Practical Wisdom for the Modern World
CELEBRATION 30 YEARS SHINTO IN EUROPE 2011 September 22nd, City Hall Amstelveen The speech by Mr J van Zanen, Mayor of Amstelveen, revealed an interesting personal connection with the origin of the Japanese Dutch Shinzen Foundation: exactly 30 years ago he had visited Japan for the first time. In an invisible way things seem to have worked together, resulting in the celebration of today. Beside this personal note he referred to the long lasting relation of Amstelveen with Japanese companies and families who have found their location and residence in this city. Before him Prof Dr Harmen Beukers, chairman of the Foundation, has made a point to refer to another not well-known connection of the City Hall with the roots of Japanese culture; more than 10 years the City Hall is hosting the Sakura Festival in the Cherry Blossom Park, which actually originates in the tradition of shinto to celebrate the change of seasons. The ceremony started with a performance by the Gagaku Trio, who played Hyojo no Netori, followed by Etenraku. During the Gagaku music the shintomaster and miko-san entered the ceremonial site. The main norito was a historical summary of the cultural exchange between Japan and the Netherlands and finished with an expression of gratitude for the precious gift of shinto to the modern world. As a token of gratitude and respect for nature the shintomaster and the chairman of Japanese Dutch Shinzen Foundation dedicated a green sprig. During this ritual the Gagaku trio performed Goshoraku. For everybody in the audience this was the first time to hear a live performance of Gagaku. The sound cannot be compared with anything else and if we listen to it unprepared, or not in the right setting, it might be painful to the ears. However, everybody experienced a feeling of unexpected peace and calm by the combination of gagaku and ceremony. It was a unique opportunity to sense the energy of universal shinto.
The ceremony was concluded by a cheerful kanpai, led by Mr J van Zanen, mayor of Amstelveen, Mr K Kato, chairman of JCC, Prof H Beukers and Prof W van Gulik, board of Japanese Dutch Shinzen Foundation.
The congratulatory toast with sake was dedicated to everybody's health, the prosperity of Amstelveen and to the next cycle of 30 years for the Japanese Dutch Shinzen Foundation!