My name is Timothy Bunting AKA the Kiwi Yamabushi. I moved to the Shonai region of Yamagata, Japan, from New Zealand in 2010, and became an official Yamabushi by completing the Akinomine Autumn Peak Ritual through Dewa Sanzan Shrine in 2017.
By pure chance, the opportunity to become a Yamabushi came to me less than a week after the death of my father. That alone was a huge turning point in my life, but becoming a Yamabushi turned out to be profoundly more influential. Besides my father, I have a terminally ill mother, and have had my fair share of life thrown at me as those closest to me would be able to attest to.
However, by going out into the Dewa Sanzan mountains and undertaking Yamabushi training under the direct guidance of Master Hoshino, I have garnered a new appreciation for life, an appreciation that has become my Ikigai, which I define as the desire to live well. My Yamabushi name is Ryosen 諒宣, which means ‘spreader of the truth’. It is my desire to spread the culture and philosophy of the Yamabushi with the rest of the world so others can benefit from what has been a truly life-altering experience for me.
Professionally, after gaining N1, the highest qualifications on the Japanese Language Proficiency Test in 2012, and then a Master of Arts in Applied Linguistics in 2014, I began working as a freelance Japanese to English translator and interpreter, and started a job as an Assistant Professor at Tohoku University of Community Service and Science in 2015.
Since 2016, I have been a core member of the Yamabushido project aimed at providing Master Hoshino’s Yamabushi training in English. This has involved all manner of tasks such as assisting in Yamabushi training, building the website, running the SNS accounts, managing customers, and in the process also becoming Master Hoshino’s de facto English interpreter.
As part of my work with Yamabushido, I am also a core member of the Dewa Sanzan Monzenmachi Project. My main role is reaching English speakers and this involves building the website dewasanzan.com from scratch, including all the web design, writing all the blog articles, taking all the photos, and managing multiple SNS accounts (@thedewasanzan on Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube). As such, in all likelihood I am the authority native English speaker on the Dewa Sanzan.
Personally, I have been publishing a blog daily on my website Timbunting.com since January 2019, and nearly have 1,000 posts up. I am on a mission to summit all 100 Famous Mountains of Yamagata Prefecture that I am posting on my blog and YouTube. With more than 6500 followers I have achieved some success with Instagram, and am also active on Facebook, Twitter, TikTok, and more recently Clubhouse (all @KiwiYamabushi).
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Hi, I’m Tim Bunting AKA the Kiwi Yamabushi, a New Zealander who became a Yamabushi Ascetic in the Dewa Sanzan mountains of north Japan. I’m part of the Yamabushido team, and we host life-altering Yamabushi training on the Dewa Sanzan (website link). People come to us for the ultimate mindfulness experience, to reach the next level, or simply connect with nature and themselves.
I’m on a mission to summit all 100 Famous Mountains of Yamagata Prefecture to spread the splendour of this fabulous location, and in dedication to all those who lost their lives out in nature, including my father.
On my daily blog I post thoughts of a practicing Yamabushi that I hope people can use to better themselves and live as fulfilling a life as possible.
Sign up to the weekly Mountains of Wisdom newsletter, follow me on social (Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, TikTok, Clubhouse, all @kiwiyamabushi), or send me an email via the link below to stay in touch.
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