The mourning of a fallen i-pod
So perhaps it wasn't exactly a religious experience per se, but the loss and subsequent mourning of my i-pod (killed in a tragic water bottle leaking in my backpack incident I'd rather not discuss)did force me to take a step back and think about the bigger picture. Having spent the past 10 days traipsing about central Japan exploring countless awe-inspiring (and admittedly a few less than inspiring)thousands of years old temples, shrines, gardens, and castles, it is difficult not to have a little perspective.
Before the bigger picture came however, I first tearfully slid to the wet tatami floor of our overpriced hotel room and woefully claimed to have lost the soundtrack of my life (everyone has a melodramatic moment or two). I couldn't imagine how I'd get through the endless monotonous train journeys and nauseated bus rides that lay ahead without those 1000 songs that tiny wonder contained. How could I appreciate the passing landscape without the soothing sounds of Clark Terry or the familiar words of Van Morrison taking me into the mystic? It seemed hopeless.
Having travelled long and far to see the white sands of Shirahama and without much daylight left however, there was little time to pout. We grabbed our suits and headed to the beach to wade in the warm waters of the bay and watch the sun set over the pacific from the other side of the world. While sitting on the rocks watching the waves crash below, I tried to think about our trip -- and how ridiculous it was that I could get so upset about the loss of my i-pod. Being in a largely Buddhist nation, it seemed only apropos to associate the premature loss of my beloved i-pod with some larger sign from the heavens. That Eastern Religions class I took was quite a few years ago, but if I remember correctly, one of the main stages in the Buddhist enlightenment process is breaking human attachment to material objects. I thought about how ungrateful I had been (just days before lamenting that my newest playlists had not uploaded correctly before departure rendering my music selection unsatisfactory) and how little this would mean in the grand scheme of my trip. I have been given (or have taken, I suppose) this incredible opportunity to do exactly what I've always wanted to do - to travel the world with my best friend, taking in the culture, the landscape, and the experiences at our leisure. It seemed suddenly incredibly insulting to my beautiful surroundings to spend even a moment of my energy thinking about a silly electronic gadget. Who needs Sinatra when you've got so many new sounds, sights, and incredibly bad smells to absorb?
And besides, as Lauren so optimistically pointed out, I've not lost the soundtrack to my life -- I've gained the soundtrack to hers. One ear phone attached to each of us, we spent today soaked to the bone watching the rainy countryside pass as we made our way back to Osaka for a rest before the next step.