I had been invited to accompany a non-government organization NGO called "New Start" on a weekend hike to five of the temples along the pilgrimage route with a group of hikikomori youth. Hikikomori rarely - if ever - go outside. The idea beyond the New Start program was that walking a pilgrimage, or henro as it is called in Japanese, would have a therapeutic effect on the hikikomori.
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At the upper end of expectations for the program was that the pilgrimage would lead to a spiritual and psychological breakthrough - that after walking around Shikoku, a previously house-bound youth would be able to shake off the fear and anxiety that had made him a prisoner in his own home and make a "new start". At the very least, the experience would be a step in the right direction - a week or more in the fresh air engaging with the world.
Throughout my weekend trip on the pilgrimage with the five youth and the two counselors from New Start, I was thinking that the Shikoku pilgrimage would make an excellent setting for a novel. The landscape was beautiful and varied. The people that one met at the temples or out on the road were all searching for something and it wasn't necessarily the same thing. In addition, the experience came with its own arc. At Temple 1, you were an acolyte.
By the time that you got to Temple 88, you knew something. What novelist could ask for more than that? Would you like to tell us about a lower price? If you are a seller for this product, would you like to suggest updates through seller support? Read more Read less.
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Here's how restrictions apply. Review "A clever, elegantly told story about Japanese young offenders who are taken on a pilgrimage of Shikoku.
The 89TH Temple
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Try the Kindle edition and experience these great reading features: Share your thoughts with other customers. Write a customer review. Read reviews that mention charlie canning great read japanese society recommend this book bullying temple japan journey young adults bullied page culture pilgrimage shikoku. Showing of 16 reviews. Top Reviews Most recent Top Reviews. There was a problem filtering reviews right now.
Please try again later. Kindle Edition Verified Purchase. I loved this book. This is a story about a group of teenagers trying to move past the stigma of their convictions for serious crimes they committed against their tormentors as a result of having been bullied. The novel moves seamlessly between the present, during which the teens take a supervised journey as part of their rehabilitation, and the past, in which their crimes and the events leading up to them are revealed.
I was reminded of Ann Patchett's Bel Canto, both for this book's similarly beautiful characterization of Japanese social mores, as well how fluidly the reader is transported back and forth across time. The author's descriptions of his characters are rich and full, making each memorable for his or her part in the unfolding drama of the book.
This story, although taking place in a constrained Japanese milieu, reminds us that bullying and its traumatic aftershocks transcends culture. This is a very compelling, dark novel that should appeal to fans of Japanese Noir. While not a crime novel, it is a very dark fable of what happens when kids are bullied and rebel against the bullies in their lives. When the kids are given a chance to find some redemption, they find that the world is not so forgiving.
The characters are both heartbreaking and fascinating. I loved each of them and rooted for them throughout. While an intelligent novel, it's also a fast read.
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The plot and characters move things along so quickly that, before you know it, you've reached the very satisfying ending. Subjects Juvenile delinquents -- Fiction. Student counselors -- Fiction. Buddhist pilgrims and pilgrimages -- Japan -- Shikoku Region -- Fiction. Summary "Seven juvenile offenders on leave from various reform schools are doing a 1,kilometer temple pilgrimmage on foot with a counselor and some assigned wardens from the state.
Upon completing the pilgrimage, they will be released. Will they rejoin society or leave it for good?
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