Ayanna Kosoko Reflection

Ayanna, right, at Osaka Castle Credit: Cheng
Ayanna, right, at Osaka Castle
Credit: Cheng

The proliferation of feeling life through art and experience

Pain changes people. I am a witness and my life is my testimony. I have lost three people who were very close to me over the past year and I have been trying to find a means to keep going. I looked forward to this trip for guidance and potential spiritual enlightenment. Our 1st day in Japan, we went to a shrine; there we saw large statues of foxes and big orange gates. The foxes sat before every gate like guard dogs welcoming in every visitor who dared to pass them. I asked our tour guide what it all meant and he kindly told me that the foxes where the messengers and the gates orange color was to ward off bad spirits and the shape is supposed to symbolize the door to heaven. I stared at the gates in the heavy rain and thought. Heavy rain wash away my sins and pain and let me run through these gates to find some type of heaven in this world.

I definitely loved all the Japanese art and architecture. Japanese architecture and art is very intentional. Every stroke, every brick has a meaning or is just an appendage to a bigger, symbolic body. On one of our daily trips we went to an art gallery and I enjoyed every minute of it. The paintings were dark and somewhat disturbing depicting various illustrations of images of the day the atomic bomb was dropped. What stood out to me the most, was that the farther you went into the gallery the paintings not only focused on the atomic bomb but also other horrific scenes during the war. One artwork, in particular, focused on how the Japanese went to China and massacred more people than were killed by the atomic bomb. I found it very interesting that a Japanese art gallery would point out such a dark part of Japanese history, but it was all-apart of their reasons for needing peace.

As peace is constantly reinforced through our journey through Japan I contemplate about the meaning. Peace is a person’s need to feel that life should and could be better in our short time here. As I previously stated pain changes people. The atomic bomb brought the people of Japan so much pain that their only means of going on in life is through peace. And as I sit here on this bullet train looking out the window at the lushes trees and high mountains, I think about life and how we spend so much time speeding through it, that we don’t take the time to appreciate the beauty of it all. Maybe from that, in time, we can find peace.

Ayanna engaged in cultural exchange at Kiyomizudera
Ayanna as cultural ambassador at Kiyomizudera in Kyoto

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