After we finished our teas, Vivian took me for a tour. When we passed the fence in the front side of the house, I heard Shobogenzo whinnying and looked if I could see him. He was on a grassy meadow, but he wasn’t alone. He found himself some new friends! Two white mares and a very young brown fowl. “Shobo even might found himself a girlfriend!” I exclaimed and looked at Vivian.
She nodded and smiled “Yes, there are a lot of animals here; I will show you that too”.
“I love animals! Do you think I could take one with me for the journey, aside from Shobogenzo?!” I asked enthusiastically, trying to sound convincing.
“Of course you can, so what do you want to see first?” she asked.
“Can we meet my mentor?” I enquired.
“Ok, let’s go then.” And she accelerated her pace.
While I was following behind her in a fast pace, I looked around me. The first building after her house was a building with two big arches in the front, and when we went through the arches, I realized that the building was made of two wide and very tall walls built out of wooden planks that looked very old, and reached the base of the roof which was sustained with very old wooden beams. The alley walls were covered with paintings of all types and kind. Watercolor paintings, acrylic paintings, collages and other mixed-media art works.
“Guess who made that one, Ilan?” Of all the paintings, Vivian was pointing at a rather small cardboard painting in which I could see a priest, seating on the floor.
“I have no idea” I said while I was approaching to it.
Now that I was very close, I realized that it wasn’t a priest that was painted on it, but a samurai with a black kimono. “Oh wow!” I bounced “That’s granddad!!!”
“No Ilan, that’s your mentor, but he looks like your granddad a lot, doesn’t he?” she said and then asked “But who do you think made that painting?”
“I don’t know…can I take it to look at it closer?” I asked.
Vivian nodded and looked around for something that would allow her to reach the picture. Finally she found a wooden chair that was leaning against the other wall and gave me the painting.
“There’s something written on it!” I was excited.
“Read it, Ilan, you will know then, who made that painting” she insisted.
“No gate stands on public road; there are paths of various kinds; those who pass this barrier, walk freely throughout the Universe. Mumon Misaki. Mum!!! Mum used to say that all the time!” I couldn’t hold anymore the enthusiasm that evoked this new discovery.
“You can keep it if you want, as long as you put it back here before you leave” she said and added “It might become useful in your travels. The halls are full of hints to resolve any mysteries that will fill your journey, you only need to know where to look, and sometimes, the answers will find you instead”.
With that last sentence in my mind, we came out of the arches in the open air again. And there, a medieval fountain decorated with gargoyles was standing right in middle of a patio. I approached the fountain and let my hand play with the water. After a couple of minutes I was called by Vivian who was talking to some mysterious man dressed in…. samurai clothes!
“Hello” I said nervously and offered a handshake.
“I’d rather give you a big hug, miss” he approached and gave me that big hug and squished me like all the Misaki do. Then said “Welcome to your other home, Ilan”.
“My other home…” I thought “It certainly sounds very true”.