If you've been reading my blog for a while, you would know that whenever I visit
Japan, I always make a point to spend some time in Gunma to hang out with the
 family. They welcomed me into their family a few years ago when I did a
homestay in high school and i've been visiting them nearly every year since. I
think they're really the best. I even have my own special 'Kayla' slippers I use
each time I go there. They're orange with brown bears. Cute, huh? I really feel
like a part of their family. I'm so thankful for their openness and generosity
toward me and the way they have allowed me into their culture and home. I have a
dorky hope that one day my Japanese will be fluent enough that I can communicate
eloquently all of this to them, but I kind of think they already know.. We all cry
a little bit when it's time to say goodbye.

During my visit a few weeks ago, they took me to Mantoku-ji Temple. Known as a 
'divorce temple', it's one of only two temples in Japan that used to offer women 
refuge from abusive relationships and helped to facilitate divorces. According to 
the brochure (and stuff I've read on Wikipedia) during the Edo period only men were
able to divorce and remarry whereas women had to seek permission. So yeah, even 
though these divorces were technically arranged by religious men, this place was 
kind of a big deal and a huge step for women's rights in Japan! A fun part of the
temple involved writing on special toilet paper things you wanted to sever ties 
with and to strengthen ties with and then flushing them down these blessed toilets!