Ryozen Kannon: A Monument for the Unknown Soldiers of the Pacific War

The Ryozen Kannon memorial stands in Kyoto’s Higashiyama district, near a cluster of well-known temples (including Kiyomizu-dera and Kodai-ji).  In return for a small entry fee (about $3), visitors can enter the memorial and place a stick of incense in the burner on behalf of the unknown soldiers. If you visit Higashiyama, be sure to include a stop at the Ryozen Kannon (and, for those who collect goshuin, remember to have your book stamped inside the hall).

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Breakfast at a Japanese Buddhist Temple

Many Buddhist temples in Japan offer overnight lodging and meals for visitors. In most cases, these meals follow the standards of shōjin ryōri (literally “devotional cuisine”), a vegetarian style of cooking that involves no meat — and in some cases, no “vegetables that excite the senses” like spicy peppers and garlic. Some people think that meals without meat or heavy spice sound “boring” – but shōjin ryōri is one of my favorite styles of eating in Japan, and every temple meal I’ve eaten ranks among the most delicious food I’ve sampled in Japan. Here’s what travelers can expect from a typical shōjin ryōri breakfast in Japan: –

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Option Clauses in Publishing Deals

Most publishing contracts include an “option clause” giving the publisher rights of first refusal to consider the author’s next work(s) of fiction. However, many option clauses overreach or attempt to bind the author inappropriately. Look for these important features in any publishing option clause: 1.  The option should governs the author’s next book length work in the same series or next book-length work in the same genre only. By contrast, overreaching clauses may give the publisher an option on all future works the author writes – of any length, and in any genre. Don’t agree to open-ended option clauses. 2. Properly drafted options give the publisher a right to

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The Blue Dragon of Kiyomizu-dera

Visitors to Kiyomizu-dera (a Buddhist Temple in Kyoto, Japan) may notice a large dragon statue standing guard in front of the temple – specifically, at the base of the stairs leading up to the temple’s West Gate and Three-Story Pagoda.   The blue dragon, or seiryuu, is honored at Kiyomizu-dera; at special ceremonies in March, April, and September, special prayers are said and the dragon’s image is carried around the temple (in a parade and worship event known as Seiryuue). Although known as a goddess of compassion, Kannon is also considered a strong protector of the weak (especially children) and

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A Visit to Kiyomizu-dera (Kyoto, Japan)

Kiyomizu-dera (more formally, Otowa-san Kiyomizu-dera) is a Buddhist temple in eastern Kyoto. The temple lies in Higashiyama, on the slopes of Mount Otowa, and has a beautiful view of the former Japanese capital: Originally founded during the 8th century, Kiyomizu-dera derives its name from a famous waterfall on the temple grounds. (Kiyomizu means “pure water” in Japanese.) Visitors can ladle water from the falls while praying for blessings and purification. (The day I visited, the line was short–only about 35 minutes–but I decided to forego the blessing in favor of spending more time on the temple grounds.) Kiyomizu-dera was a popular pilgrimage site during the Heian period, and

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