This could be your life

Do you believe in Shintoism?

Do you like frogs, tea, and mochi?

Have you ever felt the call to a life of religious service in the name of Sarutahiko Okami, Marshal and Guardian Prince of Earth, and his ally America Kokudo Kunitama no Kami, patron of North America?

Are you legally able to work in the United States and willing to relocate to Granite Falls (aka Middle of Nowhere, Washington), to a pristine 25-acre site framed by forests and a cold mountain stream, where the public transportation doesn’t run on Sundays?

Then you’re in luck, because Tsubaki Grand Shrine of America is recruiting an Uchideshi (内弟子, “apprentice”). Say goodbye to your old life, move to the Middle of Nowhere, spend the next few years living in a shrine under the tutelage of Rev. Robert Barrish, the first non-Japanese to become a Shinto priest.

So yeah, this is probably not for the half-hearted. You will eat, sleep, and live with your master. I don’t know about the martial arts stuff, but they do offer aikido and wooden sword-play at the shrine so it isn’t even that much of a stretch.

How big is 25 acres? You should have a good idea after years of cleaning it. With the ceremonies all in Japanese, and a large number of Japanese shrine visitors, and having to work directly under a priest who speaks Japanese, you may even pick up a fair bit of Japanese language. You’ll get to hang out with priests and shrine maidens. Shrine maidens of Western ancestry do exist!

You’ll assist in ceremonies and rituals. You’ll see lots of educational videos. You’ll learn what it means to live off of the generous donations of others. Through meditation, purification, and self-denial, you will put your soul in tune with not only the gods of the shrine, but also the eight million other gods of all creation.

So what are you waiting for?

7 Responses to “This could be your life”

  1. Emerald-Eyes says:

    Wow, that is two parts strange and three parts AWESOME!
    Damn, just why can’t I happen to live in America ;_;
    But I’ve got one question: If someone takes that job, will he still be allowed to have sex with the priests and the shrine maidens or is it the same case as with catholic christians (they aren’t allowed to have sex ever again)?

  2. Sixten says:

    I don’t think Shintoism has the priests or shrine maidens take vows of chastity (Rev. Barrish is married to Chika, one of the shrine maidens) but “Can I make out with the shrine maidens?” is probably not the first thing that should be in your mind when interviewing for this job.

    That said, Shintoism is a world religion, so I wouldn’t be surprised if there were shrines in your country, wherever that is. Note that this job is still like joining the priesthood or ministry in a Christian denomination, so you should be very sure you want to do this when you interview.

  3. Emerald-Eyes says:

    I rather thought about the priests than the shrine maidens (being transsexual and all) ^^
    But thank you for the answer. Chastity is a huge problem in my religion, thus I was just interested in how that subject is handled in other religions that I don’t know very much about.
    A life with a personal mentor sounds really nice to me, you are never alone, i guess, but my dream is becoming an author, thus I probably won’t start becoming a priest.
    Still, thanks for the interesting text and for your answer =)

  4. Mushyrulez says:

    Oh boy! I can’t wait to give up my entire physical and social life in front of me to go into the middle of nowhere and undergo spiritual refinery in a religion I don’t actively practice! Especially since I have no social life in the first place! You are now confused as to whether this comment is sarcastic or not.

  5. GoldenSunfreak says:

    @Mushyrulez
    I’d say….it’s sarcasm.

    @Sixten
    Interesting job choice. Are you interested in Shintoism? I remember you had already tried 2 or 3 other religions; I wonder why you changed your mind for those. If you aren’t comfortable sharing, then that’s okay, though I am curious. As for Shintoism, I’m sure it’s not the same as Reimu’s job (aka lounging around and asking for donations), it seems very disciplined and full of difficult rituals to memorize. It does seem nice, though.

  6. Sixten says:

    @GoldenSunfreak: I was Catholic for 18 years, Evangelical for 1 year, and Mormon for 4 years. My knowledge of non-Christian denominations is somewhat limited, to mostly books like “The Teaching of Buddha”, “Tales of Japanese Gods”, and “The Tao of Pooh”. Now I am not an active member of any church, although I do go to mass at a Catholic parish occasionally because it’s the culture I grew up with. I will occasionally go to a random religious site and sit in a ceremony, like I did at Tsubaki Shrine for New Year’s.

    The last time I went to a Shinto ceremony they passed out sake saucers (like Yugi’s, only smaller) to the adults. I hesitated by reflex because of the whole Mormon ban on coffee and alcohol (even in the Christian breaking of the bread, they use water instead of wine) but ended up drinking the sake anyway.

    At this point, I think all religions are the same: they help the poor and underprivileged, they oppose war (though from the actions of some so-called religious people, some may not think so), they teach people to become kinder and less greedy, they offer forgiveness to those who make an effort to do good, and they want your donations.

    My interest in religion is now mostly on how it and the culture of its practitioners affect one another. For someone who is no longer religious, I think about religion a great deal, and as you can see from Fairy Ring (and soon, Guns & Roses) religion has been an influence in my writing. As to what I currently believe about gods, I’m not sure myself.

  7. GoldenSunfreak says:

    @Sixten
    I’m personally a Christian, so my belief is in the salvation provided by the sacrifice that Jesus Christ made at the cross. I’m not too familiar with Catholicism’s view of Christ, or Evangelical’s, and Mormon’s is a bit unusual for me. What were you seeking from those religions? I’ve never tried other religions, but I have researched them for class projects before, and found that they all vary greatly, yet have certain similarities. I’m not too sure what you were looking for, but I hope you do find it someday.

Leave a Reply