There’s nothing you can do until the conch is blown, so you might as well sleep

Tim Bunting AKA KiwiYamabushi playing the Horagai Conch on Mt. Kinbo during the winter. Photo by David Lips

During Yamabushi training we have no way of telling the exact time. We aren’t allowed watches, and of course no cellphones, so when it comes to waking up on time, that’s when the conch comes into play.

For some people, especially those used to following busy schedules, not knowing what the time is is its own form of hell. I’ve even heard people say not knowing the time was the hardest part of training for them, so much so that they nervously wait for the conch to wake them up, and they lose a whole lot of sleep over it.

It takes a bit of getting used to at first, but nervously waiting is a fool’s game. There’s nothing you can do until the conch is blown. If you trust in your ability to get ready quickly once the conch is blown, which everyone should be able to do, then you have nothing to worry about, and you might as well sleep.



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Sakata City, Yamagata, Japan

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