|THE DAY IN A NUTSHELL:USA: November 10, 2003: Monday
Japan: November 11, 2003: Tuesday
I woke up in the middle of the night because I’d gone to sleep so early, and eventually I got up and took a shower, then did my hair in cute little buns and put on one of the yukata for the heck of it. I was really sad that I’d missed the chance to hang out in the hotel room with my family for a leisurely evening.
After my family got up, my sister showed me the proper way to wear a yukata (depending on if you’re a man or a woman, it’s worn differently) and helped me adjust its length, and we took some cute pictures and had some tea. Then finally we packed our stuff and checked out of the hotel.
We stopped at a convenience store and a few nice shops while we were wandering around looking for the bus station. I got some melon bread but I didn’t eat it yet. Soon we rode the bus to another part of Kamakura, where the big Buddha is, and when we got off I ate my melon bread. That was very exciting to me.
Finally we made it to the attraction of the area: Daibutsu. He was a HUGE Buddha statue that was hollow inside, and you can go in him if you want. We admired him and shopped in the temple shops (which sold Daibutsu merchandise and little safety charms), and looked at the little attractions like the Buddha’s incense thing and his huge shoes. It was awful and rainy outside, but we managed to have fun.
Next on the agenda was the Hase Kannon temple, where the figure of honor is Kannon, the Bodhisattva of Infinite Mercy. We got to see her and the huge garden of tiny statues called jizo. Those little statues stand for the patron saint of departed children, and if you want to honor a dead child you can go there and put clothes on one of the statues. It’s sad and touching to look at the statues.
There were several other attractions at the Kannon Temple. One was a system of grottos where you could light candles or burn incense toward certain statues for certain results or buy a tiny statue and write your wish on it to leave in the cave. (The grotto was dedicated to Benzaiten, a goddess of beauty and wealth.) Then there was a big wooden holder of some Buddhist scriptures, and you can push it around in one rotation to get wisdom. And of course there was the statue of Kannon herself. We looked at that as well.
There was a cool wall of places to hang wooden plaques with wishes and prayers on them (you could buy a plaque for 500•), and we read some of the other people’s wishes. (Patricia said that she’d once seen one that said, “I wish for my cat to not be constipated.” My mom joked that she would buy one and write on it, “I wish for my 500 • back.”)
We saw a cool graveyard and some nice swimmy fish on some temple grounds, and finally we decided it was lunchtime. We got on the bus again, made it back to the train station, and ate at a cool noodle restaurant near there. I had udon this time, while my mom had tempura. We stayed there way too long, then decided to go on to our next destination: Shibuya.
We went shopping around in Shibuya, including a store called 109. (A mannequin somewhere looked just like me, as you see above.) We saw some cool electronics and whatnot, and then everything started closing so we decided it was time to check out the ramen shop. As an extra bonus, Patricia’s boyfriend was able to take a break from work to come see us, so he met us at the shop too.
Ramen in a ramen
We did sticker pictures again, all four of us. They really love those machines.
Well, after that we shopped a little more, saw some hotels and some strangely-dressed people, and I saw a Japanese bookstore, including the Japanese kids’ section, which of course interested me because that’s my position in my bookstore at home. I didn’t buy anything, though, because . . . I don’t read Japanese.
We rode the train home and I almost fell asleep standing up, it was exhausting! We could have stopped along the way to see if some place had a DDR game, but I couldn’t have played, so I passed it up. We went home and crashed.