Motto: „Each person you meet means a different experience.
Each one of those standing next to you may offer you a priceless treasure. Usually, we do not realize that.”
I have had the pleasure to discover Japan, the Country of the Rising Sun, where the cherry tree´s flowering day is celebrated in a carnival (hana matsuri-the flowers´carnival). I arrived in Tokyo, after a hard journey, but my friends´ smile made me forget about my tiredness.
I drove to Asakusa, 80 km away from Narita, where I was going to live during my sojourn there, being one of the most expensive city-districts of Tokyo.
I have been impressed by the number of the city temples, the biggest being Senso-Ji, which has a very interesting legend. 1200 years ago, two fishermen, fishing in the Sumida-kawa´s waters, found in their net a kanon-sama icon, amidst the fish. They took it to an obousan-priest, asking him what to do with it, and he told them to build a temple in its honor, so that is how SENSHO-JI temple was built.
Walking on Nakamise-Dohri, one of the most visited street, I had the impression that not I was the tourist, but the Japanese themselves seemed to be. I was surrounded by foreigners, coming from Europe, America, China and only the Japanese who were content that I was watching their shops, were able to remind me that I was the tourist visiting Japan. I liked their shops, especially the 100 yeni shop, where I could find different products (food, clothes, household items, toys, knick-knacks) at the same price -100 yens (less than a dollar), the next day, I went to Kyoto, a town 600 km west of Tokyo. I took the shinkan-sen from Tokyo station, passing through Nagoya, Nara, getting to Kyoto in 2 and half hours. The ticket´s price is about 100 dollars, but it is interesting to travel in a 300 km per hour train. It was an unforgettable experience, but at the beginning, not being accustomed to such a speed, I got sick.
In Kyoto, I lived in a typical Japanese hotel, sleeping on the floor, on a tatami, eating in my room only Japanese food. There I paid 280 dollars per night. Tokyo is a historic city, being Japan´s capital between 794 and 1185, in the Heian period.
Here, I visited many temples too, where the most famous one was the golden temple – KINKAKU-JI, a little golden temple, where the emperor used to serve his Japanese tea, the “ocha”. There, I met a lot of “geisha-san”, who accepted to make photos with me, they considered me to be a foreigner, as well as I considered them to be, but they delightfully accepted to make photos together.
I also visited NIKKO, where the most powerful shogun, Tokugawa Ieyasu, had lived, being buried in NIKKO´s temple. On my way to IZU, I visited Safari-Park, where I was surrounded by lions, tigers, wild cats and gentle herbivores. Only then, did I open the car´s window, because I was terrified seeing the lion so close to me. And my journey continued…
Now, on my way again. Going to Izu.
Happy to be safe after the Safari-Park visit, I fell asleep listening to the famous singer Takahashi Mariko´s song (I am sorry, sayonara!), and dreamt to be a Japanese emperor, dressed in golden clothes, living in a cave, with his suite, surrounded by the samurai opponents.
In that chaos, I give orders in a perfect Japanese language, but then I received disturbing news… I have to defend my son, the future emperor, a black eyed tall young man…who is watching me quietly, watching me over the centuries.
Somebody taps my shoulder, waking me up, when I realized that I am still in Izu, and I just have had a bad dream.
On the Izu Island, I lived in Dougashima, at the View hotel, paying 200 dollars per person, including breakfast and dinner.
In Izu, the ocean is hugging the mountains and the green forests, merging them in a dream-like landscape, whose beauty may leave you speechless. Dressing the yukata(cotton kimono), we went to the roten-buro( warm water baths outside ), on the ocean´s shore în Izu, the ocean is hugging the mountains and the green forests, merging them in a dream-like landscape, whose beauty may leave you speechless. Dressing the yukata(cotton kimono), we went to the roten-buro( warm water baths outside ), on the ocean´s shore. I relaxed my tired body in the hot water, my soul was listening to the ocean´s song and my heart was admiring the sunset. Slowly, the sun disappeared in the ocean which looked like a flooded sunflower field.
I had dinner in my simple room, with the tatami, the shoji (wooden doors with paper windows), and a low table full of colorful bowls, looking like a garden. On each plate, we had the traditional food on plates with flowers, leaves and twigs as ornaments. The nakai-san was the waitress, who was trying to satisfy our culinary needs.
If I got up, she did it too, sitting down later after I had done it. I asked her for a slice of bread with butter, my only European whim I wanted fulfilled. I felt that I really was, somehow, that emperor I had dreamt of, we have been treated so well! And then, I fell asleep that quiet night…being rocked by the ocean´s waves.
A new day in Japan was waiting for me!
After holidays, not having snow in Tokyo, we went to visit a little town, near to Nagano, Yudanaka. When we got there, it was snowing, everything was white, houses, trees, people. After finding a hotel, we went outside. The hotel´s employees offered us umbrellas, but I refused it. I went there for the snowflakes, as a child warmed up by winter memories. We played a lot, making a snowman in front of a temple.
Autor: Cristina Cărbune(Inoguchi
Translated by Frederica Dochinoiu