered as Antoku Tenno. And that sea and shore have been haunted for seven hundred years…”
Kenreimon-in, knowing defeat was imminent, and despairing, took her child-emperor son in her arms and threw herself into the sea. He drowned, and the clan was lost, but she was fished out from amidst the flotsam of her destroyed clan, scattered upon the water, a shell of herself. She was sent here, where the scroll depicting her likeness was purposefully defaced, less representatives of the Genji clan came by the to finish the job of erasing her from the future.
In a mass for the eight year old emperor, she sewed flags from the robes the boy was wearing when he drowned…these flags, and the defaced portrait, sit in the dusty temple, guarded by spiders.
Behind the temple, an ice cold stream of water falls into a bamboo bucket. Small stone statues of the Buddha constantly wipe water and moss from their eyes. The water, which pounds down on your flesh like all of your regrets, nonetheless tastes exceptionally good, and is known for its restorative qualities…

Choraku-ji, Kyoto

Perched on a mountainside, a bit of a hike beyond the main sites of Eastern Kyoto, Choraku-ji has been taken over by spiders. The drowsy old monk at the gate seems not up to the task of pruning back the bushes and pulling down the webs from their privileged positions under the shafts of light that make it through the canopies above.

The room of artifacts smells of the 60s. Few visitors have come through to disturb the air and view the scrolls. The spiders might just take over this space as well; they drop down from the sunwells and march slowly up from the pond.

Here is where Kenreimon-in was sent after the defeat of her clan in 1185 by the Genji. The story of how she came to this place is told in many tales, including The Tale of the Heike. It is also referenced in Lafcadio Hearn’s Kwaidan: Stories and Studies of Strange Things. In “The Story of Mimi-Nashi-Hoichi,” Hearn writes, “More than seven hundred years ago, at Dan-no-ura, in the Straits of Shimonoseki, was fought the last battle of the long contest between the Heiki, or Taira clan, and the Genji, or Minamoto clan. There the Heiki perished utterly, with their women and children, and their infant emperor likewise—now remembered as Antoku Tenno. And that sea and shore have been haunted for seven hundred years…”

Kenreimon-in, knowing defeat was imminent, and despairing, took her child-emperor son in her arms and threw herself into the sea. He drowned, and the clan was lost, but she was fished out from amidst the flotsam of her destroyed clan, scattered upon the water, a shell of herself. She was sent here, where the scroll depicting her likeness was purposefully defaced, less representatives of the Genji clan came by the to finish the job of erasing her from the future.

In a mass for the eight year old emperor, she sewed flags from the robes the boy was wearing when he drowned…these flags, and the defaced portrait, sit in the dusty temple, guarded by spiders.

Behind the temple, an ice cold stream of water falls into a bamboo bucket. Small stone statues of the Buddha constantly wipe water and moss from their eyes. The water, which pounds down on your flesh like all of your regrets, nonetheless tastes exceptionally good, and is known for its restorative qualities…

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