I’ve mentioned before how much I love Seiryoin Temple. Wherever you are in Japan, it always seems like there’s a temple no further than a stone’s throw away. But what makes Seiryoin special isn’t just its history, its deep connection to the local community, or the unique role it served as an emergency response center during the aftermath of the 2011 Tohoku tsunami. It’s a combination of all of those things, of course. But what really makes this temple worth a visit is the monks who live here. Abbot Miura and his two sons, Kendo and Shodo always welcome visitors from afar with open arms and hearts. And this family is the reason I keep coming back here.
A few weeks ago, we had the chance to welcome some exchange students who are currently studying at Tohoku University. They made the long drive up from Sendai to come visit us, so we started off the day with some Zen meditation in the main hall of the temple.
After the Zen session, we moved to the temple kitchen to prepare lunch! Shodo-san showed us how to make hatto (dumplings) for use in hatto-jiru. Hatto-jiru is a staple of home-cooked food in Miyagi Prefecture. Historically it was a popular everyday meal, especially in seasons where rice was scarce. The soup also calls for vegetables like carrots and Japanese radish, and is flavored with soy sauce and sake.
After lunch, our visitors had plans in Tome, so we sent them along their way. However short a time, it’s always a pleasure to share a meal with new friends!
The rest of us didn’t have anything else planned for the evening, so we decided to go out for dinner, and of course… karaoke!
Just another day in Kesennuma…