Opinion

Good Things About Japan... Just The Beginning!

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So here I am all excited to hear that the G.T.A. Japan videos are finally going up on YouTubeVR.  Though, I am so anxious to see what kind of response there might be to something that so many worked so hard on, I’m also given cause to reflect on just how this all came about.

Just in case the reader knows nothing about me, my goals in life have been primarily spiritual these last few decades.  It’s for that reason that I had so hoped to show the spiritual component to life in Japan and how it functions so mightily- albeit unconsciously, within Japanese people and throughout Japanese culture.  I had hoped for the one divinely unifying thread that the viewer might experience to run through most (if not all) of our five initial VR installments of Good Things About Japan to be emphasized and further clarified.  For it is nothing if not amazing how one country where so many people openly claim to have no “religion” in actuality is also the country where we find so many to demonstrate a near-religious devotion to so much that they do.  It was my deepest desire to express, to both those that may as yet be unfamiliar with Japan and to Japanese people themselves, how such devotion can and does bear the fruit of excellence and serenity in daily life… In ways that vary from the mundane to the miraculous.

Alas, the high mission of Good Things About Japan is more to showcase what the good things are than to pontificate as to why they are so good.  So what we have in these VR videos are real and living experiences wherein you may see and feel for yourself and then make your own determinations.  So much the better as it turns out!  But I am overjoyed to have been given the privilege of blogging to elaborate on my thoughts, feelings and perceptions before, during and after making these videos that have added so meaningfully to my own life. 

So then it will be here in this space that I can accentuate not only the good things but even the sacred things I have come across in this adventure that I continue to have in Japan.  Here, I can talk about how consistently I have encountered the kamidana (a kind of Japanese shrine) in those places where these “good things” appear to manifest.  Here, I can make more than a passing mention of the fact that participants regularly offer prayers of deferential respect in the traditional form of bowing and clapping (as was shown in the video about Jujitsu).  Here, I will be reporting on so much that is significant to me personally… Ranging from the merely meaningful to vitally valuable.

Of course, a country and culture as old as Japan is never without its throwbacks to what may be thought of in the West as “old religion”: That which is easily dismissed as childish superstition or mere custom at the very most.  Like many countries, Japan is rife with shrines, statues, charms and trinkets thought to ward off bad fortune and welcome the good.  I’ll not do much here to disabuse anyone of their belief in the utility or futility of such things and their associated beliefs and practices.  But in the second part of this blog, I would like to briefly outline how all of this came about from my perspective.  And, as with the videos, I’ll then be happy to leave you to make your own conclusions about it.

By Justin T. Reed

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