the hundreds hawaii

These Are The States Where $100 Goes The Farthest

When you travel to another country, you generally check to see how strong the dollar is against the local currency. Yet even within the United States there’s a lot of variation between what a buck will get you in one state versus another.

The states where $100 is worth the most are Mississippi, Arkansas and South Dakota. Meanwhile, go to D.C., Hawaii or New York and you’ll find that the same $100 gets spent the fastest.
Mark Zuckerberg is trying to force hundreds of Hawaii families to leave their ancestral lands
Mark Zuckerberg is reportedly suing Hawaiian families who have ancestral rights to land within his $100 million (£81.2 million) property in a bid to force them to sell their plots. The Facebook founder has launched the legal action in an attempt to make his 700-acre beachfront estate on the Island of Kauai more private.
On Questions, Answers, and the Wabi-Sabi Universe

When I started applying for colleges, I knew I was going to have to deal with a lot of uncomfortable questions, what to major in, how I’m going to pay for this, what friends do I make, ect. But these questions, I think, are not nearly as important as questions like “What do I think about God?”, “What do I think about morality/the afterlife/religious experience?” “Why do I believe those things?”, questions that do not concern the people I interact with as much as they should.

It’s easy to take the college questions and give them a positive spin, thinking of them as an adventure rather than an crisis. I suppose one could think the same way about their spiritual journey, but for me these questions never fail to be endlessly confusing, frustratingly vague, profoundly unsatisfying to examine. What’s even more uncomfortable is realizing that you don’t identify with beliefs about the world that you used to hold dear. To look at beliefs that you’ve had for years and to say “that’s not me anymore” is in itself an accomplishment, to look for new beliefs, is a hurdle ten times as high.

This is where I was when I was applying for colleges, and to be honest I’ve never really left, even though I’ve chosen a spiritual path to follow. But given that that path is Shinto, I’ve just opened up a door with a thousand more questions. Shinto is a religion that is practiced almost exclusively in Japan, has only a small presence in the United States (a presence which, helpfully, is mostly located in Washington and Hawaii both hundreds of miles from where I live), and only has a limited amount of resources in print, along with helpful but somewhat dubious online ones. It has no scripture, no clear doctrine, and is closely tied to local Shrines and the landscape of a country which I am descended from, but have virtually no other connection to. It doesn’t mean that I can’t learn about my religion, it means that the answers to my daunting questions are very hard to find, which can be really hard sometimes.

But my experience with Shinto hasn’t been all frustration, otherwise, why would I be attempting to follow it? In my research I have uncovered a philosophy that acknowledges and even celebrates the ambiguities that have so baffled me in the past. It is a path that emphasizes awareness of one’s actions and awareness of the divine in nature, in the Gods, and in ourselves and the people we interact with every day. We call this divine energy “Dai Shizen”, or “Great Nature”, and the way we interact with it is by nature shifting, vague, and impermanent.

In Zen, there is a concept which has carried over to all aspects of Japanese life including Shinto, called wabi-sabi. It, like most Japanese philosophical concepts, is extremely hard to translate into English, but I like to think of it as a kind of “eternal impermanence”. We must acknowledge and appreciate that the world we live in is ever changing, ever shifting, and always impermanent, and although we can have religions doctrine and codes of morality, we cannot possibly think to understand everything. It is most commonly understood in Japanese art and aesthetics,particularly the tea ceremony invented by Sen no Rikyū and the simple but devastatingly beautiful haiku of  Matsuo Bashō. The roughness and irregularity of nature are celebrated in these, not honed out or proportioned away as they are in western art. They ask you to look at the cracks in a cup, the bending of a sakura branch, or the irregularity of a group of leaves strewn across a path, and see that it is beautiful. The imperfection is where the art derives it’s beauty, and likewise the universe derives its beauty from it’s imperfection and refusal to be easily understood.

Wabi-sabi asks you to look calmly and sympathetically on the intricacies and iperfections of the universe around us, and approach it with awe, reverence, and non-judgement. Spirituality in Shinto and for the Japanese in general is more of a purifying appreciation of the divine rather than a prostrating submission. Every religions path involves some sort of “surrender” or “leap of faith”, but in Shinto it’s a different kind of leap than in western paradigms of religion. It’s quiet, mysterious, and impossible to describe, and that not only doesn’t make it less hard to make, but 100 times more hard. But that, I suppose, is wabi-sabi.

People often describe the journey of transsexual people as a passage through the sexes, from manhood to womanhood, from male to female, from boy to girl. That simplifies a complicated journey of self-discovery that goes way beyond gender and genitalia. My passage was an evolution from me to closer-to-me-ness. It’s a journey of self-revelation. Undergoing hormone therapy and genital reconstruction surgery and traveling sixty-six hundred miles from Hawaii to Thailand are the titillating details that cis people love to hear. They’re deeply personal steps I took to become closer to me, and I choose to share them. I didn’t hustle those streets and fight the maturation of my body merely to get a vagina. I sought something grander than the changing of genitalia. I was seeking reconciliation with myself.
—  Janet Mock, Redefining Realness: My Path to Womanhood, Identity, Love & So Much More (Pg. 227)