I have been living in Japan for long enough to get over the initial shock of being a stranger in a strange land and have decided to get back to doing something I love doing, building websites. This place is intended to serve two purposes. First it is a place to post photos of and reflections on the many amazing places I am visiting while I am here. And second it is intended as a resource for English language learning, both for students in the classes I am teaching and elsewhere. I hope you enjoy it! Note: there is no need to register to read this blog. And feel free to comment if you like. To keep the evil spammers away I need to manually approve your first comment, so please be patient if your comment does not immediately appear.
You may be wondering why this blog is titled 6 worlds. This is a term that comes from traditional Buddhist conceptions of the universe. Each of these worlds can be understood as a separate place, or state into which we can be born and reborn, or as a different way in which we relate to our own lives. They are The God Realm, The Jealous God Realm (or the demi-god realm, you can see why they might be jealous being one step down from those who are really powerful), The Human Realm (which according to Buddhist thinking is kind of ideal since we are not so powerful that we think too highly of ourselves and yet we have the ability to stand back from our desires to a certain degree and really see whats what), The Animal Realm, The Realm of the Hungry Ghosts (who have unlimited appetites and yet pencil thin necks — not a good combination), and The Hell Realm (yes, there are many hells — imagine one and then multiply it, that’s what this world is). I picked this title for my blog because I think it captures something important about our lives, that in a sense we construct our own worlds by the way in which we engage with wherever we find ourselves. As we are all living our short lives out we do tend to find ourselves in one or the other of these realms. To a certain degree it is outside of our control, but then that is not absolutely the case to the extent that we can recognize where we are and can figure out ways out. Anyway, I like this idea of six worlds, hence the name of this blog. Here is one sculptural rendition of this idea often depicted in Tibetan images of the wheel of life.
My name is George Matthews or in Japanese マシュース ジョージ.
I am originally from New York but have lived many places including New Jersey, New York City, Chicago, Pennsylvania, Slovenia, Washington State, New Hampshire, Vermont and Japan. My mom immigrated to New York when she was a teenager by a long and winding route from Poland, through central Asia, the Middle East and England, so maybe wandering the world is my fate. It seems like once every ten years or so the urge to pick up stakes and start again somewhere takes over. Someday perhaps I will settle down somewhere for good, but then again maybe not.
I have been a teacher for a long time however, having spent much of my adult life teaching philosophy in colleges in the United States. Right now I am an Assistant Language Teacher working with Japanese Teachers of English in Junior High Schools and Elementary schools in Ako, Hyogo prefecture.