Back from Los Angeles

LAX at Sunset

I made it back from Los Angeles this evening. I had a nice little trip down there. I stayed relatively near LAX since my hotel was in Redondo Beach and the temple I was visiting was also there.

I must say that Redondo Beach was quite nice and I got to spend a bit of time hanging out near the beach on my own. I was fortunate in that it was around 60 degrees (not bad for January!) and sunny. I rented a car because there really is no easy way to get around without one and they were so pressed for vehicles that I wound up with a free upgrade to a convertible. The end result of this is me tooling around the beach in January with the top down. I can see why people might choose to live there.

The temple is “Jion-ji” (previously known since the 1970s as “Jiko-ji”) and sits in a quiet neighborhood. It was operated by a female Tendai priest, Ven. Jisen Uchima, for many years until she passed away a year ago. It was built into an existing house with much of the work arranged and done by her husband, Ansho Uchima. I was fortunate enough to get to meet him yesterday and have tea in the course of things. (As an aside, he also gave me a copy of his recent book, “Fighting Spirit: Judo in Southern California, 1930-1941”, which is a history of Judo in that period). The temple space is beautiful and filled with the kind of Buddhist imagery and statues that I’ve only seen in Japan before. It was obviously a labor of love to build and a very peaceful oasis in the middle of a rather urban area. I feel quite fortunate to be allowed to visit this space and I’m looking forward to visiting it again in the future. Los Angeles is only a quick hour or so plane flight away for me so it is one of those places that is quite easy to visit from time to time if I have a reason.