by Kirstin Connor
Studying abroad…virtually…in Japan has been such an exciting experience. Coming into this journey, I had no idea what to expect but I knew it would be something special and a unique learning experience for me. I have always been interested in Japanese culture, after learning that my mom lived there alone for a year when she was 23. All of the beauty and traditional understandings of this country was presented during our virtual trip so precisely and intimately…like you were actual walking the streets of Kyoto and standing in front of Sensouji. Our traveling group must have had great energy because of the several beautiful weddings we saw, but I definitely felt the luckiest during our second night Qigong experience with Maki Hoshino. The program was set up with such an organized itinerary and program notes, which came in handy before venturing out on each night’s journey. I read in the program notes that Maki Hoshino was diagnosed with Behcet’s disease that left her almost to the point of debilitation. Behcet’s is a rare autoimmune disease, and it just so happens that my sister was diagnosed with Behcet’s 10 years ago and had experienced the same debilitation. It was a very hard time for my family, so being able to read about how Maki Hoshino turned to energy medicine and more holistic healing modalities to create harmony and balance her mental, physical and spiritual body truly made me feel a great sense of peace. The Qigong exercise we practiced made me more aware, mindful, and I feel worked as a way to create movement and fluidity within my body. Maki Hoshino did an excellent job teaching us the movements and I am eager to share these movements with my sister.