Monday, January 24, 2005

Kamakura

So on my day off today Shuto who plays Romeo took me to Kamakura which is about an hour south of Tokyo and dotted with dozenz of temples and shrines. We only hit 3 sights (and that took over 4 hours) and it was well worth the trip. It was incredible to see a side of Japan outside of Tokyo, and the trip made me even more excited to go to Kyoto.

note: pictures from this excursion will be on my website www.JoeCalarco.net soon.

The first stop was the Great Buddha. Great indeed. The pictures of it can't convey the surreal experience of first coming upon it. Its sooo huge (almost 44 feet high and weighing 121 tons.) You can actually go inside the Buddha which we did. I took a lot of pictures, only a few which will appear on the site.

Then we moved on to the Hasedera Temple which is only a short walk from the Great Buddha. In Hase Kannon on the grounds contains a gold leaf statue with 11 heads. Its unbelievably gorgeous but you're not allowed to take pictures of in the temple. The Benten- kutsu cave was beautiful and haunting --- you have to duck so as not to hit your head. There are some pix of little tiny buddha figures in a latter part of the cave that people write their names on with their wishes.

We then went and had some lunch. Noodles and shrimp.... yummm.... and some warm green tea which was very welcome with the freezing cold weather. I know its nothing compared to the blizzard conditions youre all enduring in the Northeast but it was pretty cold and rainy. It started out as a gorgeous light snow but turned to rain by the end of the day. Actually right now there is a gorgeous snow fall outside my hotel window. I'm on the 22nd floor and by the time it hits street level it is rain but up here its gorgeous.

We then went to the Hokokuji Temple which is quite a bit aways from the other two sites we went to. Shuto really wanted me to see this temple and I'm soooo glad he did. It is a Zen Temple and even though halls themselves were closed, the grounds themselves are lovely, the most unbelievable part being the bamboo grove/garden. I took pictures but they don't do it justice. It was unreal and sooo beautiful. We started to leave the grounds twice and two times I had to turn around and go back and walk around through the bamboo and just inhale the amazing scent and just look up, up, up.... The feel of the bamboo was also an incredible, truly, sensual experience. We also sat and drank tea looking out at the bamboo.... Beautiful.

After that it was getting to be late afternoon, and we were both a little tired, plus Shuto had a scheduled haircut for the show. Hokokuji was an amazing way to end the visit. I'm so glad we went there last.

I will write more later. It was incredible and makes me want to see more of Japan. I'd love to come back in the Spring or Fall.

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