Where are You Going?

by | Jan 12, 2021 | Tanuki Tales

Where Are You Going 1 | Shimenawa | Where are You Going?Tanuki-san woke up to find himself in a corner of St. Peter’s Square in Rome.  In front of him stood the majestic basilica of St. Peter’s.  Visitors were streaming out of the front door, buttoning their coats and raising their umbrellas.  It wasn’t your typical Rome weather – instead it was cold and blustery, threatening to rain at any moment.

As Tanuki wandered across the square, he nearly bumped into a man rushing away from the basilica.  “Where are you going?” asked Tanuki, curious as to why the man was in such a hurry.  “To find a bar where I can drink a Moretti, and maybe find a nice Freulein” he said in a thick German accent.  “Hope you find what you are looking for” said Tanuki and continued on his way.

Tanuki didn’t watch where he was going as he backed away from the German, so he was nearly thrown to the ground as he collided with a tall woman rushing the other way.  She was elegantly dressed in a black fur coat, a black fur hat, and a scarf that had to be genuine Hermes.

IMG 2136 | Shimenawa | Where are You Going?“Where are you going?” asked Tanuki again.  The woman answered in deep French tones, “There’s a covered shopping street across the river.  I simply must get  a new handbag while I’m here in Rome.”  “Well, I certainly hope you find something nice” said Tanuki and went his way.

He turned around just in time to see a whole family hurrying by.  Mother and father, a teenage daughter, and a little boy.  “Where are you going in such a hurry?” Tanuki asked.  The dad replied, “Just two days in Rome, so we’re on a tight schedule – Santa Maria Maggiore, Piazza Navona, della Rotunda, the Trevi, Caravaggio’s St. Matthew, Bernini’s St. Therese if we can find her.”  “Well, I certainly hope you get to see what you came to see” said Tanuki.

“Well, I certainly hope you get to see what you came to see” said Tanuki.

“And where are you going Mr. Tanuki?” asked the little boy.  Tanuki-san looked at the glowering sky, at the doors of St. Peter’s, and pulled his coat tighter around him.  “Inside.  I’m going inside before it starts to rain.”

About Mike Freiling

Mike’s interest in the connections between different cultures and their philosophies began during his year as a Luce Scholar (1977-1978) at Kyoto University, when he first learned the meaning of the shimenawa and translated the Heian Period poems of the Hyaku Nin Isshu into English. In 2020, he founded Shimenawa no Michi to leverage his experience as an investment advisor into a broader initiative to help people navigate the challenges of life, love, and the search for transcendence. Mike also holds a PhD in artificial intelligence from MIT and a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA®) designation from the CFA Institute.

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