World heritage what?!
Trip Start Apr 02, 2011
114Trip End Nov 22, 2013
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As far as I could see as per usual I was the only foreigner around, it is such a shame that the overdramatizion of what has happened in Japan and foreigners sheer stupidity in not looking at a map to see where Sendai is in relation to the rest if Japan has had such a negative impact upon Japanese tourism and theerefore the economy!
Unlike so many of the Japanese who have a fascination with world heritage even if they don't know or really care what they have seen, I do not so I avoided the very bland looking Itsukyshima shrine in favor of just ambling up the mountain with no real agenda in mind. I did really appreciate that the deer here were protected and that NO hunters could shoot them, they are so very tame even if wild!
Due to the sun I decided to invest in a truly sexy hat to shade me from, one if the best buys ever and I don't care what anyone thinks I love it! Along the way I was afforded the opportunity to take some great shots of both the torri and the Five storied pagoda in all their splendor! The walk up the mountain was very relaxing which was a blessing due to carting around my extremely heavy camera! I ended up at Daishon temple which was gorgeous and far more impressive than the shrine!
I followed a Japanese sign and ended up in a room with some Japanese men taking photos if a stunning woman in a kimono. I have no idea what was happening but was not going to miss out on such a good photo op! She was so lovely and kimonos like the traditional dress of Viet Nam makes us in our western clothes look like poor uncultured pykies/hobos/ferrels! Not understanding the language can have its advantages and one of the is the ignorance of not knowing what every shrine/temple is dedicated too. In my opinon the sheer volume of prayers I have said for my dead ancestory, my living family, friends and those people who don`t like me, the earth and living creatures in general should be creating me some prayer kudo with all the dieties! Luck does appear to have been on my side so far what with meeting Chris n Maddy and more recently Tomohiro!
One aspect of Japanese culture that is particularly prominent for me is the pace. Even if you could not tell the difference physically between me and a Japanese person the difference between us would be glaringly obvious, I do not charge around at warp speed. As I am fortunate to have so much time I can bimble along at my own pace. I have come to understand and now sympathise with Japanese tourist both abroad and in Japan. We view them and so often judge them for not taking the time to really look around and absorb what they are seeing but now I know that they have such short vacation times that the only way for them to ever visit foreign countries is at such an alarimg rate. I guess and hope that they devour their experiences once back home. I will definitely have more tolerance for those snap happy tourists in future, understanding is everything!
I wandered up the mountain viewed another pagoda and watched happy couples and groups of all ages enjoying hanami and taking the time to enjoy moteher nature and the changing of the seasons, a ritual that really appeals to me and my spiritual beliefs.
The ferry and train journet were uneventful but the same can`t be said for the tram! I alighted the tram one stop too late by accident but with my ipod on and music to listen to on the way to Tomo`s I was not too phased about the extra distance. In my own little world I was oblivious to the tram driver yelling at me and only when he eventually physically made contact was I even aware he was `after` me for buying the wrong ticket. Seriously can you imagine a bus driver in NZ or Europe getting off the bus to chase someone for about 50p/$1 if that! Someone would have stolen the bus by the time he got back!!
Tomo had his friend Yas visiting when I arrived back, Yas was heading to India for 9 days, yes you got it 9 days and he had just bought his nwe rucksack. Nice guy who also loves to travel and is a couchsurfing host. We all walked into town together and Tomo and I headed off food shopping. Well what can I say Tomo will make someoen an excellent husband not only is he handsome, smart, well travelled, cultured but he is a great cook too. I was so spoilt with one course after another and as per usual riveting conversation. I wish that I would have had longer to get to know him more and to sample more of his cooking! I really hope that he will come and visit NZ soon so that I can repay his incredible hospitality and really show him the wonders of my home. I just hope that he likes some of the international music that I have recommended!
The hie to the bus was not fun and I was so worried that I would miss the bus due to not understanding the station lay out. After an unenjoyable run with my backpack and rucksack I found the bus company but the bus was over 30mins late and the Premuim 4 seat was not available. NEVER use Willer Bus company they are useless and a scam. I was not the only one not to have the seat they paid extra for and I was annoyed that they offered a refund to my credit card which I would lose out on with the currency conversion. I really do not think this can be a Japanese company as the ethos does not fit in with my experience of the efficient, polite and proud people of Japan.