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Sunday, August 17, 2008

Chronicles of Farnia- The Temple, the Mayor and the Cave

Well, yesterday I started to write out my Saturday adventures but somehow I erased it all. So here goes nothing again. I went touring with Janine on Saturday. Her coworker, Fumiko drove us down to the south of the prefecture to a town whose name I have already totally forgotten. Fumiko's son, Hiroki also came with us. We had to leave my town at 7 a.m. But it paid off to be there early.

On the way down south, we passed Iwate san, which is a mountain in the centre of the prefecture of Iwate. I assume that's where the prefecturee got its name. It's funny to me that they call the mountains san, which is the respectful title you add after someone's name.

It took about 2 and a half hours to get to Chusonji Temple. There we had to trek up a mountain (seems like everything around here is up a mountain. The first house we passed was Benkeido, where Benkei lived. Benkei was like 6 ft tall, gargantuan for a Japanese. He had a master he served who was stronger than he was. Between the two of them they supposedly defeated entire armies. Benkei died when he stood in front of his master and flexed and took a bunch of arrows to protect him. His master died young. There was a little box in front of the house. You could throw in a coin and take off your shoes and go up the stps and pray. There was also a little machine fortune teller. Hiroki got an excellent fortune. When Janine did hers, the lady came back without a fortune, then she got a fortune and it wouldn't drop in the box. Then when she finally got it, it was not a good fortune. It was like the little machine lady was trying to stop her from getting it. Anyhow, when you get a bd fortune, you're supposed to tie it on a nearby line.

There was also a big hall where you could also pray and pull fortunes from a box. I pulled a fortune from one of the box ones. It was a good one. It told me that the man I am thinking of is the right one, but not to marry him this year. Lol! There were also water fountains that were supposed to purify the body as well as an incense well, the smoke from which was supposed to be healing. We passed several more temples before we got to the Golden Temple. You had to pay an 800 yen fee to get in. Apparently the temple used to be all gold, but it isn't now. It seems Iwate used to have so much gold that Tokyo went to war with them over it. Then we went to this other temple where there was a bell to ring which would rid you of guilt. There were also little bells for each of the signs of the Chinese horoscope. I am a Rooster. After that we went to a museum of sorts and saw all manner of things from the 12 century.

When we left there we went over to the Geibi Gorge (after a short lunch intermission with the saltiest ramen I have ever tasted). At the Geibi Gorge, you get in these gondola-esque boats that hold about 25 people and this guide pushes it with a stick thing while explaining what you are seeing all the way. When we were coming back we saw a guy on a nother boat in a tie. I turned to Janine, laughing, and asks who goes on these little boats in a tie. Turns out he was the mayor!

Afterwords we had icecream because Fumiko had coupons for a discount. Then she had to look for Hiroki again, who spent the large majority of his day disappearing. Then we headed out to Yugenda Cave. It was a walk through cave. It's not that impressive to me, because Barbados has one of the most well-developed and famous cave attractions in the world. The only thing that put it up on Harrison's Cave was that there were some fossils in it. That plus the amazing number of times you can nearly decapitate yourself on stalactites.

It was only 3 o clock when we finished but we decided to head back up North because we were exhausted. We stopped at the smaller Aeon Mall in Morioka so that Hiroki could play video games. There is a Gap, Sports Authority, Starbucks and Tower Records there. The Sports Authority has some of the sexiest Adidas I've ever seen. I also found some Kanji flsh cards in the Bookstore. The Bookstore by the way, claims to have an English section. It consists of one rotary kiosk, about 20 titles. Lol! But they have Tolkien and Sophia Kinsell so I am a very happy camper. I am trying to figure out who I need to off to get to move down to Morioka. Love it! Lol!

We got back to Ichinohe at about 7. I gave Fumiko a Mount Gay miniature and some guava cheese as a thank you. Both she and Janine were amazed at my house. It's great having some of the best houses on JET.

I was so fuzzed when I got back, I just ate, showered and jumped into bed.
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