Wednesday, 11 February 2009

I went on an adventure!

I haven't done that in so long!! I love adventuring here! For one, there's always something making any trip an adventure, and it's never what I expect.

So, we had a holiday today - not sure why, but I'm not gonna complain! I never want to use my weekend to do stuff, especially in the morning, because I like just relaxing and making my living space comfortable. If I go out, I want to go out at night. But Wednesday holiday = adventure. I wanted to get away from Tokyo at least a little, but I don't have the money for a big trip, and it's too cold to go explore the mountains yet, so I searched for something to go see in Saitama, the nearest prefecture on this side of Tokyo. I'm actually really close to it here, but I have to go down and around because my line doesn't head up there. Tokyo and Yokohama people make fun of Saitama for being "the sticks," but "the sticks" Japan looks like urban sprawl to me. It's still more built up than Detroit, or Novi, or Flint, or Lansing, or anywhere in Michigan, just minus the big office buildings. It's like Chiba, where I used to live, minus the rediculously rich people. I like it. I'd actually prefer to live there, but it's a bit too far outside of the city. If I had a job in Ikebukuro or something on the north side of Tokyo, I'd be there for sure! I may actually look there for my next apartment.

I digress! So I came across this page on a temple up there. It's about 40 minutes away from Ikebukuro. It has rooms from Edo Castle in it (which got obliterated), and it just looked neat. So, when I decide I'm going on an adventure here, I don't bring a map. Station name, general idea, it's the getting there that's the fun part. Amanda and I started walking to get some food, and actually had we kept walking we would have run into signs for Kitain on the road we were headed down. After lunch it started getting late so we went to the police box and they gave me a map. We got there eventually, and found the other two sections of the temple along the way. You should read the link I gave you. It's really interesting. And apparently Kawagoe, the city we were in, has no shortage of temples and shrines. I found a link with a list of temples, and I didn't even want to count them.

The inside of the temple proper was really cool. The one room where apparently one of the Tokugawa shoguns was born (don't remember which one or have the first clue how they got a room from Edo to Kawagoe....) was covered in sumi-e paintings. It was really cool looking. I kept getting distracted by the next room. Poor Amanda. I'm really bad in museums and temples and anything with shiny interesting stuff... like armor or really old paintings, or anything really.... I fly through them going "Oh hey!! .. oh! look at this!! Oh!!! OVER HERE!!!" Anyway, then I got distracted by the outside. The way temples are laid out (I WANT A HOUSE LIKE THIS ONE DAY!!!!!), they're flat and maze-like and just have sliding doors making hallways and rooms and walls. A lot of the doors to the outside were opened, and the gardens were absolutely gorgeous. I have no words. I saw the first one, and I didn't want to move. I just wanted to look. I may actually go back soon. It was relaxing just to see. Kinda like drinking water in the summer after working outside all day. Cheesy, but that's really how it was. The temple had signs saying "No Pictures," but I figure, that's inside the temple, right? To protect the old paintings and stuff. So I stepped outside (there's a narrow walkway going around that type of building) and took pictures. The second one was even better. They just kept getting more and more beautiful, and I wanted to walk out into them, but I was in my socks, and I'm pretty sure that's a BIG no-no. The last one was hard to leave. And there was a cat that we kept seeing laying under one of those bamboo water fountain things. But there were a lot of people hanging around there (I don't blame them!) so I couldn't sneak a picture. God, it was beautiful!

Amanda and I hung out in Ikebukuro for a bit before going home. I took a bunch of pictures (go me!) and put them in my scrapbook and wrote about them and everything! (Cause I'll forget stuff by tomorrow cause I'm all "GARDEN!!" still. Seriously, the inside bit of the temple was fantastically cool, but the gardens really really distracted me.) So yeah, read the link on Kitain, and then, adventure pictures! And just so you know cause it's a little hard to tell on the page, there are a few pages of pictures. Click on the picture to see my discription of it, and you should be able to scroll through the pictures on by one by clicking on the smaller picture on the right side of the big picture..

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