In the Ohshima Forest

Mana (center) leaves today for two weeks in Dharmasala, India, to work for the benefit of Tibetan refugee children. Tammy, Mayumi and I gathered with Mana for breakfast before Tammy drove her to the airport.

I am amazed at all of the interesting ferments that Mana creates—wines, pickled vegetables, fermented fruits. Mana explained the health benefits of each of her concoctions and offered us samples of the viva fruit.

Mana’s friend Mika comes over to take us hiking in the forest. Mika sells flower essences—homeopathic preparations of water inwhich flowers have soaked, and an interesting array of non-floral substances, including water inwhich crop circle grains and grasses have soaked, and water through which whales have swum. Mika presented me with a tiny cobalt glass pendant full of this last substance and says it opens the heart. She also gave us tickets to an oceanfront hot springs pool and a copy of her fascinating catalogue. I give her my CD.

The forest turns out to be the same one I visited while being photographed for the magazine interview on Monday. I didn’t have my camera then, and I’m thrilled to come back camera in hand. We walk to an ancient Japanese style rice straw hut, built by a local artist and a troup of children in commemoration of the sailing of a ancient style reed boat that landed at Ohshima last year.

Magnificent gnarled trees line our pathway.

We visit a temple to a healing goddess in the middle of the forest.