I spent one autumn on a rice farm in the depths of Kyushu's "hell" valleys where the land heaves with forces from the underworld, hot springs swell from the grounds, vegetables and meat left to steam in volcanic vapour on the roadside.

Our treat at the end of each working day was a visit to the local onsen, truly a vision from the roiling underbellies of the earth, walls and piping coated in thick crusts of blood red iron, chatter of women ricocheting off these living surfaces, through thick steam rising and rich water poured. The hot springs were free for locals, who would take it in fortnightly turns to deep clean the premises. As a total outsider I felt a fraud luxuriating in the waters that belonged to the land, but not once was I made to feel this way. There was an undercurrent of understanding that we all belong to this earth. The 'right' to use them came not from simply existing, but from an attitude, of humility and gratitude.

Thank you for blessing us with these waters, to melt our stiffness so that we may serve the Earth tomorrow with renewed vitality.