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Under blossom we made our vows

Being that the new thing was indeed shrines, the following day was spent in Kamakura, more or less the capital during the Kamakura Period (everyone got a go at one time). That’s pretty much what there is there: shrines and temples. And moss. Many of the temples have very beautiful gardens, full of more cherry trees. And more moss. We walked about, we washed out hands, we washed our money, we saw a large Buddha statue whose house was washed away in a tsunami a couple of hundred years ago. The wood work on the temples is all made without joiners, the wood carved to slot together, and this is sadly a dying art. I was also interested to see differences in Japanese Buddhism to those I had seen on my previous travels when on the trans-Mongolian railway (an adventure that unfortunately predates this journal). In Mongolia, the dominant feature of temples was the prayer wheel, but I saw only one in Kamakura. The Japanese have the male and female lions at the gates, as in the Forbidden City in Beijing, and in both the male has a ball (representing the world, as I recall) under its paw. In China, the female has a cub under the paw it is magically feeding through its claws, where in Japan the female also has a ball and the cub is between the legs, standing up.

Another feature of Japan I had hoped to see was the komusō monks, the ones which wear the basket on their head to suppress all ego, and which the bad guy Yagyu clan dressed up as in Lone Wolf and Cub. Disappointingly, this was not to be, and Carly has not seen them in all her years there.

There is a strange type of Japanese lemonade where the bottle is sealed with a marble, which is then bashed into the bottle and then sits in a special cradle inside the neck while drinking, and then the somehow repressurised for re-use. Erm… that story didn’t really go anywhere… so… the end.

The day was ended by meeting with Meg and her mum for tepanyaki. This was one of these fabulous international encounters where you have a meaningful and engaging time with someone with whom you cannot converse at all, and the matter of language doesn't matter in the least. And, I like tepanyaki. The end

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