In May 2011, when I first wanted to visit the International Zen-Dojo, no one answered my mails. I concluded they possibly must all be too busy helping after the earthquake and tsunami, maybe all monks and residents gone to the north-east to provide their support. I even felt a bit guilty and selfish to plan a week or two doing Zazen, while in the Tohoku-region the dead are not yet buried. And in the end it was o.k., I went to Tokyo and Sendai, passing by Fukushima with it’s at this time still very unstable reactors, and visited friends and colleagues, instead of sitting on a pillow in the lovely safe countryside outside Kyoto.
Today the Roshi told me that everyone at Tekishinjuku quickly left Japan just days after the disaster happened, and the Dojo was deserted almost until last November, when K-san moved in to spend there the winter all alone. My apology that „we are always afraid“ seemed to have amused the Roshi a lot. I was not ironic when I said that, though I heard the Roshi still laughing when we left through the temple gate.
Probably I was the first person since March 2011 living in the Dojo’s guesthouse, and my task was also cleaning the room I staid, and the whole house and garden. So eventually I found one way, to hands-on help recovering from the after-effects of the disaster: preparing the Zendo for new international visitors to come.