Saturday, June 25, 2011

chopsticks: a futile exercise in dexterity

Yes, I still suck at using chopsticks.

We are now in the city of Kochi - google it - where we are visiting my cousin, Jarra, who is living and working in a town called Nahari, which is an hour or so south of the city.  Today we went rafting in the mountains which was amazing.  The company, Happy Raft, is owned by an Australian expat, and is run by a crew of Aussies, New Zealanders and hippy Japanese blokes.  It was bloody good fun and now I'm pretty sure I just want to go rafting everyday for the rest of the trip and give up on sights and touristy stuff. But anyway, it was fun and we also saw the oldest cedar tree in Japan - and probably the world - which is doing a fine job at 3,000 years old - take that, Christ.  Tomorrow we are going to see Kochi Castle in the morning and then we are going to the markets in the afternoon.

To back track a little...

On Tuesday we went to Nara Park, which is about an hour by train from Kyoto, for a day trip.  The park is an important spiritual place for the Japanese, and is filled with temples and - wait for it - sacred deer, live ones, as in actual little bambis running around the place. I freaking loved it.  And made inappropriate comments about venison stew.

So we spent the day walking around in the blistering heat, looking at the temples and cooing at the deer.  In the evening we went to the district of Gion in Kyoto.  This is where the Geisha's are - or were? - and is a very historic place and very beautiful. So, and all in all, it was a great day.  Until it was upstaged by Wednesday...

Wednesday we caught an early train out of Kyoto to the suburb/town of Inari, where we went to the Fushimi-Inari Shrine.  Anyone who had seen the film 'Memoirs of a Geisha' will know this shrine, the rest of you should jump on google quick smart.  But basically it's a collection of these orange arches - I don't know the proper name of them, sorry Shinto - and they line a path that leads up the mountain and the path is dotted with countless shrines, they are acutally everywhere and almost stacked on top of each other.  All in all I think the walk was about 5km and it was totally amazing. My absolute highlight of Japan, hands down, I don't care what we do for the rest of the trip. 

Actually, I'll probably change that statement after we go to the Gibhli Museum in Tokyo which I am looking forward to as only a nerd can.

So that's the bare essentials of what we've been up to for the last couple of days, though needless to say, its been filled with a thousand other thoughts, sights, impressions and experiences - I'm just to lazy to write them.

So, goodnight unto you all.
Miss you and love you.

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