Spiritual Awakening: TAKAMATSU

As I walk through the streets laced with trees draped in a mirage of yellow, orange and red leaves I look ahead on the stone footpath of the Shikoku pilgrimage route. It’s been a difficult year and I’m relieved to see the magnificent temple before me. I feel an overwhelming sense of calm as I shut my eyes with the incense sticks burning away, the noise slowly begins to fade away. The chaos in my head fades to a deafening silence and I’m left standing before the shrine stripped naked of the walls I’d built up.

It’s been four months since my nana passed away. I, we - weren’t quite ready for her to leave us just yet. Before embarking on this trip to Japan I still wasn’t quite able to make peace with her passing. I felt robbed. God had taken her away from me a little too soon and a little too unexpectedly. I needed her guidance for just a little longer. She had held my hand for so long and had protected me with her wisdom and wealth of knowledge on life that I suddenly felt so lost now that she had left my life so suddenly. I was drowning.

In that split moment during my prayer when I had closed my eyes– it was the first time I had asked if she was doing okay up in heaven. As the rain pelted down softly against the leaves of the trees which surrounded me I looked up at my surroundings and realised that it was going to be okay. She wasn’t going to come back but it was going to be alright. I was certain of it. I looked up at the grey skies and had never felt more alive and more connected to Shinto.

Image by: Vinh Pham

Image by: Vinh Pham

Image by: Vinh Pham

Image by: Vinh Pham

Image by: Vinh Pham

Image by: Vinh Pham

Image by: Graham Freeman

Image by: Graham Freeman

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Photography : Li-Chi Pan

JAPAN TOURISM