Motto: ¨Every person met
means a different experience.
Each one of those standing next to you
may offer you a priceless treasure.
Usually, we do not realize it.
I have had the pleasure to discover Japan, the Sun Rising Country, where the cherry tree´s flowering day is celebrated in carnival ( hana matsuri-the flowers´carnival). I arrived to Tokyo, after a hard journey, but my friends´ smile made me forget about the tiredness.
I drove to Asakusa, a 80 km distance city from Narita, where I was going to live during my sojourn there, being one of the most expensive cities from Tokyo. I have been impressed by the city temples number, where the biggest was Senso-Ji, which has a very interesting legend. 1200 years ago, two fishermen, fishing in the Sumida-kawa´s waters, have found in the fishing net a kanon-sama icon, amidst the fish. They took it with a obousan-priest, asking him what to do with, and this one told them to build a temple in its honor, so that is how SENSHO-JJ temple was created.
Walking on Nakamise-Dohri, one of the most frequented street, I was having the impression that I was not the tourist, but the japaneses themselves seemed to be. I was surrounded by foreigners, coming from Europe, America, China and only the japaneses who were content that I was watching their shops, were able to remember me that I was the tourist visiting Japan. I liked their shops, especial -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 west town, at 600 km distance from 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 specific japanese hotel, sleeping on the floor, on a tatami, eating in my room only japanese food. There I payed 280 dollars per night. Tokyo is an historic city, being Japan´s capital between 794 and 1185, in Heian period. Here, I visited many temples too, where the most famous 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¨, taking photos with, they believed me to be a strange woman, as well as I saw them, but they delightfully accepted to take photos together. I also visited NIKKO, where the most powerful shogun, Tokugawa Ieyasu, has been living, being buried in NIKKO´s temple. On my way to IZU, I visited Safari-park, where I have been surrounded by lions, tigers, wild cats and gentle herbivores. Only then, I opened the car´s window, because I was terrified with seeing the tiger so close to me. And my journey had continued...
Now, on my way again. Going to Izu.
Happy to be safe after the Safari-park visit, I fall asleep listening to the famous singer Takahashi Mariko´s song (I am sorry, sayonara!), and dreaming to be a golden dressed japanese emperor, 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 receive disturbing news... I have to defend my son, the future emperor, a black eyed tall young man...who is watching me quietly, watching on over the centuries.
Somebody taps my shoulder, waking me, when I realize that I am still in Izu, and I just have a bad dream.
On the Izu Island, I lived in Dougashima, at the View hotel, paying 200 dollars per person, including breakfast and dinner.
Izu is where the americans came firstly to Japan. In Shimoda port, the first american boat appeared, under Perry Matthew´s leadership. Their first contact with the japaneses was in Yokosuka port, in 1854. Those samurai had been scared with seeing the floating bird, as their boats were still being built of wood, so they chased the americans. 14 years later, the samurai desappeared.
In Izu, the ocean is hugging the mountains and the green forests, merging them in a dreamy landscape, whose beautifulness may let you speechless. Dressing the yukata(cotton kimono),
we went to the roten-buro( outside hot baths ), 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, looking 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. In each plate, we have had traditional food and flower, leaf and sprig ornaments. The nakai-san was the waitress, who was trying to satisfy our culinary needs.
If I got up, she would have done it too, sitting down later after me. I asked her for a slice of bread with butter, my only european satisfied caprice. I was feeling that I really was, somehow, that dreamed emperor, we have been treated so well! And then, I fall asleep that quiet night...dangled 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 got there for the snowflakes, as a child warmed up by winter memories. We played a lot, making a snowman in front of a temple.
It has been like a dream. White trees surrounding me, big snowflakes falling down from the sky, the burning water warming me...I closed my eyes, feeling the snowflakes on my face, with red cheeks, but I was not cold...my mother was hugging me maybe? We stayed 2 days in that hotel, we met the old Japan, its traditional food, we saw monkeys warming up in Onsen´s waters, and catching snowflakes with my hands.
Autor: Cristina Cărbune(Inoguchi)
Translate by Frederica Dochinoiu