Although, to be honest, Nao remembers rather more than I do. My own memories were limited to the Aecht Schlaenkerla Rauchbier, a fairly obscure German smoked beer we used to drink in the Cellar Bar in St Andrews, which I was surprised to find all those years ago on the shelves of the convenience store next door to the hotel. Call me a romantic.
We spent Saturday in Kyoto, another significant place in our early years together. We revisited Nishi Honganji, the home temple of the one of the Jodo Shinshu sects whose founder's work I study. Then, at Higashi Honganji, the headquarters of the other principal Shinshu sect, we heard a moving sermon given by a minister who had lost his daughter when she was young.
That evening, we enjoyed a stroll around the winding old streets of the scenic Higashiyama area. Here was a taste of old Kyoto, including a cup of matcha on the tatami of a picture-perfect tea house and even a fleeting glance of a geisha with her equally painted young daughter.
For dinner, we met our friend Masao and his wife at a German beer hall in Osaka. We first met Masao back at Little St Mary´s in Cambridge, when he was studying English there. At the time, he was making the transition from being a Protestant minister to becoming an Anglican, and is now in training for Holy Orders at Williams' College, Kyoto. He has a love for Japanese tradition, to the extent that he writes Haiku, and is as interested as I am in trying to reconcile Japanese Christianity with its host country's native arts. May the Lord assist us in our endeavours.