Cock-a-doodle doo!
I don’t know what to do.
Nano starts in just a week
And my brain is made of goo.

See what I mean?

Here’s the problem:

I want to tell you all about my trip to Japan, about the things we did, the people we saw, the food we ate. BUT my mind and my notes are all in a mess, my photos are all over the place. I have a lot of sorting out to do first. And I’m still in limbo – half there and half here.

And that’s not all.

NaNoWriMo is only a week away and I want to do it again. I have part of the plot, but there’s plenty more to plan and research.

So I think Japan will have to be put on hold for a while, although I can tell you some random facts.

The trip lasted for 3 weeks and we were kept busy all the time. We saw temples, shrines, museums. We made our own sushi and chopsticks, and were shown how they make sake, paint kimonos, etc. We travelled on trains and buses, and spent a night with families in a village, so we saw how people live. We spent a night in a Buddhist monastery. We saw children and adults perfoming traditional and other music, dance and plays.

We spent three weeks with a group of Israelis – a feat in itself – and our Japanese guide, who didn’t know how to relate to us at first, but was friendly by the end.

Certain sounds are still ringing in my ears. Cuckoos and other bird tweets every time the pedestrain light was green. Arigato gozaimas – thank you – spoken thousands of times a day. And our guide’s “and then” used to join sentences, whether it fitted what she was saying or not.

Please ask if there’s anything in particular you want to know, and I’ll try and answer in another post.

Advertisements
Path up to the monastery

Path up to the monastery

In quaint but comprehensible English, the leaflet from the Ten Thousand Buddhas Monastery provides a lot of information. The main building, the Ten Thousand Buddhas Temple, contains over 12,800 Buddha statues as well as the lacquered and gold-coated body of the founder, Reverend Yuet Kai. There are several other temples and pavilions.

Path up to monastery

Path up to monastery

What it doesn’t say is how many steps you have to climb to get there. No, I didn’t count them, but there were many. Fortunately, we found plenty to look at on the way, and much more when we arrived at the top.

Outside the temples

Outside the temples

.

.

.

.

.

Yuet Kai not only climbed the steps, but between the ages of about 71 and 79, he carried building materials up the mountain together with his disciples.

“Opening hours,” says the leaflet. “9:00 a.m. – 5:30 p.m everyday (except the heavy raining day or with over typhoon signal No. 8 or above is hanged)”

Outside the temples

Outside the temples

It rained the day we were there, but fortunately not heavily enough to close the monastery.

Outside the temples

Outside the temples

After visiting all the fascinating temples, we decided to eat in the small, vegetarian restaurant. We’d read the menu and fancied the spring rolls. I don’t know whether it was because not all the items on the menu were available or because the two women serving didn’t speak a lot of English, but we didn’t get our spring rolls. However the soup, noodles and tea were very tasty. The two women kept filling up our bowls and cups, and stood laughing at us as we ate. It was a little off-putting, but we took it in our stride and smiled back.

Outside the temples

Outside the temples

We didn’t believe this notice.

Monkey business

Monkey business

We also didn’t believe the young people from eastern Europe who told us to beware of the large monkey. After all, we’d climbed up those very steps and hadn’t seen any monkeys. But on the way down, there they were.

Monkeys

Monkeys

Fortunately they were too busy nit-picking to attack us.