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Studying Patience

"The strong manly ones in life are those who understand the meaning of the word patience. Patience means restraining one's inclinations. There are seven emotions: joy, anger, anxiety, love, grief, fear, and hate, and if a man does not give way to these he can be called patient. I am not as strong as I might be, but I have long known and practiced patience. And if my descendants wish to be as I am, they must study patience." -Tokugawa Ieyasu

In the late 1400's, the ruling Ashikaga Shogunate of Japan became weak and lost its hold over the country. A many-sided civil war broke out, thus beginning the "Sengoku Period" - known as one of the most bloody and lawless periods in Japanese history, but also an era of some incredibly most heroic leadership.

Eventually, "Three Great Unifiers" came to power and ended the conflict through victory. These three were Oda Nobugana, Hideyoshi Toyotomi, and Tokugawa Ieyasu.

In the end, Tokugawa Ieyasu won, and his family ruled Japan for the next 250 years. However, he's probably the least popular of the three great unifiers in Japan.

Nobunaga is popular for having an incredibly fierce, martial, masculine spirit. At one point, the warrior-monks of the Honganji allied themselves against Nobunaga and harried, harassed, and ambushed his armies. The Honganji provided supplies, spies, and information for Nobunaga's enemies and sometimes faced them in direct combat.

Da Hong Pao: An $80 Pot of Tea

On Tynan

I had only the roughest of plans coming to China-- hang out in Shanghai, make it to Hua Shan, and drink some good tea. With a couple weeks of Shanghai loafing and a trip to Hua Shan under my belt, only tea was left on my checklist.

China has very high quality famous teas in several categories, many of which were invented here, but the two that I like the most are Puerh and Oolong. I was originally thinking that I'd head down to Yunnan province, where the best Puerh in the world is made, but with my days in China running short, a forty-one hour train trip seemed like a bit of a waste. The Wuyi mountains, on the other hand, are a convenient nine hour overnight train ride from Shanghai. Carl and I decided to head to the Wuyi mountains for a single 18 hour day, with no plan other than to drink Da Hong Pao, Big Red Robe, one of the most prized Oolong teas in the world.

With one overnight train in and out of the Wuyishan station per day, our itinerary was decided for us. We'd arrive a little before six in the morning and leave at ten at night. That may seem like a short trip, but all we really cared about was finding and drinking the Da Hong Pao, and we figured it would be enough. After reserving our two hard-bed tickets, we check the weather. Rainy the day before we get there, storms the day after, but sun on our day there. Perfect.

The next day we arrive at Shanghai Railway twenty minutes before our train is scheduled to leave. We show our tickets, go through security, and stare up at the giant LED display announcing the departure gates. It scans through the options once and I don't see our train. Odd, but my Chinese reading is even worse than my speaking, so I figure I must have missed it. Another cycle of all departing trains scrolls through, and again I don't see it. I look again at my ticket-- we were supposed to be leaving from Shanghai South. Oops.

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