Title Page, Copyright

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pp. 1-6

Contents

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pp. vii-viii

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Acknowledgments

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pp. ix-x

I want to thank the editors, past and present, at the Ottawa Citizen—in particular, Gerry Nott, Neil Reynolds, Scott Anderson, Lynn McAuley, Christina Spencer, Derek Shelly, Rob Warner, Julius Majerczyk, Kurt Johnson, Sue Allen, Peter Robb, and Mike Gillespie—who, in their various capacities, contributed to this work, ...

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1. Bells

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pp. 1-25

I stumbled up the bell tower steps, grasped the rope, and hauled the long wooden pole back as far as possible in its cradle. Then I swung the rope forward and slammed the pole against the bronze bell. A loud bong echoed through the courtyard of Shōsanji temple and across the mountain valley. ...

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2. Companions

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pp. 26-47

I was in the foyer of the Shōsanji temple lodge by six the next morning, trying to jam my feet into a pair of outdoor slippers for a pre-breakfast stroll to the coffee machine, when I saw Jun and his father approaching. ...

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3. Blessings

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pp. 48-70

I was parked on a bench beneath the sakura, or cherry trees, at Yakuōji temple, admiring my ugly new shoes, when a man carrying a little girl in his arms approached. He said something in Japanese that I didn’t catch, but with a camera in hand, the child in the crook of his arm, and the cherry trees in bloom, it wasn’t hard to figure out what he wanted. ...

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4. Spirits

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pp. 71-95

I’d been lying on Katsurahama Beach, absorbed in the grating wash of the Pacific Ocean along the gravel shoreline, when Shūji crouched beside me. He held out his arms and opened his hands to reveal a stone in each palm. ...

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5. Dreams

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pp. 96-116

I draped the wet cloth on my head, closed my eyes, and lay back to let the Kami no Yu, the Water of the God, soothe me. Hot water lapped across my chest as I rested the back of my head against the rim of the pool. My sigh of pleasure must have been audible to the half-dozen other bathers in the Dōgo Onsen. ...

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6. Enchantments

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pp. 117-142

Tanaka-san taught me how to pray properly as we stood between the pillars at the entrance to Emmyōji, Temple Fifty-Three. Inside the temple, facing out toward us, was the gilded and cloth-draped statue of Amida Nyorai, the temple’s honzon, or deity. ...

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7. Blossoms

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pp. 143-168

I wandered among Buddhas. There were hundreds of them: life-size figures lining the maze of paths around Unpenji, clustering in groups in the corners of the courtyard, lurking half-hidden in the forest, standing in phalanxes near the pagodas and prayer shrines, and peering out from a copse of mist-shrouded cedar trees. ...

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Epilogue

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pp. 169-172

It had rained in the night, and I stepped carefully as the winding path descended through a copse of dripping cedars. Rounding a curve in the trail, I spotted the red bench half-hidden in a cavern of sumac on the edge of a cliff overlooking the Strait of Juan de Fuca. ...

Notes

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pp. 173-182

Bibliography

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pp. 183-186

Index

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pp. 187-192