Monday, March 31, 2008

Japanese Shrines and Temples

Ah, now that we are back in Xiamen it's amazing how busy and behind you can get with only a few days away, but we are slowing catching up and hopefully we will be fully back to normal within another day or two....

But first we have to give a final recap on our quick tour through Tokyo, where between drinking at great little watering holes, stuffing ourselves with sushi, enjoying the opening series in baseball, and taking the bullet train to see Mount Fuji, we did manage to squeak in a few shrines and temples.

Those two photos are from Senso-Ji, a beautiful temple surrounded by tiny markets selling all sorts of trinkets and assorted junk. In the temple itself, for only 100 yen (about $1), we could shake a stick out of a large can and then open a drawer corresponding to a number on the stick to get a fortune... Tina and I both got bad fortunes but Matt managed to get a good fortune, lucky him.
The next set of photos are all from the Meiji-Jingu shrine, which is in the middle of Tokyo, and surrounded by a large park. It was a stunningly clear and warm day which made wandering through the parks and then the wide open plaza of the shrine really amazing. Maybe because we were there during the week, but it was fairly empty and incredibly peaceful, another side to the hustle, noise, and neon of the Tokyo that we spent the rest of our time touring.

Japan was a great trip, somewhat surprising to both of us but we aren't really sure what we were expecting. It's got some great Asian roots with the temples and shrines, but it really runs like a major city, very clean and precise. As Tina listed a few days ago, it really is the exact opposite of the world that we are currently living in, and as she also said, we've started to get used to the hectic mayhem that is China.

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