Miyajima – Sacred Island

The really, really fast Shinkansen brought me from Kyoto to Hiroshima at 300kph. Whoa!

Hiro=Wide. Shima=Island. Hiroshima=Wide Island. It’s actually not an island, but a group of islands created by the numerous rivers that come down from the mountain and run through the city. Once I arrived here, I went directly to the ferry station for the crossing to Miyajima Island. Miya=Holy and Jima=Shima=Island. Miyajima=Holy Island. Once again, the Shinto equivalence of holiness with beauty – and the place is indeed very, very beautiful.

Just offshore in the water is located Japan’s most famous vermilion Torii, built originally in the 17th century, and indicating the passage into a sacred location. The island is also teeming with deer that seem to live with us humans quite fine, thank you. They are really pesky and keep nudging for food and when they aren’t provided any, they start chewing on whatever is at hand – like my jacket sleeve.

As I meandered along, I came across a wedding party enjoying some elaborate Shinto dance ritual. I didn’t understand the Bugaku or its significance, but the intricate dance was quite wild, and the live music played by a group of Shinto priests accompanying the dancing priest, was charming. I doubt the Talmudic discussion between the schools of Hillel and Shammai, regarding how one is to dance before a bride, ever made its way here. But, oh boy, this was one big and blustery boogie! I then strolled around the shrines on this most beautiful island, did some shopping and made my way back to the ferry, across the sea and to the bus, from where I proceeded to my hotel.

A little about the hotels: the one where I stayed in Tokyo was lovely. The rooms were divided between the bedroom area and the living area. Very comfortable beds, MUCH better than those I slept in, in China. The hotel in Hakone was exceptional too – very ornate, beautiful gardens, full-service only, no buffet breakfast; very high end. And it had its own “onsen” (mineral hot spring bath – more about those another time). My single room in the hotel in Kyoto was as wide as my bed plus 100cm. I kid you not. I once stayed in Amersfoort, Netherlands in a place like that. Then it was a novelty. Now it was disappointing! But that was made up by my hotel here in Hiroshima which was very, very fancy.

Late that night I went for a walk through the deserted streets of Hiroshima. Passed a Pachinko Palace (more details on that phenomenon will come along with the onsen too) where the gamblers were busy with their hands feverishly working the pull-bar. I also passed a used car lot where the cutest little Mitsubishi city cars were on sale. At 11:15 p.m. I called the front desk and requested a massage. So this 60-year-oldish woman comes to my room holding what appeared to be a bag of tools. She looked like Rosa Klebb. Remember her? She was James Bond’s sworn enemy in “From Russia with Love,” the one with the poisoned spike in her shoe. My masseuse spoke no English, but with lots of “Hai!”s, we managed to make ourselves understood. She strolled into the room, took of her shoes, hopped on the bed and proceeded to roll off the duvet, placed a special cushion on the bed, and told me in hand-language to put on the yukata (robe) that’s hanging in the closet.

Anyway, once she had me on the bed she proceeded to give me one of those good old deep penetrating Shiatsu massages. At the beginning it was seriously painful, but as she continued and I relaxed, it got better. She left, and for the first time since arriving here, I had a good, solid, uninterrupted 5 hours of sleep. Fantastic!

Numerology Made Simple

The practice of numerology has its roots in a few places; Chaldean numerology was developed by the Hebrews in Egypt and Babylon and there are indications that numerology was used thousands of years ago in China, Rome, Japan and Greece.

Fast forward to early 1900 when Mrs. L. Dow Balliett, a revered student of the Bible, Pythagoras, Plato and other notable philosophers, introduced her own system of numbers. Largely credited with bringing the study of numerology to the Western world, Mrs. Balliett focused her efforts on allowing people to see themselves as divine beings. Her efforts, coupled with those of Dr. Julia Seton, who is actually credited with coining the term “numerology”, brought this system into the cultural mainstream.

What numbers are calculated:

The Life Path Number is considered by many to be the most important number in the numerology chart. It identifies the natural talents and abilities we are born with and shows us what we are capable of achieving.

The Destiny Number is the sum of all the letters in an individual’s birth name and tells us what we are meant to become and what we are supposed to accomplish in our life.

The Soul Number is used to help get in touch with your intuition. It represents your inner feelings, dreams, motivations and different aspects of one’s spiritual strengths and sensitivities. It is calculated by totaling the values of the numbers representing the vowels in your birth name.

The Personality Number, which is calculated by totaling the values of the numbers representing the consonants in your birth name, shows us how we are seen by others. This number allows us to gain valuable insight on which aspects of our personality may need to be “tweaked” in order to make more favorable first impressions.

The Maturity Number shows us the extent to which we expect to enjoy our “golden years” in a meaningful, satisfying and happy manner. It is calculated by adding our Life Path and Destiny Numbers.

Calculating your Life Path Number add the numbers in your birthdate: Ex: October 12, 1975 = 1+0+1+2+1+9+7+5 = 26 = 2+6 = 8

Meaning of the Life Path Number

So, you’ve calculated your Life Path Number and are ready to know what it means. Here is a brief explanation for each:

One (1) – Those with a Life Path Number of 1 tend to be independent, self-starters who strive to be the best at whatever they choose to do. Competitive by nature, people with this Life Path Number set high standards for themselves and can be quite critical of those they feel are not meeting expectations. A person with a Life Path Number of 1 should look for a career that will allow them to use these talents to their fullest; entrepreneurship or a career in government are both common career choices.

Two (2) – Those with a Life Path Number of 2 are generally characterized as being peacemakers because they shy away from conflict and confrontation and instead seek harmony in their environment. They also tend to be easygoing, affectionate, patient, compassionate and get along well with all types of people. While these are all terrific attributes, it is important for these individuals to remember that their easygoing nature can cause others to take advantage of them. People with a Life Path Number of 2 should seek a career that allows them to negotiate, attend to details, and serve in a supporting role.

Three (3) – Those with a Life Path Number of 3 are creative, romantic and love to be in the spotlight. Optimistic by nature, a “3” can have a great sense of humor and thrive in pursuits which allow them to use their creativity. As a result, people with a Life Path Number of 3 do best in professions which involve writing, public speaking, acting, designing, illustrating or singing.

Four (4) – Those with a Life Path Number of 4 are usually seen as steady and reliable. They are characteristically honest, have a great respect for authority and tend to “follow the rules”. As a result, others look to 4s to be the list keepers, organizers and make sure that all details of any project or initiative are addressed. Common career choices include anything in construction management, accounting or bookkeeping.

Five (5) – Those with a Life Path Number of 5 can find themselves easily bored with their everyday routine and so they frequently seek change. Not surprisingly, they also thrive in environments that allow for freedom, fun, adventure and travel. Often described as the “life of the party”, it is important for 5s to always be busy and involved in exciting pursuits, otherwise they risk the chance of turning to drugs, alcohol, gambling or other vices for stimulation. Common career choices include professions in advertising, publicity, communications, new ventures and sales.

Six (6) – Those with a Life Path Number of 6 are often noted for their nurturing spirit. They continually seek to find a good balance between giving and receiving. Because of their magnetic personality, others often look to 6s for advice and counsel. Common career choices include positions in the service industry, medicine, and anything to do with decorating, remodeling and personal makeovers.

Seven (7) – Those with a Life Path Number of 7 tend to be dissatisfied with taking anything at face value and feel compelled to observe, analyze and study virtually everything they encounter. Because of their studious nature, they can be seen as loners and even mysterious by others. Common career choices include teaching, computer programming, and any profession that requires a great deal of analysis, deductive reasoning and technical ability.

Eight (8) – Those with a Life Path Number of 8 greatly value money, power and success. And, as you would imagine, they tend to like life’s finer things. However, because of their attraction to material wealth, 8s have a tendency to be workaholics and often put their work pursuits ahead of their personal interests. Common career choices include senior level management, financial advisor, real estate broker or any position of authority.

Nine (9) – Those with a Life Path Number of 9 are considered natural leaders and are perceived to be the person in charge even when they are not. Part of this is due to the 9’s humanitarian interests and need to understand the relationship between all things and people. A person with this Life Path number strongly desires to treat others in the manner he would like to be treated. Common career choices include international business, the arts, education and health.

20 Things You Never Knew About Rugby

  • Rugby and football were essentially the same game until 1863. The split occurred when attempts were made to formalise the rules of football, whereupon the Blackheath club quit the new Football Association, wishing to protect players’ right to kick one another on the shins.
  • Initially, the game of rugby was played by teams comprising 20 players.
  • Rugby is the oldest international team sport, with the first rugby test predating both the first cricket and football tests.
  • The International Rugby Board was created as the result of a disputed try, in a match between England and Scotland.
  • The 1895 split between rugby league and rugby union occurred along both class and geographic lines. Clubs in the working class North embraced a professional game, while the wealthier clubs in the South adhered to the ethic of amateur rugby.
  • The United States is the reigning Olympic rugby gold medallist, having won the last rugby event played at the Olympics, in 1924.
  • Japan boasts the largest playing pool of any rugby-playing nation, with 125,000 registered players.
  • Pope John Paul II played rugby for the Polish national team.
  • The first Gilbert rugby ball was manufactured in the late 1700s by William Gilbert, a cobbler whose business was positioned next to the Rugby school at which the modern game was first played.
  • The shape of the modern rugby ball is derived from the use of inflated pigs bladders, which were used during the early years of the game.
  • During the early days of the game only a single point was awarded for a try. A drop goal, however, earned 3 points.
  • The first test between Western Samoa and Fiji was played at 7am in the morning, on a pitch with a large tree growing in its centre.
  • The South African rugby team didn’t lose a single test series between 1896 and 1956.
  • World War One had a significant impact on the game of rugby. 133 international players were killed in battles, which resulted in the development of the sport being set back by decades, and also gave football the opportunity to become the most popular game in the United Kingdom.
  • If Germany had not occupied France during World War Two, rugby league would have been the dominant convention in that country. During the Nazi occupation all the assets of the massive French Rugby League were handed over to the French Rugby Union, and for decades after the war rugby league clubs were not permitted to describe their game as ‘rugby’.
  • The grave of William Webb Ellis, the man credited with inventing rugby, was only located in 1959.
  • Stellenbosch Rugby Club in South Africa is the largest rugby club in the world with over 7,000 registered players.
  • Rugby Union is an extremely popular spectator sport in Georgia and Madagascar.
  • Since turning professional, the popularity of rugby has soared around the globe, with the 2007 Rugby World Cup attracting a cumulative audience of 4 billion. The sport is currently considered the second most popular on the planet, the first being football.
  • Rugby union is gaining in popularity more rapidly than any other sport in the United States, and the country already boasts a player pool larger than any of the Celtic teams participating in the Six Nations Championship.

Well, there you have it – 20 things you didn’t perhaps now about rugby!

Explore Old West Colorado

Before the volcanic blast that formed these famous mountains, the area was tropical. Dinosaurs roamed the area. Palms and ferns were the flora of the time.

Early cavemen ventured into the U.S. from the land bridge across the Bering Strait connecting present day Russia to Alaska. These people populated the western region of the U.S. and evolved into our Native American founders.

Fast forward thousands of years. Spanish explorers visited the territory in search of gold and other riches.

Next came the French. They were expanding their hold in undiscovered U.S. west of the Mississippi. Then American explorers traveled west to map out their new acquisition from the French, the Louisiana Purchase.

Other Americans moved west from colonial U.S. to find their adventures. Mountain men who ventured into the Colorado territory decided to live in this rugged land. French fur trappers came to the territory for the beaver pelts that were so sought after for hats, coats and furs for rich folks.

A man named Zebulon Pike explored central Colorado and discovered the famous mountain that bears his name. Mr. Pike opened up the Colorado Territory to further exploration. Many were searching for riches just like the Spanish a few hundred years before.

And they found it. The gold rush was on in Colorado. Thousands raced from the east to make their fortune with the slogan “Pikes Peak or Bust” on their lips or painted on their wagons. Towns that you now know today, such as Denver, Aspen, Leadville, were once tent cities set up around gold strikes.

With the fledgling towns established, lawlessness, gambling, houses of ill repute and outlaws invaded the gold rush scene. Many old west legends made Colorado a stopping point on their travels to other parts of the established west.

When the gold finally was mined out, gold miners either left the area to head back east or stayed on the plains of Colorado to farm the land. Some hearty souls joined wagon trains heading west, because our new country was suddenly getting larger and more people were expanding into the territory.

With the influx of these new residents, the original owners of the land, the Native Americans, were being pushed off of their property.

The Indians retaliated against this encroachment and bloody battles between them and the U.S. government occurred.

By the turn of the century, 1899, Colorado was fairly well settled and established as a state. So you can see, in such as short span of time, Colorado was a part of the wild west legend in a very big way.

When you come to visit, think about where you are walking, or the mountains you are taking pictures of.

Hundreds of years ago, the first explorers were looking at exactly the same thing, walking in the same area. Definitely gives you a sense of perspective.