“Thus began a break of undetermined length and meaning.”

― Jacob Slichter
So You Wanna Be a Rock & Roll Star: How I Machine-Gunned a Roomful Of Record Executives and Other True Tales from a Drummer’s Life

Oh, my poor little abandoned blog. I often forget how we started, only to realize how much I take you for granted. Earlier this week, WordPress reminded me that we started our relationship four years ago.

Sadly, I got confined by the parameters of our relationship. Although it started as a good idea- having a specific theme for all the blog posts- it quickly became a burden to try and fit within said theme. I dabbled in expanding the reach of this blog, but sadly it was not to stay for long.

For those of you who still follow this page, I say thank you. I’m not saying this blog is closed forever, but in all reality I started a new one about a year and a half ago, and it’s just been much more fun to manage that one. Truth be told, I just haven’t been feeling all that inspired spiritually as of late, so having to dig deep for profound thoughts has been a challenge.

If you found this blog engaging and entertaining, please check out The Adventures of Nagzilla. I (usually) post twice a week, and it’s more about the weird, exciting, every day adventures that I have. It’s a mix of nostalgia from the past, fun in the present, and dreams of the future. If you dig geeky stuff, anime, cosplay, cons, reminiscing about the 70s and 80s, Star Wars, roller derby, and just finding the inane randomness of daily living, this is definitely something worth checking out.

I apologize for letting my first love languish. It was a good run, and hopefully provided some interesting insights into both spirituality and pop culture, but for the moment I’m shelving the project. Thanks for hanging around, and hopefully we’ll see each on another page.

You can get addicted to a certain kind of sadness

Somebody That I Used to Know
Making Mirrors
Gotye

As humans we are creatures of habit. Even though we profess to seek change, the truth is that very few are ever truly comfortable with it. The problem isn’t necessarily when we’re resistant to change. The problem is when we get so wrapped up in our own dysfunction that we can’t find our way.

Too often I have seen friends and loved ones get trapped in a prison of their own design. They find it’s easier to create drama and then play the victim then to take responsibility for their life and move forward. They get addicted to the attention (good, bad, or otherwise) that they receive when they make decisions that have a propensity to end badly or aren’t thought through all the way.

Sometimes everyday living is boring. But the drama of reality tv and movies and novels can hook people and make them think that if we aren’t living on the edge or having to overcome some huge hurdle we aren’t living effectively. The reality is that life isn’t about clinging to the brink and waiting for someone to save us. Life doesn’t always have to be the drama to be overcome. Most of our lives are lived in the quiet moments that no one else recognizes or cares about. But in order to appreciate those regular moments, we have to be comfortable with ourselves and trust that the Universe is giving us what we need, however ordinary and boring it may be.

A solid spirituality can help us realize that life doesn’t have to be all drama and stress and living each day as a testament to our own strength or weakness. We don’t have to create problems just to show that we can solve them. By trusting the Universe to give us what we need and showing us the opportunities for an amazing life, we don’t have to step out on the ledge and jump in the hopes that someone will be there to catch us. The Universe shows us that rather than falling from 40 stories up, we can trust that if we push the right button, the elevator will safely lower us to the ground and open its doors to something new.

For today, let go of the need to be in a state of emergency just to prove you’re alive. Live for the quiet moments and trust that when things are calm, it is not a sign of a misspent life. You deserve to live a life that is ordinary.

I will be your father figure put your tiny hand in mine
I will be the one who loves you til the end of time

“Father Figure”
Faith
George Michael

It only took me a month to write a Father’s Day post. Not bad.

Father’s Day can be a daunting holiday for those of us who grew up without fathers. It’s a reminder of what we never had and never will have.

My lack of a father had a big impact on my view of my religion and spirituality. We tend to anthropomorphize our gods based on our own experiences. Growing up in the Christian faith, I was often presented a god that was a loving father figure. It’s hard to imagine a god as a loving father figure when you have no context for that imagery.

That’s not to say that I didn’t try to imagine the perfect dad. And I was always looking for that male parental figure. I would occasionally find one that would fit for a while, but they were always just temporary. Eventually, through physical or emotional distance, I would lose that person and be orphaned again.

There were some who would encourage me to fill that void with god, but it’s not that simplistic. Even though I could imagine how I would want the ideal dad to talk, act, and be, there is something about having a manifestation of that to hold onto. No matter how much I imagine a father-like god, the Holy Other is still out there. It’s not something physical or tangible. It’s not something I can call on the phone or really share my life with in a meaningful way and receive response in return.

As I have grown in my spirituality, I have learned that it does fill a void, but it can’t replace the things we need in this life. The Universe is beyond comprehension and understanding, and trying to make it fit in a little box does it a huge disservice. On the flip side, trying to fill a hole in our experiential lives with something spiritual doesn’t relieve the pain of that loss. We can lean on our Higher Being to help us recover from and heal the pain. But we can’t look to the spiritual to fill a need that is physical.

While I have learned a lot of coping skills to help deal with the loss of something that never was, I realize that there is an emptiness that will always be a part of me. I may not feel it as acutely, and it may only rear its ugly head a couple of times a year, but it will always be there. I can look to my spirituality to help me survive it, but it cannot replace what never was. It wasn’t meant to, and it’s too big to serve in that capacity.

Don’t you worry your pretty little mind
People throw rocks at things that shine

Ours
Taylor Swift
Speak Now

We really hate success, don’t we?

Not our own of course. I mean, there is no dearth of stories about people who self-sabotage themselves because of their fear of success, but that’s a completely different topic. I’m talking about how we tend to turn on things or people that get too big or we deem unworthy.

I admit I am often guilty of it myself. Some celebrities raise my ire (Kim Kardashian, anyone?) but I’ve  noticed over the years that any time someone starts to have some modicum of success, eventually there will be a backlash. For whatever reason, we become jealous and feel like we need to tear down those who rise to the occasion. It doesn’t take long for someone to go from being the talk of the town to being this week’s “no-talent hack” and joke punchline.

Why do we do that? Is it some feeling that if one person has success, it takes away from our ability to do the same? Like there is some limit to the number of people who can be successful at any given point in time? What is it that causes us to be threatened by someone else getting recognition for doing something amazing?

I don’t have an answer, but I believe that lifting up others doesn’t diminish our ability to rise above the fray. We need to learn to appreciate the talents of every person and what they offer to the world. We all have something important to share, and one person’s success does not equal our own failure.

We should lift each other up and recognize the gifts that the Creator has endowed in every single one of us. Jealously is petty and unattractive and doesn’t further our mission to make the world a better place. And when we feel threatened by someone else’s accomplishments, it makes us doubt our own abilities. That’s not what the Universe wants from us. The other side effect is the fear of success that I mentioned at the beginning of the post. When we see how people get torn apart when they celebrate their triumphs, it definitely makes people second guess if the cost is worth the price. How many things do we NOT do because we’re concerned about how people will negatively respond to it, no matter how good or valuable it may be?

Are you afraid of the success of others? How do you feel when you see someone achieve when you’re still struggling? How can you trust that there is enough prosperity in the Universe to accommodate everyone?

She grew up with the children of the stars

Lullaby
Soul’s Core
Shawn Mullins

Children show the best and worst of their parents. Watching what they learn and parroting everything, good and bad. Some of the things Andrea did when she was younger struck me cold because I heard my own voice in her mouth. Sometimes it was “Oh my god, do I really sound like that?” Other times it was because I realized she was just parroting me and not making her own decisions or thinking about how she really felt about things.

On the flip side, they can be a reflection of our best selves, or show us a part of us we weren’t aware of. I never saw myself as beautiful, partly because of my excessive weight issue. Another (much larger) part of me didn’t feel beautiful because my mother told me I wasn’t, and I swore I’d never say that to my own child. But what happened was really extraordinary. I think my daughter is beautiful. And not in a “all moms think that way about their kid” way, because clearly that is not the case. I genuinely continue to be amazed at how pretty she is. And we hear comments from other people, who have no vested interest or any reason to lie, who says that she is a beautiful child. That comment is generally followed by the comment “she looks so much like you.” Having my daughter has made me recognize my own beauty. There are still times when I am uncomfortable with it, and I still struggle with the weight issue (recognizing I would be more attractive with about 100 fewer pounds) but I have come to accept and own my own beauty because my daughter has become a mirror for me.

What does this have to do with spirituality? In the religion of my childhood, there was a lot of talk about being children of the Creator. Too often that terminology is used to exploit the punitive nature of the deity, who parcels out punishment like a cosmic angry father. Or it is used to see God as some kind of parental figure, for all the baggage that entails depending on your relationship with your family of origin. I pose a different approach. Just as our own children can reflect the better parts of ourselves, we are a mirror for the spiritual force of the Universe. The good in us is a reflection of the best parts of something so much bigger and better than ourselves.

And even if we go to a more literal interpretation of the idea of children of God, there’s still something to that. Carl Sagan said that we are made of “star stuff.” We have elements of the Big Bang in our DNA. The atoms that comprise our bodies began from the source of everything. I think those who view the Big Bang theory as in direct conflict with religious texts are missing out on a powerful way to look at our Creator and our relationship with it. We share parts of our physical being with the Source of Everything! When we search for a connection to a higher power, we need to recognize that it is always a part of us. And we can use that to draw from to become our best selves. We are made from the stuff of stars; we share our source with the One who Created it. And with all of the creation that came out of it. I feel sorry for those who disregard the Big Bang because they are missing out on a major piece of our spiritual ancestry. I often wonder if it’s because of the implications that acknowledging it may have on their view of the world and the universe. What kind of responsibility would we have to take if we recognized that we have the spark of the Creator in every cell of our being? What would happen to our view of having dominion over everything if we had to recognize that everything else does as well?

When I wrap my head around that idea, it makes me realize that too often we don’t tap into the amazing source of strength and goodness. It won’t make things easier, necessarily, but just the recognition that we are a reflection of something greater should give us some hope that we can achieve great things. We are a part of infinity. We have infinite possibilities. In some ways it can be scary to admit that we have the power to do anything. What could we do if we knew we could not fail? Or if we knew that we had the source of power of The Universe to help us achieve greatness? Sometimes as human children we don’t appreciate all the great things that are our inheritance through our parental history. Or we recognize it, but we take it for granted in our ever busy daily round. I think as spiritual children, we do the same. We need to recognize what is our birth right and use that to make the world a better place.

How can you draw on your Big Bang DNA to improve your world? How does realizing you have a spiritual parentage with the Creator of everything change your view of yourself?

Tell me all your thoughts on God
‘Cause I would really like to meet her

Counting Blue Cars
Pet Your Friends
Dishwalla

Do you have someone that you have admired, idolized, worshipped, and are scared to death to actually meet? I often think of that situation when I think about meeting God. Part of it is because when we admire someone from afar, it’s very easy to create our own idea of what that person is like. The challenge is that there is always the distinct possibility that they may not come anywhere close to your expectations.

That’s not to say that meeting your Higher Power or deity wouldn’t meet your expectations. On the contrary, they would probably exceed them on every level imaginable, but there’s the risk that what you thought you knew is completely different from how they really are.

I have examples of this in the human world. Most people know that I worship George Lucas. I kiddingly refer to him as my god; Star Wars is my canon. In reality, he was a major influence on my childhood and subsequently my grown-up years. There is a part of me that really, really would love to meet him some day. But there is another part of me that isn’t so sure. What if he’s a total dick? I mean, I don’t think that he would be, but if he was it would totally blow my image of him. I would be heartbroken.

I speak to this from experience. When I was a hapless teen, there was a particular band that I had an infatuation with. Names have been omitted to protect the innocent and the guilty. I adored them and their music, and my mom took me to their concerts any time they came within a tri-state area. When I was in my twenties, and their popularity was on the decline, my best friend and I went to one of their concerts and managed to finagle our way backstage. Dream come true!

Well, not quite. There were two main singers, one of whom I had had a major crush on since I was 12. We were able to meet both. One was completely charming, talkative, and humble. He was disarming with his genuine interest in speaking with us and was a complete gentleman.

The other guy? The one I adored from my preadolescence? Total douche canoe. Seriously. Arrogant, self-important prick. It bummed me out, because I really thought he was amazingly talented. Apparently, so did he. I was willing to chalk it up to just having a bad night and gave him the benefit of the doubt. Fast forward fifteen years. They are playing a concert at the local casino and my hubby takes me as a birthday gift. Again, following the show we wait for the meet and greet where they’ll sign autographs and take pictures. Once again, Mr. Nice Guy is super friendly and appreciative of our support.

The douche canoe? Still a dick. Acted like he could have cared less if he was there and was doing us a favor by showing up. Never mind that he wouldn’t have a career if we didn’t buy his records. Clearly, we owed him. Blech.

Now don’t get me wrong- I don’t think that god will be a dick. Although some traditions tend to paint the Creator as such, I personally don’t subscribe to that point of view. But I do think that whatever expectations we may have, what we experience will be something completely different. Partly because we can’t comprehend of this amazing Power of the Universe, partly because we don’t have the words adequate enough for the experience, and partly because we’re tainted by our earthly views of what a deity looks like. Whatever the reason, we should learn to let go of our expectations of what god is like. Because no matter what we imagine, it will different. Depending on what and how we imagine, we don’t want to run the risk of disappointment when facing the one who created everything.

Look at your own beliefs and expectations. In what ways would meeting your Higher Power be a good or bad experience, based on your preconceived notions of what god looks like? How can you let go of your beliefs and dogma and allow yourself to just be in the presence?

I’m not a coward I’ve just never been tested
I’d like to think that if I was I would pass
Look at the tested and think there but for the grace go I
Might be a coward I’m afraid of what I might find out

The Impression That I Get
Let’s Face It
The Mighty Mighty Bosstones

All things considered, I’m pretty lucky. I have faced some tragedy in my lifetime, mostly with the deaths of my family members, but nothing that would be above the norm. The times when life has thrown me for a loop, I’ve been able to learn from the experience and grow as a person, but I can’t at this point in time think of anything that has permanently derailed me. That’s not to say that I haven’t had my share of challenges. I’ve had some family experiences that put the fun in dysfunctional. We’ve survived natural disasters that left us needing to start completely over. I have a chronic medical condition that, when it flares up, can feel life threatening. But overall, seriously, I can say that my life has been (and continues to be) pretty amazing.

One of the biggest problems that I have had with the religion of my childhood is that too many people put an emphasis on trials being sent from God to test us. I really struggle with the idea of a deity that would deliberately punish someone, or prevent something from happening, as a way to teaching that person a lesson. I liken it to the parent who, in order to teach a child not to touch a hot stove, places their hand on the burner. There are better ways to get that message across.

Whenever I tried to question that, someone supposedly older and wiser would retort that we can’t know God’s ways. I totally agree. I think that there are so many ways in which the mind and the substance of our Creator is both unknown and unknowable. Our little human brains can’t wrap around a concept that is so far beyond anything that we can know or experience. That being said, one of my biggest hangups is our anthropomorphism of god to reflect the way we human treat each other. I don’t think that a truly loving higher power would willingly allow us to be raped, or have a child die, or burn our house down in order to prove a point. And if that is the case, I’m not sure that’s a deity I’d be comfortable worshiping.

I think people have it wrong. I think trials are just a part of life. Part of being human and all the error and imperfection and choices that are a part of living this experience. Sure, some of these tragedies are of our own creation, through choices that we make or don’t make. But sometimes life just smacks us upside the head with a two by four for no other reason than we were in the wrong place at the wrong time.

I think that, rather than seeing the Universe as the one doling out the experience, I think we should shift the title from test to teacher. When everything has gone wrong, our concept of god or deity is the thing that helps us get back up. It is what gives us strength to continue, not what knocked us down in the first place. God isn’t there to throw our lives against the wall and shatter them to show us that we need to depend on Him or Her. It’s what whispers to us to rise up and keep fighting and helps us pick up the pieces.

Faith is what gives us strength and hope. I feel so sorry for those who see belief as something that will bring us tests of our will and religious studies just because some invisible man in the sky thinks this is something we need to experience in order to understand what his plan is for us. I hear expressions like, “If He brings you to it, He’ll bring you through it.” Really? You honestly want to care for and praise someone larger than you who would deliberately put you in harm’s way so he can show how awesome he is? No thanks.

This? Not really comforting to me.

Life is the test, but faith can teach us how to minimize the destruction that being alive can bring. I haven’t ever really been tested, but I think it’s because I don’t view the highs and lows of existence in the same way as those who view trials as final exams from the harshest teacher in existence. When problems happen, I look for strength and a way of taking the situation and discovering what I can do to make things different and get through the rough spots. How do you view your deity? Is your Creator one of love and strength, or one who makes you suffer in order to be a better person? Take time to examine your view and decide how you really want to see your god. Your perception of what it means to be tested can make a difference in how you view your life.

So I’ll let you go, I’ll set you free
and when you see what you need to see
When you find you, come back to me

“Come Back to Me”
David Cook
David Cook

Wha-what? Wait, you were only on Day 8 of the 30 Day Blog Challenge. What’s going on?

Here’s the thing. When I first started this blog, I had a very specific theme and idea in mind. I wanted to use quotes and messages from pop culture and use them to explore spirituality. And for a good portion of time, I accomplished that. Then I hit a dry spell. Not that I wasn’t inspired. On the contrary, I had lots of notes for entries. The challenge was just sitting down and writing them. To the point that I’d go months between entries. Not terribly conducive to building an audience, or making regular readers happy.

When things were really stressful, I stumbled upon someone else doing one of the many 30 Day Blog Challenges out there and thought it would be a good way to get my mojo back. And it worked, although I still wasn’t super consistent. But at least I was writing and posting more often than once every four to six months. It was a good break.

Problem is, I was still trying to make my entries fit the whole spiritual theme of the blog. Sometimes it worked. Sometimes, meh. I realized that I had kind of hijacked my own blog by posting things that, while entertaining and occasionally funny, didn’t really fit with my original intent.

So I’m taking it back.

Starting now, I’m going to work again to make The Sacred and The Profane my place to explore religion, philosophy, and spirituality with a pop culture twist. I can’t guarantee I’ll always have amazing insights, or an inspirational message that you can take with you, but I’ll try to stay true to my original plan. What’s with the “Come Back to Me” quote? I realized that, much like everything in the spiritual realm, even if you take a departure or detour, the lessons that you are learning or were meant to retain will be waiting for you when you go back to the original path. Sometimes you have to find what you think you were looking for to realize what it was you were truly on track to find.

This doesn’t mean that I’m giving up on telling amusing tales from my misguided youth, or sharing my adventures from my daily grind. No. In fact, I am adding to the pressure to produce. Kind of like the whole “publish or perish” mentality of higher education, I am adding another wrinkle to my forehead by creating a second blog. Call me crazy. Call me irresponsible. Just don’t call me late for breakfast.

While this site will be a way for me to explore what spirituality means to me, in the hopes of providing inspiration to others along the way, my new blog will be a way for me to explore…well, me. Doing a little navel gazing of my daily realm, while hopefully serving as a warning to others. Basically where this blog explores more of the sacred, The Adventures of Nagzilla will explore more of the profane. And believe me when I say, my real life is full of profanity. Chock. Full. Of delicious, humorous, never-ending profanity.

If you feel like checking out the new page, feel free to hop on over. I’ll still be here when you get back. Hopefully either here or there, you’ll find something to either make you smile or make you think. Maybe even a little of both. Thanks for reading, and stay tuned. More fun to come. On both pages.

People everywhere will try
to be Tokyo tonight
leave it all behind it’s Tokyo-ing
and I wanna go.
Shibuya eto!

Becca featuring Hatsune Miku
“Shibuya”
Alive!!

Day 8: Some place you have been, Part 6

Sunday brought us the best day of our whole trip. Partly because we took in so much of the city, and partly because we were celebrating Andrea’s golden birthday. This was the day when we really experienced as much of Tokyo as was humanly possible. We started out the day with a trip to Harajuku.

By now I’m sure everyone knows what Harajuku is, but in the off chance you’ve been living in a cave I’ll give you the downlow. Harajuku is Tokyo’s youth and fashion district. If you want to know the latest trends and alternative fashions and lifestyles, Harajuku is your place.

The weekends are typically when the teens and trend setters come out to show off their gothic lolita, hip Harajuku, or cool cosplay outfits. I am assuming that we didn’t see very many because of the aftermath of the quake, but we still had fun exploring.

A couple of the only kids we saw dressed up.

Takeshita is the street where all the cool kids meet. We spent most of the morning exploring the vendors and crepe stands that made up this famous thoroughfare. Andrea ended up getting a skirt for derby, and chose some shoes she would pick up later.

Wonder how often they have to replace those balloons?

I was drooling. So many Converse, so little money *sigh*

After we were done there, we headed over to Shibuya to check out the Square Enix store. Square Enix is the company that produces both the Kingdom Hearts and Final Fantasy video games. Andrea loves Kingdom Hearts, and we drop some cash there picking up some collectibles. I almost dropped something else when I climbed the stairs and happened upon this:

Nothing like walking onto a sarcophagus...

After that, we head up to Asakusa to see the Sensoji Temple.


Sensoji Temple is one of Tokyo’s most famous and popular temples. There are many places for prayer placards, good luck wishes, and fortunes.  When you receive your omikuji, or fortune, if it’s bad you can tie it to one of the trees nearby to draw the bad luck off of you. If you have a good fortune, you can tie it to increase your blessings or speed up their delivery. Either way, both Jason and I tied on our fortunes.

The good fortune was mine. Jason's, not so hot.

One of the oddest experiences at the temple actually had to do with Andrea. There was an orange tree  by one of the statues, and these three old men were sitting there chatting with people. For whatever reason, they were fascinated with Andrea. It was strange, but not in a creepy kind of way. It was almost as if she was a celebrity. They wanted to have their picture taken with her, and took pictures of her holding an orange from the tree.

Andrea having her picture taken by her fans

After our tour of the shrine night was starting to fall so we made our way down Nakamise-dori, a shopping street where pilgrims to the shrine used to buy necessary items. Now it’s primarily where tourists can buy trinkets to take home. We did most of our shopping there as well.

Let's go shopping!

Finally we needed to wind up Andrea’s birthday with a special dinner. And we couldn’t visit Tokyo without trying out Andrea’s favorite food in the world.

Ramen!

And kisses for the birthday girl. <3

It was one long, amazing day. But we wouldn’t have had it any other way. And what an adventure to start out her teen years. All in all, the entire trip was so amazing and life changing. Being a part of a different culture and traveling so far from the comfort zones of home really expanded all of our horizons. In a lot of ways, I envy the opportunities that my daughter has had in her short life. Her world view is so much broader than anything I could have imagined during my youth. Being able to see what life is like for other people in other countries really puts so much of your own life into perspective and makes you realize that your little world can be limiting if you don’t test those boundaries.

What is the most memorable day you have ever had? Have you ever had the chance to experience another culture or part of the world that was different from your own day to day? How did it change you, and how did it change your perception of your own spirituality? When we see how big the world can be, it’s hard to imagine how we can limit a god to one that feels so small.

“There’s got to be a morning after”

“The Morning After
Maureen McGovern
The Poseidon Adventure Soundtrack

Day 8: Some place you have been, Part 5

The day after the earthquake, we were somewhat uneasy and unsure of what to do. Jason had to go to the theatre to assess the damage to the set, and although it seemed like it would be safer to just stay in our hotel room and wait for him, we didn’t for two reasons. First, despite the rumblings and grumblings of the earth’s core, we were a million miles away from home in a foreign country. The chances that we would ever have the opportunity again to travel to this magnitude was relatively slim, and I didn’t want to miss out because of fear. Secondly, and truthfully more compelling, sitting in the hotel room during aftershocks was somewhat unnerving.

Given the state of their tectonic plates, Japanese engineers are freaking geniuses. They have figured out a way to make buildings float and move so that they can have these enormous skyscrapers without major risk of a building coming down during a massive earthquake. The buildings, essentially, are built to move and sway. That’s what helps them keep their structural integrity. I totally get that. That being said, being on the 23rd floor of a building and feeling the entire thing rock when the aftershocks come is still kinda scary. We had to keep repeating the mantra: “It’s supposed to do that. We are safe because it’s supposed to do that.” Despite that knowledge, the chance to be out of the hotel room while the earth was still moving was a blessing.

We decided to stay close to home. The trains and subways were still down in the morning, so really unless it was within walking distance, we weren’t going anywhere anyway. We hoofed it over to the International Forum and then Andrea and I went for a walk to the Imperial Palace while we waited.

On the way to the palace, we passed by a hotel where a bride and groom were getting their pictures taken prior to their big ceremony. For some reason, it comforted me. It was, to me anyway, a sign that despite all the trauma and tragedy, life continued to go on.

Despite everything, hope springs eternal and love carries on.

Posing in front of the gates

Visiting the Imperial Palace is pretty much like visiting the White House. What you do get to see, you get to see from a fence with armed guards watching you. It was still pretty, and the architecture was amazing, but it was kind anti-climactic. After wandering there for a while we ventured over a couple of blocks and found this incredible park with fountains. We spent a great deal of time there, just letting the calm of the water and the peace and quiet of the morning soothe some of our frazzled nerves. Although it was late morning on a Saturday, many folks were still staying home. There was very little traffic, and the park didn’t have very many visitors either.

The fountains at the park

We weren’t there for very long. After about an hour, Jason called to let us know that the remainder of the run of the show was cancelled. Although there was only minimal damage to the set itself, the building had sustained some damage that made it unsafe for both performers and audience members. It would be challenging enough to just load the set back out. Rather than risk injury to anyone, they called the whole thing off. So now Jason had more time to spend with us. So first on the agenda? Going with his crew to try some sushi!

Brave souls ready for a new experience.

I’ll be honest, I’ve never been a big fan of sushi. It’s not the fish that gets me so much as the seaweed. Meh. This was really good, though. Andrea gave it a try, which was pretty impressive. She’s always had some major sensory issues that limited her palate, but in the past year or so she’s been open to trying new things. Granted, she didn’t like it. But the fact that she even took a taste was amazing.

After we finished sushi, and since Jason had the rest of the day off, we decided to take in some sights. Within walking distance from the sushi place was Tokyo’s version of the Walk of Fame. It had stars featuring Japanese cinema’s biggest names. And what would a walk of fame be without Japan’s biggest movie star: Godzilla!

I thought he'd be bigger...

Since the subways were now running on a limited basis, we decided to head up to Akihabara, which was one of our intended destinations the day before. Akihabara is known as otaku central, with lots of electronics, maid cafes, the Anime center, and cosplay and manga stores. When we got off the subway stop, we wandered a bit and stumbled upon an amazing little shrine.

Remember that picture from Epcot? This was way cooler.

It was very quiet and reverent. The only other people there were a couple of photographers. And some cats. Andrea was enamored with the cats, who appeared to like her as well.

Andrea getting some love from the nekos.

After we returned, I tried to find information about what it was a shrine for and any history behind it. It took some doing, but I found out that it is the Yanagimori Jinja Shrine and is associated with wealth and luck. What amused me was that the numerous animal sculptures around the shrine are what are known as tanuki and are recognized by their enormous scrotums.

Yup. Those are his balls. His ginormous, wealth and luck bringing balls.

Akihabara is where I worked to fulfill one of my missions. One of my favorite bloggers is Jen, the Cake Wrecks lady. Very shortly before our departure, she discussed in her personal blog her love for capsule machines. She was trying to collect a very specific set of Disney characters and bemoaned the fact that we don’t have them here. I sent her an email offering to bring some back from Tokyo, and she accepted. And the race was on. Little did I know how great the sheer number of machines would be.

This was just one of many banks of these machines. Whee!

While I didn’t find the exact line she was looking for, I did grab her some cool toys and received a shout out from her on her blog. And she sent a personalized thank you note, which was sweet and cool and unexpected. And in some ways kind of ironic, because the reason I wanted to pick stuff up for her in the first place was as a thank you to her for all the joy and laughs she’s given me by writing her blog.

One of the cooler things we noticed while we were in Tokyo was the lack of security for personal items. While I’m sure there is crime just as anywhere else, there were some things that made it feel like the safest place in the world. Here in our little corner of suburbia, I wouldn’t consider leaving my bike anywhere without locking it up. In Akihabara, we saw rows and rows of bikes in racks without a single lock to be found.

This person not only left their bike unlocked, they left their dog in the basket.

By the end of the day, we were exhausted from all of the emotions the past 24 hours had brought on. But we were happy for the distractions, glad to be able to still explore and enjoy and expand our horizons. And thankful for the reminder that, however bad things may seem, there’s always another tomorrow to bring us a new day.

Think of a time when you were overwhelmed by circumstances beyond your control. What reminded you that life would move forward, despite tragedies and setbacks? How can you tap into that power and memory in your daily round  and when life seems too difficult to handle?

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