...Though we are aware that Shinto can be fully understood only by Japanese....
[Edited by aikilouis on December 10, 2000 at 07:25am]
This is, of course, a myth that goes along with all the other myths of Japanese racial superiority. I lived in Japan as a child, and speak and read Japanese fluently. This in itself is supposed to be impossible by many Japanese. Many are incredulous. You should see the reactions of people when I speak to them. It really takes a couple of minutes for most people to accept it. A lot of people become insecure and resentful...
Koichi Barrish Sensei would take issue with this statement as well, I believe, as he is a fully qualified Shinto 'priest'.
As for spiritual practices, I know that a dojo I used to practice at always had a kagami-biraki (bringing out the mirror) ceremony at new years, although I haven't ever been there for it. Most dojos I've practiced at have sort of swept the shinto under the table, since the Shihan isn't into it really, and it's not considered good for business in the U.S...
OTOH, I've learned a lot more about shinto on my own through my research of aikido and o-sensei... Much of it has helped me understand spiritual issues from a unique and powerful perspective, and I do believe that Shinto is the _key_ to understanding where O-Sensei's abilities came from.