Friday, March 13, 2009


13 Mar 2009 – Osaka and Kyoto Japan – Now that we are back north of the equator things are much cooler. Temp is about 50 for the high. Brian is enjoying using his limited Japanese – amazing how much you forget it 45 years (also amazing how much you remember). Brian was here for a year in 1966-67 with the Air Force and took a couple of semesters of conversational Japanese while there. Overall impression this time is one of much greater prosperity than in the 60s and things are much cleaner. Before Japanese were very fastidious about their personal cleanliness and their homes, but were total litterbugs in public. Not so now. We toured several famous shrines and temples (Buddhist and Shinto) and had a traditional Japanese lunch at a restaurant with a beautiful garden that we walked through after lunch. The Rioanji temple was built in the 1500s and has a famous stone garden – an enclosed garden with raked gravel and a few “islands” of large rocks and moss-covered mounds. The temple is on some acreage and every square inch is full of manicured gardens surrounding a large pond in the center with a resident stork. Mary had fun souvenir shopping and Brian had a delicious ice cream cone with two flavors of ice cream – green tea and cherry blossom. The tour lasted from 0800-1830. We were so tired that Mary even skipped dinner --- had a shower and crashed. She said she was “shrined out”. Brian had them send a sandwich up to our cabin and crashed soon after that. After all we have a tour of Hiroshima tomorrow morning.
Clyde enjoyed the spiritual side of things and meditated at several Buddhist temples. He was disappointed in the Shinto religion however. It is an animistic religion and has many deities from the natural world. Since Wombats are not native to Japan, he did not qualify to be a deity :-(

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