Thursday, June 24, 2010

Ask and you sometimes receive…

Today, as we hoped, it did not rain! That meant we got to go see the Temples and Shrines we wanted to. We went to a city right outside of Kamakura called Hase. This is where the Big Buddha is.

It was a long day, with lots of walking and doing very touristy things (aka - taking pictures of everything!) It was weird to be one of the only Americans in a cluster of hundreds of people. Even though it was a weekday, the shrines and temples were crowded with tour groups, students on field trips, and ordinary people simply visiting the temples and shrines to worship or pray. The difference was, ALL these people were Japanese, and there were only 6 of us Americans! Talk about a homogenous country! Many people stared at us, several kids tried to speak to us in English (which they would do and then laugh amongst themselves for being so brave as to talk to us “gaijin” or foreigners) and others even took our pictures. In the train station there were some schoolgirls about the age of 13 or 14, and they were staring Nick down like he was a super model. They were quite obvious about it too, they didn’t try to be discreet, they just pointed and loudly talked about him as we walked by. (Of course Nick got embarrassed and started blushing!!!) This comes as no surprise, Nick isn’t hard to miss, he was by far the tallest man in the train station, as well as every other place we visited today!

The good thing about the places we toured today was that even the Japanese people were taking pictures, so we didn’t hesitate to pull out our camera for, well, everything! (We did kind of get a little picture happy…)

Nick and I took way too many pictures to share them all, but I will provide a “few” from our day of site seeing:

The entrance to one of the shrines

The Japanese are very superstitious and full of rituals. They have statues for everything, they do ceremonious things for specific reasons and have strong beliefs in spirits. This scary looking guy behind the cage, must have been some kind of mean spirit, to be locked up for all eternity!

The water fountains like in the picture below are in front of every shrine. These are there for you to clean your hands before you enter the shrine...something about having to be pure before you enter a holy place! The school kids were playing in the water and others drank from it...I found it rather dirty that everyone washed their hands in the same fountain of water, but what do I know?

The Great Buddha was the main attraction for the day, the whole reason we went to Hase. Needless to say, we took tons of pictures of this famous piece of architecture.

We were told this is the season for the beautiful hydrangeas…and sure enough, they were in full bloom around every corner along our route today! They smelled amazing!

What an interesting occupation, don’t you think? Imagine how much his back aches after pulling people on a carriage all day!
The next few pictures are of a shrine/temple that we found off of the beaten path...don't know what it's called, but it was very interesting! It sat on top of a hill and the greenery was breathtaking!

The Hase-Dera Temple

Millions of what I think are considered grave stones…people leave flowers to pay respect (and as you can tell, sometimes they even dress them up!)

A little prayer cave...very very short...we practically crawled through it!!!
This was in the middle of the cave, where you were supposed to be able to stand up...of course, Nick still had to duck!
The tiny little statues all throughout the cave....I couldn't read what these represented (obviously because it was in Japanese) but there was a stand with a box, for anyone to pay money and purchase one of these statues to place in the cave, sort of as a memorial/tribute to someone who has passed away....There were thousands of them!
We think this girl was a model...we saw her several times throughout the day and she had her own paparazzi!
And this is where a Japanese man was taking my picture...haha...silly gaijin!

In Japan, you take the train everywhere!

The train conductors are precise, they carry these watches around their necks and do everything by the exact minute!
My favorite part about the train stations are the vending machines!!! The ice cream in Japan is quite different and I have made it my mission to try them all!

This particular ice cream that I got today was like a breakfast waffle with green tea ice cream filling! Might sound gross, but it was delicious!!!

Big man in a little chair...

Tomorrow is the last day of our orientation classes. We "graduate" then get to get our license and pick up our car! Whoohoo! Yeah for driving on the opposite side of the road!


  1. Great pics and Brittany you are so adorable. Nick, how does it feel to be a giant in a small land? It looks like you had a lot of fun and I had a few wonderful laughs. I would want to take a ballbat to all those statues they worship as God hates this but it is interesting. How could you ever appease them all? Sounds stressful. Nothing would ever be enough. Bad enough trying to please several people but all those "gods"? Jesus made it all so much simpler.

  2. You are both supermodels duh!! Have you looked in the mirror lately? :) Miss you and CAN'T WAIT to come visit!!