Twenty Questions

Question of the Week: 1/28 - 2/03 This week, in lieu of an actual question, I thought I would go through e-mails from the previous year and answer simple questions posed to me by all of you. Some of these questions are more on the personal side which I usually do not answer. But what the heck.

1. Are you married?

This isn't much of a secret. I have mentioned Akiko more than once on this blog. However, I rarely ever refer to her as "my wife," and instead use Akiko. So, if I ever say Akiko, you'll know who I mean.

We got married on July of 2006.

2. Did you go to school?

I guess you mean College? I went to Berklee College of Music in Boston, but didn't stay very long.

I must confess that I have never been much of a student. I do study extensively, but only on subjects that interest me. (Those subjects include, but are not limited to: music, literature, theoretical physics, film making, acting, and storytelling.)

3. Are you Japanese?

No.

4. Are you from Japan?

I was born in the United States.

5. What nationality are you?

My mother's side are of Tennessee/Kentucky stock. My father's side are from central Mexico. The last time I talked to my father (about 14 years ago) he mentioned that we are descendants of the Aztec. I guess there is no way to verify that, though.

6. Do you have a job?

Other than what I am doing right now, no. I make small amounts of money from time to time.

7. What are some of your favorite musicians/artists/films?

Chick Corea, Scriabin, Chopin, Dream Theater, Rush, Boston, Mozart, Death, Queen, Paco DeLucia.

Picasso, Titian, Jan van Eyck, Ezra Pound, Ernest Hemingway, Stephen King, Salvadore Dali, Harlan Ellison, J. Krishnamurti.

Ikiru, Cemetery Man, Mountain Men, V for Vendetta, Chinatown, Man Bites Dog, LOTR, Lawrence of Arabia, Alien.

8. Do you believe in god?

I don't understand the question. (Sorry.)

9. What kind of food do you eat?

I stopped eating meat of all kinds around the fall of 2001. Highly processed foods tend to slow down my productivity. I like curry. Japanese pears. I like to eat Akiko's cooking.

10. Do you have a large family?

In the USA it is mom, one brother, one aunt, one grandfather, a step-father, and that is about it for the immediate family.

In Japan, there are almost too many Minamoto's to keep track of. Akiko and I have no children.

11. Have you traveled much?

I have spent time in 43 of the 50 United States (and lived in 4 different states). And I live in Japan.

12. What do you think of my favorite guru?

Do you mean, how do I rate them on the B.S. scale? I am in no position to judge anyone or anything. The only advice I can give on this subject is, Listen to everyone, but follow no one.

13. Were you a seeker before your realization?

I think, like everyone else, I just wanted to find a way to feel better. I can't say that I had a serious interest in enlightenment, and before December of 2006, I had no idea what non-duality was.

But seeking happiness, joy, pleasure, or money is no different from the search for enlightenment. (Because the mechanism of searching is the same between all of them.)

14. What did you do as a child?

I spent most of my time alone. I lived, more or less, in a forest, and most of my day consisted of looking around in nature and just walking around.

I was very curious, and would always get into things I shouldn't have. But that curiosity kept me interested in everything. It nearly killed me several times as well.

My mom told me stories of the things I would get into. She had to take me to the hospital more than once to have my stomach pumped for eating things that were either dangerous, poisonous, or just plain inedible. But it was no fault of her own. She said that my brother could be left alone, and he would not get into any trouble. But if I were left alone, the first thing I would do is head for the light socket with a fork. It is surprising that I survived childhood.

Thanks mom.

15. When is your birthday? (Maybe they want to know my sign?)

In May. Gemini.

16. What are some of your favorite spiritual blogs?

Probably, the one that provides the most value is Albert Foong's Urbanmonk.net. He is a great writer, but also, he struggles with some of the same problems as his readers. This is easy to pick up in his writing, and it gives the whole blog a feel of something being done together, with the reader, as opposed to just some authority figure telling everyone how it is.

Also, like everyone else, I have found tremendous benefit at StevePavlina.com. If you have never been to his site (hard to imagine that), start with the articles. That will give you the best overview of the site.

I also enjoy Byron Katie's blog.

I am not at these blogs everyday. But I do check in, from time to time.

17. What are your favorite non-spiritual blogs?

Problogger Zen Habits Armor Games Skelliewag Write to Done (This is new, but the content is great for writers) How Stuff Works Clarence Bass

Favorite non-blog site: Wikipedia

18. Do you think physical exercise is important?

I cannot say whether it is or it isn't. It is easy to measure the benefits, however. And it is something I do regularly.

I have exercised for years now. My current workouts consist of throwing kettlebells around. (A kettlebell is an old-time Russian strength building tool.)

Working out with a kettlebell is the closest thing there is to being punched repeatedly.

19. What are your hobbies away from Takuin.com?

Walking around Tokyo. Meeting with artists. Writing letters (by hand). Going to local stationery stores. Film, music, etc.

20. Do you have any message to give to everyone?

Although I don't use the word hope, I do think there is a chance for peace in this world. But it won't come through demonstrations, group actions, or government policy. It can only come by ending the war within each of us.

But no one else can end it for you. Find out, and end it yourself. Then peace can't help but follow you, wherever you go.