26 avril 2008

Koya San to Tokyo – from zen to crazy!

. A bell sound, then silence. Five other distinct sounds break the silence of Mount Koya. It’s six o’clock, time for the morning service. Out of the room, it’s cool and windy. We kneel in the main temple in complete silence and observe the ceremony. Inside, incense and candles are burning. Few monks arrive but we can’t see them. We hear their prayers in forms of lamentations at first. Then silence. A beautiful voice starts chanting. A drum, rhythmic beats, the chanting continues. A third monk recites mantras at the same time.... [Lire la suite]
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24 avril 2008

Koya San

. At around 7am Mrs. Tani is getting busy preparing breakfast in the kitchen. ‘Rita-saaan’ she calls out for me to say goodbye and offer us a souvenir gift: a box of 2 nicely designed chopsticks. I don’t know what to say when faced with such kindness. Koya San is our next destination. A succession of transportation means is required to get there: we catch a bus, to jump on a train, grab a metro to take another train, and eventually board a cable car that gets us to the famous city. Koya San (Mont Koya) is a raised... [Lire la suite]
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22 avril 2008

Magnificent temples

Kyoto is cloudy and particularly cold today. This is our last day and we keep the best for last. Sanjusangen-Do attracts lots of Asian and western tourists. The venerated Kannon surrounded by 1000 statues of Buddha is a unique sight. This is a new Buddhist deity for us, but seems very popular in Japan. It is said that the founder of Canon was inspired by Kannon and has merged cameras with the adored deity. In formidable precision, the 1000 golden statues (with around 36 hands each) stand on... [Lire la suite]
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20 avril 2008

Delicious food

We wake up to the sound of water dripping from the trees. The small garden next to our room is soaked. Rainy day. We take our time, waiting for the rain to stop. Finally we take our umbrellas… Daitokuji temple is almost empty. It’s like a small town of old houses, beautiful trees and…small temples. Stoneways aligned with fine sorts of trees and plants lead to individual houses or small temples. The rain continues without a halt and we hear prayers in the background but we cannot enter. Shintoism is the most... [Lire la suite]
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18 avril 2008

Nara

Nara is a small town very rich in history and tradition. Japan’s first real capital, it is only second to Kyoto as a repository of Japan’s cultural legacy. Al though brief (in 710, for a mere 75 years) the Nara period was extraordinarily vigorous in its absorption of influences from China, a process that laid the foundations of Japanese culture and civilisation. The adoption of Buddhism as a national religion made a lasting impact on government, arts, literature and architecture.  The lady at the tourist... [Lire la suite]
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17 avril 2008

Beautiful Geishas

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16 avril 2008

Encounter with a Geisha

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13 avril 2008

Enjoying Kyoto's cultural marvels

Mrs. Tani has prepared fresh little green bread-like bums on the table. My guessing bite uncovers a dark brown paste on the inside. Strange funny taste I thought, but managed to finish it. Black bean paste and jams are widely used here with what we think is green tea bread. Bottoms lightly sore from yesterday, we ride our bikes along the water canal. Ginkakuji temple is under renovation and we’re only able to enjoy the vast and well maintained garden. Workers are busy modelling the white sand in waves and not so obvious... [Lire la suite]
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09 avril 2008

Kyoto

. We wake up ready to jump on our feet to discover Kyoto: it’s 3 AM... Too bad. We start working on our itinerary instead until we fall asleep again and wake up around 9. Mrs. Tani, has already prepared us breakfast by humble western standards: tea (green of course), bread, butter and jam. Mrs. Tani is an nice and determined old lady who has started hosting tourists after the government’s request to alleviate the accommodation situation during  the 1964 Osaka Olympic games. She has continued doing so ever since. We move to... [Lire la suite]
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07 avril 2008

Getting there...

. The schedules of the past few days were very full: I was in Amman for a week and came back only yesterday while Jérémie was busy preparing and choosing designs for our house and garden with the different people supposed to carry out the works. We barely had enough time to pack and close the house. We were both working until the last minute and then a phone call: ‘are you ready?’ Next thing we’re on the plane but our minds still so busy and a feeling of having forgotten something… that we’re going on holiday in JAPAN! ... [Lire la suite]
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