For winter break a couple of my wonderful friends in the Young Adult Service Corp and I went on a crazy trip. Nicole and Kathleen made it safely to Nagoya on the 30th with only a few little hiccups. Little did we know that these hiccups would set the pace for the rest of the trip. Here is a little summary of the adventure.
Things that we did:
|Osu Kannon Temple just minutes into 2012|
We were among the first people to pray in a temple in 2012. We also got our Omikuji, which is basically a fortune for the upcoming year. According to mine, this year will be one for the books! On New Year’s Day we were invited to one of my fellow teacher’s houses to eat delicious traditional food. Later on that day we helped out a bit at Takidashi (which is the soup kitchen that I work at). During the week leading up to and the week of New Year’s they put on special events. Every day one of the organizations (that usually helps out on Tuesdays or Fridays) prepares entertainment during the day and food for the evening. It’s a great organization. Even though it is in Japanese please check out the link to their website http://sasashima.org/.
|Memorial to the children victims of the Atomic bomb|
The next day we woke up really early to get on an eight hour train to Hiroshima. The train ride was exhausting but we got a lot of time to talk and see more of the country. That night Nicole and I wandered around the beautiful illumination in the city. The next morning we headed out to the Peace Memorial Museum. For us, the Peace museum was a must see. It was overwhelming but well worth it. We learned a lot more about WWII and the events leading up to it. The museum did a great job of showing every side of the war. While I have conflicting opinions about that piece of history, I now feel as though I have a better understanding.
|The gates of Itsukushima Shrine in Miyajima|
After the museum we went Miyajima. We were told it was one of the best views of Japan. Itsukushima Shrine is on the Miyajima island just outside of Hiroshima. The gates to this temple are in the water and when tide is high it appears as though they are floating. After all the pictures were taken and lunch was finished we headed out to Kyoto.
In Kyoto we saw Rokuon-ji Temple and Ryoanji Temple. Also my friends Makiko and Mitsuru showed us around Gion, the Geisha district. We saw a woman dressed as a Geisha which fulfilled my friend Kathleen’s lifelong dream. Although it was debated whether or not she was a real one. For the sake of my friend we are counting it as an official Geisha sighting. After we said our goodbyes to Nicole, Makiko and Mitsuru so kindly drove us back to Nagoya.
Things that some might say went wrong on the great trip…
|The very helpful Station master that helped find my luggage.|
While on this great adventure we missed subways by mere minutes. We had found out the day of our journey that the cheap tickets we originally wanted were no longer available for purchase. I also left my bag of clothes on a train. This led to us sitting in a very cold train station for two hours while they called all the stations in search of the backpack. Luckily I got it back two days after the trip thanks to my friends Makiko and Mitsuru and the wonderful train station masters. At one point I put us on a train that took us 30 minutes in the wrong direction. Nicole’s bag broke which caused her to stuff all of the contents of her backpack into an already overstuffed suitcase. We got caught in a snow storm on the way back to Nagoya. So a drive that would have taken two and half hours normally, took us six hours.
With all of that being said every time something went wrong on the trip something good would happen. We met many people and had many conversations that we wouldn’t have had otherwise. In the end the trip was a success. I am more than grateful for the time that I shared with Nicole and Kathleen. We brought the New Year in with great stories that we shall never forget.
|Rock garden at Ryoan-ji Temple|
|Atomic Bomb Dome|
|Iluminiation in Hiroshima|
|Deer in Miyajima|