山伏

キウイ

The best advice from the unlikeliest source

The advice I probably most agree with in life came from what could probably be the most unlikeliest of sources. When I was working as an Assistant Language Teacher just south of here, I made a pretty good friend in the junior high school’s 60-something chain-smoking farmer groundskeeper Mr. Otaki.

On sultry summer days, I would be sitting at my (air-conditioned) desk, and Mr. Otaki, with his deep smokers’ voice and carefree gait, would slowly walk up to me and whisper for me to follow him.

When I got to his office, a small 6-mat tatami room, the reason he wanted me to come was pretty obvious. Sitting there on the middle of the table was one massive watermelon. He just wanted me to have some of the watermelon he had grown, out of sight of the other teachers and the students of course. We sat there like innocent schoolgirls gobbling up what at the time felt like contraband, but was actually pretty innocent.

I’m pretty sure from the one bus tour in Osaka in the 80s Mr. Otaki proudly showed me a photo album of that he had never been overseas. He had spent his 60-odd years almost exclusively in and around the Shonai region of Yamagata, besides annual trips to Tokyo for the Sumo of course.

This man who ironically had hardly any experience outside this small area of Japan told me, ‘nandemo keiken’, ‘it’s the experience that counts’. These two words have stuck with me ever since, and I think it’s because they are quite powerful indeed.

Yamabushi training is all about the experience. The reason why (I think at least) we describe the Dewa Sanzan as a journey for rebirth is because that’s the closest proximation to actually having done the training. It’s the experience that counts.

Just thinking about doing something but not actually doing anything about it, that won’t get you very far. Until you’ve actually taken that first step, put in the hard yards, and experienced something for what it is, you truly don’t know much at all. That a secret-watermelon-loving retiree said that to me only made it that much more powerful as well, and I wish to share it with you too.

Tim Bunting Kiwi Yamabushi

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.


Tim.

MOUNTAINS OF WISDOM

Subscribe to my weekly yamabushi newsletter

RECENT BLOG POSTS

accomplishment action adult adventure
Opinions and action
man sitting on edge facing sunset
The Power of Nature
young athletes preparing for running in training hall
Do it differently, do it well

YAMABUSHI BLOG POSTS

The mountains will always be there
Kiwi Yamabushi on Mt. Kinbo, one of the 100 mountains of Yamagata
Following the Ancient Paths of the Yamabushi on Mt. Kinbo
Tim Bunting Kiwi Yamabushi at Yamadera in Yamagata Prefecture
Scars: An eye for an eye

RANDOM POSTS

Simple Ignorance, Petty Jealousy
Get with the times
The Autumn Leaves of Mount Taizo
Thoughts on climbing the first 15 100 Famous Mountains of Yamagata

CONTACT ME

Get In Touch

Sakata City, Yamagata, Japan 

timb008@gmail.com

All photos my own. Contact for more. 

Subscribe to the Mountains of Wisdom Mailer

* indicates required

Share this:

Like this:

Like Loading...
Scroll to Top
%d bloggers like this: