I arrived to my room at around 3am last night and did not officially go to sleep till 4am. Saying that I slept in till 9:30 and lazied around in my room till 11. In that hour and a half I dozed off, spaced out, showered, semi-cleaned, talked to my parents and ate strawberry cream oatmeal (hooray for not toast!). Now that I live next door to Riley, I can knock on the wall to wake him up rather than sending 10 text messages. (I did not knock on the wall, but I was tempted to).
At around 11:30, Riley, Sumire and I headed out to Genkoan Temple (or so we thought). I thought the temple was toward the University. (I was wrong). Anyways, before we figured out that I was wrong we stopped to have lunch in some pasta place. I had seafood creme pasta and it was pretty okay, the sauce was a bit weird and I honestly did not know how I felt about it, but the seafood portion was great.
After lunch, we attempted to find Genkoan Temple and realised that I had my directions completely wrong. So we got on a bus that at the time we thought would take us to right place (it obviously did not). Sumire by then was tired and thirsty so we entered a convenience to get something to drink. I got a cherry juice and it was fantastic!
Like I said, Sumire was tired, so she got a taxi and then we headed off (finally after an hour) to Genkoan Temple. Except that when we got to the temple the taxi driver decided to get off and become our tour guide. Why…I still don’t understand why….Anyways, yes a random japanese taxi driver decided to become our tour guide and talk about all the plants, stones, windows, floors and stuff in the temple. It was pretty cool, but all three of us were still very blown away and confused as to why he was doing this.
I am grateful that this happened to us, because if not we would have missed a lot of the beauties the temple had to offer. For example. we would have never known that the painted screen doors in the temple were the real deal, not refurbished stuff that most temples have. The Taxi Man also pointed to us a rock turtle in the Genkoan garden that when it rains the area surrounding it fills up and it looks like the turtle is swimming in a pound.
Genkoan temple is famous for two things (or at least for me). First it is has two windows in its main hall. One is round and the other is square. The Window of Realization is the round, implying Zen maturity, completeness and enlightenment. The Window of Delusion is the square one, implying confusion, ignorance, and immaturity, or the life of human suffering.
Then there is ceiling in the main hall that is famous for being its crimson color. The wood for it was brought from Hideyoshi’s Momoyama Castle in Fushimi and had been the floor, stained with the blood of the warriors who died in a bloody battle. The warriors committed honorable suicide inside the building rather than getting captured and killed by the enemy, and their bodies stayed there for several months that it stained the wood.
|Bloody foot print from the past
|Bloody body print from the past
It was overall a really cool temple, and having a tour guide (that I could semi-understand) made it even better, because all I really knew about the temple was the windows and the bloody foot print. The Taxi Man pointed out every bloody print on the ceiling, some that I would have completely missed.
After we were done with Genkoan Taxi Man took us to another temple (one I never heard of before), and once again…became a tour guide. He took us to Imamiya, and from what I understood from his speeches it is mostly dedicate to women and it is mostly run by women, but the head priest is a man.
Now something that began happening around this time is that Taxi Man started having uncontrollable gas. And he was so open and cool about it…Riley, Sumire and I were dying of laughter, and trying very hard to contain it. We were just so amused by the farting old taxi tour guide man. He was so sweet. Afterwards he took us to eat the temple’s specialized mochi which is soaked in white miso soup. They were so sweet delicious, it was amazing, I was a bit worried since I have had such a on and off experiences with mochi. And we had cold creme tea to accompany our white miso mochi.
Next Taxi Man took us to Ginkakujin (The Silver Pavilion), but this time he did not continue us with us. He dropped us off near the pavilion and only charged us half of what the taxi ride would have actually cost us. Japanese people are so humble and kind. We need more people like the Taxi Man in the world.
In Ginkakuji we strolled around the path, giggling about our experience with the taxi man (and me taking pictures and vlogging on the side). We were acting like children to be honest. Ginkakuji is exactly like Kinkakujin but less gold, and A LOT less people strolling around, which was amazing. I feel the less people there are in a temple the more you actually enjoy it.
Once we finished exploring Ginkakuji we set forth to go home, but the bus we needed got cancelled for the day, (we still don’t know why) so we took the bus that took us all the way to Kyoto Station and from there we took the correct bus to the accommodations. I took a 10 minute power nap before heading to Teremachi to start by souvenir shopping for everyone back home and trying to figure out how to pack everything.
For dinner I had baseball theme fruit milk, reheated pasta and pineapple ice cream.
Tomorrow, hopefully, will be just as action packed.