Monday, October 09, 2006

69 Photos and a Tribute to Hawaii

With my ultra cheap memory card, 69 photos a day is what I can cover. I have maxed out every day that I have been here. My ritual is to save and store the photos on my computer, delete the old ones on the memory card, and then proceed to do it all again the following day. So, last night I noticed some themes around here. One was Hawaiian stores and the other was Pachinco (sp?). A small trip to the Southern Beach in Chigasaki (named after a famous Japenese band Southern Ole' Stars) and Kamakura made this abundantly clear. The stores screamed, "We like Hawaii!" as the streets were littered with stores like Rikki Rikki Deli, Hawaiian resturants, and Hawaiian music filtered their way out of small business stores. When asked, "Why all the Hawaiian themes?" a young man said that they believed this area had many commonalities as it is known for surfing, is laid back, and looks similar. I agree. So here is how my day started when we meet today.
Jokenji Temple: A trip down the backroads did remind me of the remote areas of Hawaii. Small streets lead us to an alley where we had to make way towards the temple. Here are some photos. I had to include the little girl. She was just precious.

The owner of this historic Japanese home was eager to let us into the house to view and take pictures. Our tour guide said these are very rare, and we were very lucky to go inside. The outside roof was made out of straw (Hawaiian hut looking).
Chigasaki City Museum of Art: We couldn't take any photos, but the museum workers took out old posters and offered them to us free of charge. I grabbed all the posters related to children's literature. I believe they had an exhibit on this.

Southern Beach: Photos speak for themselves. I had to do the corny thing and take this picture...

The whole surfing vibe was well represented including an appropriate amount of fit, active runners making their way down the sandy path. There were more people surfing here than witnessed in California and Hawaii. All were men and they seemed to have a better handle on it.

Lunch: Here's a picture. You got a ticket for your shoe placement, and this was the kind of establishment where you sat down on the mats. This is a typical meal and typical arrangement you might find in a resturant. The rice had seaweed in it. It had a salty taste and was quickly eaten first. I've almost gotten to the point where I have stopped asking, "Now, what is this?" Just eat it.

Kamakura/Great Buddah: Next we were off to Kamakura to see the second largest Buddah. To demonstrate its size, imagine that the head has 636 hair ringlets. Each one is much bigger than your head. Pictures can't capture its size. It was much bigger than I was anticipating. Here again is a picture. Their were "famous" dove cookies that we were told we must try. I thought the random ice cream flavors like chestnut, cherry blossom, and sweet potato were more intriging.

Hase Temple: I was thinking, "Not another temple," but this turned out to be the most beautiful and resulted in the most photos. Of interest were two men who were straight out of high school who decided they would travel around the world for a year. These were not elite, rich kids. They used an internet site to locate people who essentially let them "bum" at willing homes for short periods of time. They were on month three. As the list of places they had been and are planning to visit was relayed, I just couldn't imagine being brave enough to attempt this right after high school. I bet it makes college look like baby work after an experience like that for a year.

Pictures of the actual temples did not allow photos. I think this one was okay because I didn't see any signs (and it was far away). There was one that I could have stared at all day. It was something out of Indiana Jones. So beautiful. I watched as a mother taught her son how to properly pray.
Tomorrow: Meet the Mayor of Chigasaki, Superintendent of the Board of Education, and a visit to Yokohama National University.