|Japan 2: The Glico man cometh.
||[Jun. 17th, 2009|03:57 pm]
Welcome to part 2 of my moon trip extravaganza! As a warning this is going to be a little more image heavy than the last post, so be forewarned! Actually I'm cutting this into another part, so its not TOO bad...
After the first week of getting my moon legs and shopping around and buying video games that only exist on the moon, we set out to see some of the local sites in Takarazuka itself.
One of the fascinating things about the city is that despite how compact everything is, just a short 20-30 minute walk and you're basically in the mountains. Many of the castles like Himeiji and Osaka castle had the same feeling as well. It's like when you go deep into central park in New york. Even though you are in the middle of the city, it feels like you leave everything for while. The couple temples/shrines behind Takarazuka were really nice as the grounds were spectacular, and everything was very quiet (despite the surprising number of people) even though it was so close to the city. The places we saw were Kiyoshikoujin Seichou-ji and Nakayamadera.
It's just a gorgeous place. And yeah there's fish and turtles in those ponds.
One of my favorite things about all the shrine and temples is that each one seems to have it's own little "quirk" as it were. They all have some little fun activity for you to do for good luck. Just like at Todaji temple you have the pillar with the hole the size of Buddha's nostril. This temple has this statue outside, and right in front of the water that you use to cleanse yourself (wash your hands and mouth) before approaching the shrine/temple. The fun thing to do here is after washing your hands, you take a large scoop of water and try to hit the statue in the face with it. :) If you can hit his face it's supposed to be good luck. (you have to be careful though as there is a staircase right next to it and you can accidentally hit people coming down with water) I managed to hit mostly his upper chest, but I'm pretty sure some went to his face. A few older locals had come by while we were there and wanted to show us how it was done. This really nice old lady scooped up some water and reared back and threw it, which landed at the statues feet. She said "wait" and reared back again making a big show like she was throwing a football. She tried a couple times and admitted defeat, but it was fun. Of all the people in the country that tried to reach out to us the most and just have fun, it was the old folks.
Unfortunately the botanical gardens behind the temple were shut down on account of wild boars, or bad translations, and we couldn't see them. The view from up top though was spectacular, and gave a great panorama of Takarazuka itself.
Jon and I tried to go see some Bunraku theater on the south end of Awaji island, but had no idea just how hard (and expensive) it is to get to the south end of Awaji island. The trip wasn't a complete loss however, as we had a blast on the Taco Ferry. We left on the ferry from Akashi which as far as I could tell is famous for its Tako (octopus). It even has it's own variation on one of my favorite dishes, Takoyaki, simply called Akashiyaki. Even though there wasn't much point to it (taxi's are a scam) the ferry ride was great!
The world's longest suspension bridge.
And you could get beer out of the vending machine on the boat!
This trip kinda evolved into, "Where's all the wacky places to drink beer?"
Locations we've had beer on this trip:
1. In the apartment
2. On the street from a vending machine
3. In a Kabuki theater
4. By the river shooting off fireworks
5. On a Boat
6. On a Plane
7. On a Train
8. At a castle
There is little to no stigma for drinking beer in Japan. It is pretty much just like drinking a can of coke. No one seems to care when or where you drink.
Akashi also has the "Taco Family" with many members including what we guessed was Rebel Taco, who is cool and smokes, and came from the wrong side of the tracks.
The view from the top of Akashi Castle Grounds.
We went and saw Akashi castle, which was more like, "The place akashi castle used to be" but they turned the location into a large park, that was absolutely beautiful.
Cutting off here, join us next time for "That squeaky Ni-jo!" or, "Night of a million-zillion tori!"