Wednesday, December 03, 2008
Japan - Part 3
Believe it or not, I tried to just pick my favorite pictures to post! So, I'll finish up the set with a slideshow. Japan was so beautiful, so picturesque, so full of contrasts and visual irony. I loved it. I hope that comes through in these pictures.
First you'll see some shrines and temples in the park of Nara, which has famous free-roaming deer. They're believed to be messengers of the gods. . . they're like fearless squirrels in Central Park only more abundant. . . almost as abundant as the school kids which roam in packs of thousands. Some of them would liked to try their English out on us. I just got comments like, "Hi! How are you? Where you from?" Mike got comments like, "Handsome" and "Nice body!" No joke.
Weird side note, this one day we spent in Nara and Kyoto we saw the largest wooden building in the world ( the Todai-ji Temple, that housed this huge bronze Buddha), the oldest wooden building in the world (a five story pagoda at Kofuku-ji Temple the birthplace of Zen Buddhism in Japan) and the longest wooden building in the world (Sanjusangen-do Temple) it holds a thousand and one almost identical statues of the many armed Kannon, goddess of mercy. It's so long they've always held archery termiments in the back hallway!)
You'll also see the beautiful Mount Koya where we stayed overnight in a Buddhist monastery (The Ekoin Temple) which was one of the coolest places I've ever been in my life. The town and the temples were ethereal and mystical and just "achingly beautiful" as Ms. Frommer put it. There was a pathway lined with hundreds of thousands of moss-covered, stone burial markers and ancestral monuments leading to one of the temples that we walked along at dusk as the lanterns were lit. Surreal. Our monastery was clean and perfect and traditional Japanese, with futons rolled out on the tatami matts to sleep on after our vegetarian dinner was brought in on perfectly arranged trays into our room. What an experience.
Then you'll also see shots around Tokyo, the cleanest big city I've ever been in, hands down. You'll notice I was fascinated by the people and snuck as many candid shots as I could, especially in Harajuku, one of the fashion capitols with a style all its own. . . or as many styles as people.
Credits to Mike (aka Hubby) for all the Tokyo night-time shots, that was his favorite part. Good job, Hubs, you got some good ones.