Yesterday we got a wonderful presentation by the same Japanese Jungian analyst and psychiatrist who did the presentation on Japanese psychotherapy. This one was on sandtray, a form of psychotherapy in which the client puts little figurines in a box of sand to create landscapes, scenes, representations of their feelings and psyche, etc. Unfortunately, that is all I can tell you about it, as the rest involved a case study and so is confidential. But I enjoyed it a lot, and look forward to studying sandtray in the future. All else aside, what a great way to justify and continue my hobby of collecting little figurines!

That same morning I woke up at 5:45 AM in order to go to Toji flea market, a once-monthly market hosted by Toji Temple. It's a great scene, and if you get there early, the pickings are amazing. I got several beautiful kimono jackets for myself and as gifts. In other areas, people were selling octopus balls, and in yet another, Buddhist priests were stoking a ceremonial fire. (Taka told us afterward that the priests stand so close to the pillar of flame that their faces are red and swollen for several days afterward.) We madly scooped up our finds and rushed back to the temple for morning meditation, arriving one minute late, just as Taka was sitting down. Oops. That session I kept having to drag my attention back to my breathing, and away from images of kimono jackets printed with pines and cherry blossoms, cityscapes and samurai.

We did another mad rush later in the day, as we went to a shrine called Fushimi Inari in between meditation and the sandtray presentation. Fushimi Inari is a huge, beautiful shrine complex to Inari, the God/Goddess of rice (and so success in business, as rice is wealth.) It's full of fox statues and fox imagery, Inari's messengers, holding rice balls or the key to the rice granary or a sheaf of rice in their mouths. Foxes are supposed to love fried tofu, so people leave bits as offerings. The shrine is full of orange torii gates, which separate the human realm from the sacred realm of the spirits. The torii make long tunnels through the lush forests of trees and bamboo, splashes of bright orange amidst the many shades of green. It's one of the most atmospheric places I've been to on this trip so far - you really get a sense of the idea of Shintoism, that there are spirits in everything. Paths twist and turn through mossy banks and rotting logs stuck about with fungus like clam shells, and pass ancient stone statues, half-covered in moss, with offerings laid out of coins, sake jars, and flickering candles. Before the shrines, you clap, ring a bell, toss in a coin, and pray. Standing before the mossy stones and bright torii, I felt that someone was listening.
kore: (Default)

From: [personal profile] kore

Hee, I remember sand-tray stuff. I was never that into it, but I knew people who really loved it.
gramina: Photo of a stalk of grass; Gramina references the graminae, the grasses (Default)

From: [personal profile] gramina

Re sand tray/figurines?

Having done that (with the supply of Stuff the therapist had available) I would recommend looking for figurines that feel good to touch -- not just the little plastic ones. Also having things that aren't specific is nice -- I used shells and bits of driftwood and rocks and pieces of waterworn glass and like that way more often than I used the little plastic people or animals. It was, though, nice also to have little ceramic animals and whatnot.

Moar Stuff, and Moar Stuff That Feels Good To Touch, and like that :) And yes, it would be a *wonderful* excuse for collecting all sorts of cool things :)

From: [identity profile]

Sounds so awesome!

If any of those jackets are LONG, I will take one! (My body type is all wrong for short jackets.)

From: [identity profile]

Haori are usually thigh-length, I think, though my sampling of them is limited.

From: [identity profile]

Kimono jacket photos are up!

I will be sorting out orders for a while, but you get first dibs. And can try them on to see if any of them actually fit. I think the pine tree one would, even if the rest are too short.

From: [identity profile]

Fushimi Inari is wonderful. Did you go all the way to the top?

I can just imagine your clients choosing their Naruto figurines carefully to represent aspects of their inner landscapes.

From: [identity profile]

No, I didn't have time. Some day!

I now want to set up a Naruto diorama representing MY inner feelings.

From: [identity profile]

Sand tray therapy is really helpful with PTSD too. Someone who is now one of my friends presented on it at the ISTSS ( She used it in the combat vets group for an ambush which one guy survived. I'm not giving all the details. The important moment was when he placed all the figures, she asked him what would it have taken for the ambush to have been stopped. When he added jets and tanks and stuff, he realized it was not his fault that he couldn't stop it.
He saw it for himself. Much more healing than someone pointing it out. It is one of the things all VA's should use but don't since they are all little feifdoms and they do what they want.
I would love to go to the fox place. I have a Japanese print of a fox with a (cabbage?) big curly leaf on his head. It was in my bedroom when I was a kid.
Edited Date: 2012-03-22 02:38 pm (UTC)

From: [identity profile]

Thank you! That was very interesting.

By the way, I read your book right before I left for Japan. Thank you very much! It was really helpful - definitely something I'd recommend.

From: [identity profile]

We went to the Inari shrine. Amazing place
larryhammer: a low-fidelity picture of a man, label: "some guy" (Default)

From: [personal profile] larryhammer

Have you read/seen the chapter/episode of Aria about visiting an Inari shrine*? If not, I can link to a *cough*.

* On Mars!


From: [identity profile]

Your descriptions of the temples and of the atmosphere!!! So wonderful, I felt like I was visiting with you!Thanks! ♥

From: [identity profile]

That sounds utterly amazing. I think one of the therapists I met recently did sandtray (EDIT: or something like it); he had an amazing bookcase full of different toys, figures, etc. It was just extraordinary, I wanted to go over and start telling all my secrets.
Edited Date: 2012-03-25 03:43 pm (UTC)

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