The Time Between Meeting
...and finally leaving is sometimes called falling in love.
My adventure here is more than half over now, and that makes me rather sad. Of course I still have a lot to do before I go, but knowing that the time to leave is coming... I really don`t have the words to express my true affection for Japan. Yet, I know I`ll be back again someday, and I have a lot to get back to in Canada that won`t wait forever.
I`m on a free period, and I know everyone has been dying to hear more about Japan, so here goes. ^-^
My weekend was amazing. Saturday night after I posted, I met one of Okaa-san`s friends, Ken-san. He was so excited to talk to me, told me I was beautiful, and other fun stuff. We talked for a bit, and his energy was really refreshing. He was just so...spirited.
After that, we went bowling. I did horribly, but had a blast anyway. At least there was no me flying down the lane with the ball attached to my fingers this time around. (Which has happened before, for the record.) I love Japan at night...the lights of the big city in the distance, the deep voices of the frogs, the stars and moon, the pure black shadows of the mountains. It`s just so alive. I know I`ve said it before, but my host family has been just simply amazing to me.
Anyway, Sunday morning, we headed off leisurely for Koya-san. While it is a mountain, the name Koya-san is usually used to refer to the alpine basin near the top of said mountain. We drove for a long time, but finally reached the gateway to said basin; we stopped to admire the view from the top...SO high up, and the air was just amazing. Fresh and crisp, but not cold. Got a few photos of the view from the edge, and of Daimon, the giant gate guarding the Western entrance. Oh, so ornate! The colour was a rich vermillion, with carvings of birds and flowers, as well as two large stone warrior guardians. Simply beautiful.
Koya-san was a lovely little town. We parked the car and got out and walked. Stopped at a few temples along the way (there were MANY), and walked through an amazing cemetery. There were stone mausoleums, effigies, shrines EVERYWHERE, nestled amongst ancient, amazing trees. These trees were probably 10 feet around, some of them, and hundreds of feet tall. It was just so peaceful in the cemetery...again, I don`t have words to properly, adquately describe the place. Beautiful is the only one that doesn`t sound cheap - I want to say "gorgeous" but I think that sounds superficial, just a few steps from idiotic Paris Hilton clones who exclaim "Oh, that`s hawt!" The latter has no place in Japan.
Anyway...at the end of the cemetery was a Buddhist retreat/temple. The only word I have for it is breathtaking. As soon as I set foot on the grounds, I felt a profound sense of being, the best I can describe it now was feeling everything at once. The energy of the place was amazing, and the smell of incense everywhere, along with the rhythmic chanting of monks. Again, I don`t have words to describe the beauty of their voices. I watched Minami offer libations of water to effigies of Japanese gods, and then we went to the temple itself. As this was a sacred area, I couldn`t take photographs - which, I wouldn`tve anyway, the essence of being there is not something that can be captured in a photograph. So amazing. Here, I found clues toward my next quest, which again will not be spoken of in a public forum.
After the temple was another onzen (hot spring), which I have also grown to love deeply and will miss when back home in Canada. It`s like a hot bath, only more wonderful...even sitting in a hot tub, while it is "onaji gurai" (around the same thing) is not the thing of being at an onzen itself. My head and heart, however, were still far away from the visit to the temple...
The past two days have been uneventful; there`s volleyball again tonight, and I`m going to Tokyo for the first time tomorrow. However, I`m apparently going to Tokyo not just once, but twice. Basically, my host family had asked me if Espe and I were going to go to Disneyworld in Tokyo. I told them no, as it was too expensive, etcetc. They replied "sou desu ne" ... and promptly started to plan to take me to Disneyworld! They told me not to worry about how expensive it is, blahblahblah. I owe these people my heart and soul. Seriously. This is beyond just being spoiled.
So long story short, I`m returning from Tokyo on Thursday night with Espe. Friday night, I`m departing again for Tokyo. We`re going to stay at the Disney Resort, and return on Sunday. Craziness. But it feels so wonderful, to be adored this much.