Japan Email #9 Hokusai and Kurashiki
Dear Friends and Family,
Seems that many people enjoyed those Miyajima posts. Miyajima is considered to be one of the 3 most scenic sights /sites in Japan. Certainly, it was one of our visual highlights. We loved it. A little like time travel / other dimensional travel. I referred in my last blog to some of the temples on Mt. Misen being hundreds of years old. Sacred Sites web page says: Long before Buddhism came to Japan in the 5th century AD, Shinto sages lived as hermits in the mountain's forested hills. So that's over 1500 years ago.
As mentioned, we are back. Pretty jet-lagged; slept from 8 pm to 11 pm, then up until around 5:00 am, then another sleep until around 9 am. A full day of work, playing catch up, and here we are.
Thought I would add here some responses from some of our readers. One is a lovely poem, or part of his poem, from our friend, sculptor (amongst other talents) Mark Wholey, and the other are further comments and some corrections about Hokusai from Kaoru, our guide at the Edo-Tokyo Museum. As you will see, she is very well-informed and her English is very good. As so many of you are artists and interested in the arts, I thought you would find it engaging. Also, I am jet-lagged and don't really have that much to say about Kurashiki, which was lovely, but was a little too touristic, reminded us of a Japanese Carmel.
I am the setting sun. Glass of sunset in hand. Walking with you two down Miyajima, fresh colors out of a crayon box.
Getting to look around half a world away. Feel the temperature in autumn. Taste the air from the sea. Sense the crunch under foot. The serene beauty of pagodas and shrines along the way. Torii blessing on you: Farnsie and Era. And us by proxy. Thank you.
Excerpted from an email written by Mark Wholey.
Mark's a good friend and forgiving, so I wrote this before specifically getting his permission. We did get it this morning. Also got an okay from Kaoru.
Well, we certainly had the best time ever in Japan. I don't see how we could have enjoyed it more. Thank you, Kaoru.
Uh-oh, the trouble two Westerners can create. Took a train to Kurashiki, which involved departing from Hiroshima, transferring at Okayama, and continuing along a smaller line to Kurashiki. We were given a series of 3 tickets which we were supposed to put into the machine all at once, but we didn't realize that and Don put his tickets in sequentially. Somehow, the ticket machine malfunctioned (probably unheard of) and Don's tickets were not returned to him.
At first the ticket booth officials found it a little hard to believe; I think the machine rarely if ever malfunctions. Finally, they took the machine apart and with no little effort eventually did find Don's tickets. The whole spectacle was pretty amusing, was probably embarrassing for the officials (Don loved seeing the inside of the machine) and took maybe 5 minutes. Good thing, as we had another train to catch.
We staggered on our way. We were still almost crippled after our walk down Miyajima, especially when we had to go down stairs or a downward slope. The guidebook I had (The Rough Guide) described it as a pleasant walk over Mt. Misen. Maybe for a young Shinto sage. I think The Rough Guide does cater to the mostly younger set. Or maybe they never actually walked the walk themselves.