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Book Judging

You step into the door of your local cafe and the whiff of freshly brewed coffee hits you as you hold up one finger to indicate you’re there for a cup of the brown stuff on your lonesome. The stern eyes of the grumpy old man look at you on an otherwise expressionless face, and he points you to your table. Glancing over the menu, you choose your regular, a cup of Ethiopian, and get back to your busy work.

A few minutes pass by and the grumpy old man slams the cup down on your table in an abrupt movement like striking a hammer or taking an axe to a tree. Perplexed by the server’s obvious lack of grace, you forget about it as you sit back in your chair, and take the cup to your lips. What happens next could only be described as pure bliss. Heaven sent a choir of angels to your table, a blinding ray of light comes from above, and the taste emanating from the 100 grams of porcelain in your hand sends you into a euphoric state like no other. This man has single-handedly taken you to heaven, all in the form of a modest cup of coffee.

And yet, his service was deplorable. No emotion, no visible smile, not even a sound leaving his mouth.

The proof is in the pudding. The old man knows his shit. You’re going somewhere for a cup of coffee, and that’s what you’re getting.

Therein lies the problem. In this modern world, we are too worried about how we get treated as customers, to the point that we even go out of our way to try to ruin businesses that treated us like we didn’t expect.

Anyone normal would be put off by the bad service, and yet this grumpy old man has survived for more than three decades with the same expressionless face and rough handling of his brew.

What does it mean to judge a book by its cover? Taking things at face value means you don’t get to understand their true nature. As humans we do this without thinking.

But prematurely judging a book by its cover can stop you from understanding the true nature of something, that can ruin an experience that would otherwise have been heaven-sent.

In other words, give people a chance. Never judge a book by its cover.

Tim Bunting Kiwi Yamabushi


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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Sakata City, Yamagata, Japan 


All photos my own. Contact for more. 

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