So as I write this, the TV is on at it is Gordon Ramsay in India…the japanese title reads “Charisma Chef, search for the true curry in India”…seems the Japanese hava a taste for sarcasm.
Today, I’m very lazy I don’t leave the hotel until 9am. Having decided that I’m coming back to Japan every year, there is no hurry to see everything…somehow I need to make some reasonable choices…maybe I should just stick to UNESCO world heritage sites…there are 17 in Kyoto to choose from….looks like rain later so don’t want to waste time travelling far for nothing so two of the sites are within walking distance of my hotel, and those are my choices.
When I entered the first hall, the shrine was dark but then all the lights came on, a priest cam in followed by a yound woman with a new-born babe, and an older couple (perhaps the grandparents or godparents)accompanied by a staff-member holding a camera…I was able to watch a Buddhist christening…
First a table with an incense burner is placed in front of the family…the mother holding the baby places some incense in the burner and recites some prayer, then the grandfather repeats the process and then the grandmother and then they have several photos taken in front of the shrine with the priest..it was all over in about 5 mins.
In the next hall, a well dressed family in their late 50s and 60s probably, a woman and two men are led past the barrier into the shrine area, off to the right another family also go past the barrier but they don’t get to sit so close
Four priest come in and start chanting and singing, then I hear musical instruments..I can’t see where the sound comes from until I realise that some of the priests are holding instruments…the are facing away from me so it is hard to tell…this chanting, singing and playing flutes and a gong-like drum goes on for a while..so I leave.
The second UNESCO site I visit is 東寺 (Toji) temple…
which literally means eastern temple…it holds a 5 story Pagoda, and the Lecture Hall contains 21 massive Buddhist statues that are arranged in a precise order. The Miei-do building on site is also a National Treasure because Kukai the founder of Shingon Buddhism lived in this hall.
It’s about lunch time, so I decide to eat at the brand new shopping centre and get out of the rain which is increasing, then I go back to my hotel room, to get the sad news that I missed out on an ARC grant this year… 仕方がない
Much later I head of to Nishiki markets for a browse and look for dinner
親子丼-which came first the chicken or the egg
For dinner I had oyako-don, the characters mean Parent+Child served on rice…no it’s not some bizzare cannabilistic ritual, its chicken and egg….when I saw it I remembered a special lesson from uni that featured that same dish…had to go and try it …
Luckily, most places have mini servings of most meals.