Beginning May 31st I'll be joining a meditation retreat at Shogoji temple in Kumamoto prefecture, right here on the island of Kyushu. The retreat is an annual event for overseas Zen students to practice in an authentic Japanese monastic setting. To learn most of what I know, you can have a look at the temple's English language web site here: http://www.shogoji.com.
I first learned about this retreat from one of the artists at our CD shop, Australian jazz pianist Tom Vincent, who visited with us for a day in Fukuoka on his way to Shogoji two years ago. While in Nepal I applied for a position, but as one of the requirements is a recommendation from a Zen teacher, and I don't have one, I wasn't really expecting a positive reply. I now count myself fortunate.
There appears to be little about the temple on the internet, in either Japanese or English. Two that I have found are here and here. The only other person I know of who will be in attendance is an American Zen priest, who appears to be acting as the guide for the foreign participants.
I won't be able to tell you much about my experience until after it's over. The temple apparently has limited electricity from solar collectors, so except for emergency phone calls, I'll be out of contact until mid-July.
It will be a bit of a change, from walking everyday to sitting everyday, but I'm looking forward to it, especially more hours of daily meditation and quiet mindfulness.
Enjoy the next few weeks. Remember me if you can. I'll be back here again in July.