Noi6 means "the 6 of us" in Romanian.

We are five, you are the sixth one.

We thank you for joining us in our trip around the world...

Wednesday, January 27, 2016


Another early morning for us, we wake up before the 5 am alarm. Still on jet-lag. We could waste time in the room, our train is later in the day, or we could go to the market and enjoy the show. Quietly we gather our belongings and tip-toe out of the hotel.

No, Ioan does not have a flower in his hair! It is a chrysanthemum from a vase that sits on the table hidden almost completly by him, but you can see it in the mirror. We are surrounded by those shapeless blue or red one size fits all slippery slippers (you can fall to your death if you're trying to climb those stairs wearing them) and if there is a large group, there are more in the bin. You can see how many people are in the hotel by counting the pairs of shoes in the cubby.

The sun is up, but the streets are deserted, with the exception of the dog-owners. Because everyone else is at the market buying or eating sea food. We look out-of-place, with our backpacks, still we’re oggling at the variety and the abundance, not in just one place, but repeated along the street.

It says that we can eat now!

These bags are full of roe!

We board our train and start eating. Japanese people will not eat outside the food court, or on the sidewalk, nor in any public space, but they eat in trains. The fact that the chairs have a tray, or that you can buy fresh food in any train station, or even in the shinkansen tells us is ok. We don’t have eki-ben (train station boxed food), we have something that we like better: hard-boiled eggs, salami, bread and cabbage leaves!

On one side of the train we can see that mixture of cultivated fields and villages, on the other the sea and the works to keep it at a bay. And then we enter the tunnel, swallowing while pinching our noses to help with the popping ears. We don’t have a special feeling, it’s just a tunnel, with the exception of the following picture, there is nothing to tell us that we are deep under the sea and we’re crossing not only the Tsugaru Strait, but Kuromatsunai line (the one that marks the differences between the different evolution of the animals of Hokkaido and the ones from Honshu). Soon enough we are on the other side, and everything looks similar with the island that we just left.

We change two more trains one from Shin-Aomori (the new Aomori) to Morioka, from there to Ichinoseki (where we leave our backpacks in a lockbox), and finaly to Hiraizumi in a train that looks more like a subway.

The girl was so absorbed in her Manga book...

We walk toward the World Heritage site (we don’t want to take a bus), enjoying the different gardens to the different houses.

They don't grow like this, they have teams of people trimming them to shape.

Chūson-ji is more like a village: there is a large steep avenue lined with hundreds of years old cedars, that leads toward the different temples and religious buildings and gardens of the Pure Land Buddism. The story goes that everybody contributed either with money or gifts, or workers to the construction, only the supervisor, who was poor, could not. So he decided to contribute with the cedars, grew them from seeds and when they were old enough, transplanted the little trees in the places he thought they would complement the buildings. The place burned to the ground, but the trees are still here.

We’re going toward Konjiki-dō (the Golden Hall), one of the original buildings from the 12th century.  We’re side-tracked by a Kabuki representation, masked people doing exagerated movements accompanied by instrumental music.

The temple is housed in a modern concrete building. We are not allowed to take pictures and that’s why I rely on the internet. Everything is covered in gold and there are some accents in mother of pearl. For me it is a beautiful thing. For others, is a worshiping place, they crowd to be in the middle, to pray and bow their heads.

After this, we go to the repository, the other original building that survived centuries and then to the museum where there is also a movie about what we saw, kind of like making it up for not being able to see up close or take pictures.

Once outside we are confronted with the gift shop. There is something that we’ve learned last time when we visited Japan, but we forgot: every place has its own merchandise, you can’t find anywhere else the things that you see. There are also cookies samples! We like them, we buy them, we eat them. Then I realize I don’t know what’s their name. I go back in the store and ask: karintō manjiā.

We enjoy the gardens, the hundreds of years old cherries, with their propped limbs, the lakes with rocks and moss, all reproducing at a smaller scale, and in collaboration with the other ones, the pure land, the heaven, where the Buddists aspire to live their eternal life.

Mihai wants to go to another temple, Mōtsū-ji, also famous! And he wants to get there on a path through the forest, instead of walking down the street. He is right, the path is lovely, covered in moss, wooden rails, quiet…

We pass a sign, but we don’t pay attention, because our minds are thinking it is written in Japanese, and everything is wonderful, and we’re having such a good time, and then another sign. 
Hey! It has a bear on it! 
Wait! What?
Yes, we’re in bear country, we should announce our presence by knocking with the hammer on the wooden board kindly provided next to the sign!

Suddenly I feel like it is my duty to talk out loud, evidently ruining everybody’s quiet stroll. We take turns in knocking forcefully. Eventualy we’re out of the woods. We pass small fields of harvested rice, the sheaves tied to poles to dry. Everything is small compared with what I know about fields and cultures.

We buy our tickets and stroll the ground.

It is 11th of October, but why 27? Aren't we in 2015? (It means Heisei 27)

Here is the fountain to cleanse (with the dipper first one hand, then the other, and the last one the dipper itself for the next person to use it),

 the incense burner,

behind it the temple,

and then the garden, really lovely.

Yarimizu-the garden stream that has the bottom covered with rounded cobblestones and has from place to place rocks that control the flow of the water. It symbolizes a mountain stream that meanders peacefully through the plains. It demonstrates the techniques written in Sakuteki, the oldest book on gardens from Japan.

All day long we walked through a haze, but just  now the sun pierced the clouds and colored everything.

We go back to the station and while we wait for the train, Ioan enjoys a bowl of hot soup with udon (thick wheat noodles) (the waitress got out of the kitchen area and changed her shoes to serve him).

 While traveling to Tokyo the boys play chess.

 We had a lovely day, we’re tired, but the day is not done yet. We travelled more than 850 km (500 miles) today but we still have to pick up our new apartment’s keys. We walk two blocks to the tenth floor of a high rise building where there is the renting agency. It's after 8pm on Sunday night and there are two men in a deserted immaculate floor-size office. They give us the papers, the keys and explain how we will get to the apartment.

It takes us another 20 min to walk on alleys to get there. We recognize the building from the picture, input the code to enter, take the elevator and arrive. The keys have two sides of indentations and on the length various numbers of dips, it would be easier to cut a hole in the door than to break the lock.

Ta-da-daaaa! Our new 10/30 ft all commodities apartment! Entrance area with closet where we leave our shoes, then on the left washing machine facing toilet on the right, next kitchenette facing bathroom and at the end the living space with a comfortable queen bed and a coffee table with a flat screen tv. There is a mattress hidden in yet another closet for Ioan. And we have a balcony!

We have enough energy to eat something, plug the tools, make Ioan’s bed and then sleep…blissful….sleeeeep…

No comments:

Post a Comment

Comment form message here