Japan Spring 2013

Wordless(ish) Weekend #39

A few words: Back in April, we stayed in the wonderful Shojoshin-In in Koyasan, Japan. It's a beautiful Buddhist Temple and we were served a vegetarian feast that tasted like it was made by magical woodland creatures. Early in the morning we attended prayers and sat quietly while the monks chanted, freezing air blowing puffs of condensation from their nose and mouth. We cleansed our hands with some powder before entering the temple, and now whenever I smell curry powder I am taken back.
Our wonderful host at Shojoshin-In - If you are ever in Japan, please stay here, it is such a great experience!
Kitty
xo
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Caturday - Mahō Neko

It was a cool night in Kyoto and we'd just finished a lovely feast of Okonomiyaki. As we wandered through the Geisha District, we spotted a cute white cat with a couple of Japanese guys standing close by, attempting to show it some love and cuddles. The cat seemed a little bit stand-offish, and I hesitated in approaching it, because you know, sometimes cats have had E-NOUGH and want people to leave them alone. The next thing that happened was hilarious. I probably said something in stilted Japaned along the lines of "kawaii" (cute) and "neko" (cat) and crouched down to see if the kitty would approach me for a pet. Not only did the cat approach me, it ran under my cape and climbed up onto my lap, snuggled down and started purring furiously!
The two Japanese guys were amazed. We got talking (me awkwardly crouched on the street with a cat inside my coat) and found out they they were visiting from Tokyo and one was a web designer, the other a motion graphics designer (like me!). They spoke English well and offered to show us around Tokyo when we returned in a couple of weeks. With that, we dubbed the cat "Mahō Neko" which means "Magic Cat" and thanked him/her for the introduction to some lovely new friends. We met up later on in Tokyo and had a lovely time, thanks to Mahō Neko we have lovely new friends in Tokyo! (I love how defiant Mahō Neko looks in this last picture! So cute it brings a tear to my eye :)
Kitty
xo

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Wordless Weekend #34 - Hiroshima + Miyajima

A few images from our very fast visit to Hiroshima and Miyajima. We did not have a chance to explore Hiroshima as we arrived late at night and departed early the next morning. We did enjoy a ferry ride out to Miyajima to see the famous floating Torii gate. It was simply beautiful and hard to imagine that this city full of friendly people was the scene of such horror so many years ago. Photos by C.

Kitty
xo
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A Perfect Day (Bike Riding In Kyoto)

Have you ever had a day that was just so perfect, you know that you'll remember it forever? The photos  in this post are from one of the best days of my life. Nothing particularly spectacular happened, unless you count riding a bicycle down the river in Kyoto under a soft rain of cherry blossoms spectacular? Which I do, obviously. Routine for some, memorable for me. I should note at this point that C thoroughly concurs, if not leads the march on this one.
If you've been following our Japan journey, you might have noticed that we had a lot of drizzly, cold weather. This day stood out as an unusually warm, sunny day, and we decided to rent a couple of bicycles from our hostel and meet Gerard for a little bike ride. It was the first time I'd been on a bicycle since I was about 12-13 years old, so I was a little... concerned.
You know the saying, that one about riding a bike, but I wasn't sure it applied to me. Add my cycling inexperience to a foreign city, little laneways, cars, bikes and many pedestrians. I was a bit scared at first! I followed Gerard and C, who were much more confident than I, and was worried I'd fall behind. Soon, though, we took a little ramp off the side of the road and emerged onto the paved walk/bikeway that ran alongside the river.
We rode for miles along that river. The wind whipped my hair, I tinkled my little bell to warn pedestrians of my wobbly approach and we took in the sights and smells of this beautiful day. The cherry blossoms were in full bloom, and on every soft breeze, their petals drifted down like snowflakes.
We stopped by a canal for a rest and decided it was high time we created magic with the mountains of petals on the ground. Not very graceful, but oh well. Sometimes excitement and joy overtakes grace! I have some of these precious petals in my notebook, they fade so quickly but I'll always think of this day when I look at their fragile faded wisps.
(a perfect little house in the middle of the city)
C and I rode home alone, it was dark along the river and we gasped with delight every time the huge-bodied bugs buzzed down toward our heads as we flew down that river in the cool night air. It was impossible to wipe the grins off our faces and we vowed to do it again the next day. Of course the next day brought with it flooding thunderstorms, and the perfect day was made even more perfect in it's rarity and goodness.

Kitty
xo
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