Tag Archive: Communication


Our class paid a visit to Asakusa Temple during one of its many festivals. There were people everywhere for the celebration we could barely get into the main gate. Speaking of the main gate the lantern that hangs from it was folded up that day which Japanese locals informed us was a rare sight to see. Once inside there were shops everywhere that sold various assortments of food, weapons, toys and souvenirs. The shops were quite beautiful and I want to know where in America I can get a katana as cheap or as gorgeous as some of the swords at these stores. I really wanted to see the temple so I continued to battle my way through the crowds. While on my way I noticed loud chanting and cheering as a group of Shinto volunteers carried a relic throughout the temple grounds. Before entering the temple I stopped for a second to check my fortune. For 100 yen a person can shake a silver colored canister and remove a stick. Engraved on this stick is a number which tells you which drawer holds your fortune. The fortunes range from best, to great, regular, and even bad. Never fear if you get a bad fortune though there are spots all throughout the temple where you can tie-off and forget your bad fortune. The temple itself was amazing; it was dimly lit by candlelight and filled with statues and beautiful artwork that I can’t even begin to understand the meaning of. I think that’s why I enjoyed our temple visits the most, the mystery surrounding all the artifacts and relics inside their walls.

Relic

Relic

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Daisho-in is a Buddhist temple on the foot of Mount Misan and was one of our cultural visits on our day in Miyajima. It was without a doubt one of the most breathtaking temples I’ve ever seen. At the temple’s base there was a stairway that had rotatable railings with important teachings engraved on them. At mid-climb was a donation box, the kicker was that there was also a bell, so anyone who donated money could proudly ring the bell to announce their presence. Before entering any shrine visitors were required to take their shoes off at the base of each staircase. At the top of most shrines was a pedestal where sweet smelling incense burned. Bringing the smoke towards your face and breathing it in is believed to be a cleansing and blessing of one’s body. One of the many shines we entered was a dark underground hallway which I believed was representing the darkness of life. However before you exit the shrine you’ll see lighted Buddha panels symbolizing the enlightenment of his teachings. The best part of all about Daisho-in Temple is the many miniature carved statues of Buddha. There is a giant path of these statues and most have been decorated with small donations of yen. Some are serious, some are cute, but all of them show devotion and loyalty to Buddha and his teachings.

Year of the Tiger

Year of the Tiger...My Year

Japan is one of the cleanest places that I’ve ever seen. In the three weeks I’ve been in this country I’ve only counted about eight pieces of trash on the street. It sounds a bit hard to believe but it’s one hundred percent true the streets here are just that clean. Now here’s an even bigger brain teaser, there are barely any garbage cans anywhere in Japan. Oh you may find one or two in the train station or near a vending machine, but don’t expect to find one on the streets, your chances are slim to nil. I personally like it though, the lack of garbage cans helps to keep me traveling light because I don’t know how long I’ll have to walk with an empty soda can in my hands or wrappers from whatever candy I’ve purchased. Also with how clean the streets are I can’t even find the urge within myself to litter, I just don’t want to ruin I good thing. Now if only we could figure out how to psychologically stop people from littering so America could have cleaner streets.

Streets High-up View

Streets High-up View

The Japanese Tea Ceremony is a practice that dates back to the ninth century when tea was first brought to Japan. On our travels in Japan our class was able to take part in one of these Japanese traditions. We were brought to a room on the 65th floor of a very nice hotel in Tokyo, where the tea ceremony was to take place. The tea room was beautifully decorated in traditional Japanese fashion; large stones formed a path across a room filled with wet tiny white rocks. Removal of our shoes was a requirement before we could venture inside towards the straw floor where the ceremony was to take place. The straw floor was refreshingly cool a great contrast to the humid summer day happening outside. Before we began the hostess informed us that the straw mats were cool in the summer and warm in the winter that’s what made them the official floors of the ceremony, neat! The hostess then handed out sweets that were represented by shapes of the season and truthfully they were a bit too sweet for my tastes. We learned that the reason sweets are handed out in the tea ceremony is to combat the bitterness of the green tea. Every movement the hostess made in the preparation of our tea was carefully a recreation of her ancestors of old from pouring the water from the hot boiler to the way she stirred it with the straw brush. When the tea was presented to me I bowed as was told to show my appreciation. In my opinion the tea didn’t need any sweets to counteract it, the tea was probably some of the best I’ve drank in my life.

Pre-Tea Snacks

Pre-Tea Snacks