Monday, April 14

Hopin' & Wishin'

Today was a bad work day - not for any big reasons, it just was. I was incredibly frustrated and couldn't wait for it to be over. Even the sunshine peeking through the clouds didn't help my mood. Fortunately, it all disappeared when I jumped back into Alice In Wonderland, and followed her on her adventures...and my mood picked up, even once I climbed back out of the rabbit hole for the day.

Yesterday I promised to talk a bit about the temple I visited in Kyoto. We went to Yasaka Temple - one of Kyoto's main temples. The front gate was guarded by two Shishi - protectors of the gods. There was a small marketplace inside the gate and up the paths into the main temple area - jewelry, snacks, food, knick-knacks. The main area had a big pavilion, and the main shrine. At each shrine, there is a big thick cord with a sort-of bell at the top. It is customary to throw some coins in the space behind the cord, bow twice, clap twice, make a wish/request, and then bow again.

We looked around and went to a couple of the smaller shrine - one of the shrines is quite famous for beauty, and Japanese women come to make their wish to be beautiful.

For 200Yen ($2.00), you could get your fortune. Either your 'love fortune' or your 'normal fortune'. Being 3 single girls, we opted for the 'love fortune'. You pick a wooden box, and shake it until a stick slides out the end. The number on the stick corresponds to your fortune; when you give your Y200, you get it. After reading it, you can tie it onto the string grid by a shrine, or keep it.

We walked around and saw some other shrines - art, health, friendship, love. I asked Satomi about the general view of Japanese people towards their religion. Visiting shrines and making wishes is customary, but there are very few Japanese people who follow traditional religious or Buddhist ways.

After the temple, we wandered around the marketplace and down Kyoto's main street. We stopped for an amazing dessert - with brown sugar sauce and jello, matcha ice cream, parfait cake, and whipped yummy (PS - Mom, we're going to have one when we visit Kyoto!!!). After some more wandering, we headed home - and we all slept on the 30 minute trip back...

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