We stopped by to meet the gang at Allan's office, the checked out the U.S.S. Blue Ridge, flagship of the 7th Fleet. It's currently in dry dock and painted a very drab burgundy. Allan told me it's the primer color. I knew that, I saw Operation Petticoat!
Already wet, we cabbed it to the Senso-Ji, a seven hundred year old Buddhist temple where Vicki purchased a fortune.
This is a view from the bullet train. I like that twisted building. Normally you can see Mt. Fuji, but we were on the wrong side of the train going to Kyoto and there was too much fog during the ride back. That's too bad, because it really is a tourist attraction.
We stopped at tourist infomation in the train station and got a map and step-by-step instructions to get to our three destinations, complete with travel times by bus.
After Kinkakuji (Golden Palace), we took a walk through Gion, a traditionally built and maintained area within Kyoto. I believe Kyoto itself is a fairly traditional Japanese city, definitely more so than Tokyo.
On our way to Kiyomisu, we came across this young Maiko. She's a Geisha trainee. There were three walking together very slowly. It's very feminine movement, plus the shoes make it difficult to move too fast.
The country is filled with temples and shrines, though there are considerably more temples, meaning there are more Buddhists.
Back at the bottom, after some browsing, we came across these Japanese girls in kimono, and knew we needed a photo with Joe. He spent some time every day pointing out pretty girls, and about every fifth one that we passed got the nod from Joe. Allan was happy to look, but just for corroboration.
The oldest city in Japan is Nara, about 40 minutes from Kyoto by train. The oldest wooden structure in Japan is the Todai-ji (temple) in Nara.
That's where we were headed when we were waylaid by at least one hundred deer wandering the streets and doing what can only be called panhandling. They are looking for handouts, and there at the left is a vendor selling cookies. The deer are your best friends if you have cookies.
The town seem to be pretty proud of their deer as you see by the manhole cover below. In Yokosuka, we have things like trumpets and ships. It's a port town, but the public art is very musical in theme.
With the deer for company, we walked about 2 km. to the temple, and look at the size of it. Inside was one large area with no division.
Up close, some of it looked worn, but it's in great shape for it's age. The trip took the better part of a day, since we petted and fed the deer and stopped for lunch, Japanese style Italian. Then a quick stop in a shoe store that had black boots in the window.
See what I mean? They aren't just friendly, they're like your family pet. People can't resist them.
Japanese students take alot of field trips. They are pretty regular visitors to historic sites. And of course they are in uniform. These girls could be from any city in Japan. I do like that they don't worry about wearing somthing as cool as their friends.
Okay, I'll give you one guess where we went after breakfast. Sanjusangendo, right! We saw it Japanese style, stocking feet, and we weren't able to take photographs inside, temple.
The temple was crowded, but fairly quiet. There are 1001 wooden statues of female Buddhist deities. I'm not sure some of them weren't duplicates. I don't know exactly how many deities there are, but 1001 seems excessive.
About 1/2 way through, we came on a Buddhist wedding, very traditional by the look of it. There were 8 monks. The head monk wore a black costume, and four others were wearing green and orange kimono.
I hate not getting photos of great stuff like that but, alas I don't want to be and ugly American. On to the Nijo Castle, shown here with the Elies and their local guide. It is a shogun castle with lots of acreage, which shows that he was a very important man (lots of property).
That's it for Kyoto. We hit the bullet train for home. We're all starting to drag a little. It's been a busy week, which is why Joe went on strike.
He stayed home on Monday, and Vicki and I went to the base to teach English. We had lunch after class with a few of the students at the Officers' Club. Everyone finds a local food item that they favor. Vicki likes yakisoba, a noodle dish.
The next day, we went to Hase. The sole attraction (other than ice cream stands and a few touristy shops) is this giant Buddha. He is pretty impressive, over seven hundred years old and about 40 feet tall.
Then off to Kamakura, which was once the capital of Japan, but is now a cute shopping town. It has one very large shrine with lots of steps. Remember shrines are Shinto, temples are Buddhist (and Jewish of course).
With one full day left, Vicki took advantage of the shops and picked up some souvenirs.
That night was the all American dinner-and-a-movie at base. We saw Secretariat.
We're winding down and it's the last full day for Vicki and Joe. Allan got off early, so we waited and went to Yokohama for dinner and a stroll in Chinatown. Chinatown looks the same wherever you go.
Vicki couldn't resist some of the shopping there, and I bought a few Chinese perfume bottles. They have scenes painted on the inside, and I love them.