Writer: Melissa

Melissa moved from rural America to rural Japan; "from corn to rice" in 2011 to begin her journey in a country that fascinated her since childhood. During the work day she is a mild-mannered English teacher, but when night falls...she catches up on lesson plans and Japanese studies.

The weekend, however are a whole different story.

Having studied religion and psychology in the United States, she is fascinated not only by the significant differences in culture that arise from two very different histories and places in the world, but also the small nuances that reflect on the unspoken and largely unnoted spiritual and philosophical practices alive and well today.

Practically living on the road less traveled, Melissa is always looking for the next adventure in ancient temples and forgotten paths.

Shinto in the Bath

Japan is well known for its onsens, its hot springs and the bathing culture that surrounds it. The bathing culture doesn’t just stay in the spa-like atmosphere of the onsen, but follows its patrons home to their own washrooms.

Shinto in the Doorway

Shinto has grown alongside Japan as a country and due to the nature of an island nation, it had little chance to spread and be influenced by other cultures. As a result, the line between Japanese cultural practice and Shinto religious practice began to blur and thin and in some cases disappear altogether until it was impossible to have one without the other.

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