Japan 1983 (Part 5)

October 16

Today, Japan is one of the few countries in the world where one hears laughter everywhere. ~ David Douglas Duncan

We are now slipping further and further into the land of missing memories. I’m pretty sure with everything in this post that we’re still on the Izu Peninsula. Thus, a map is always helpful . . .

[This, for instance, really bothers me that I can’t find an identification. I know that’s Marsha and Randy on the path ahead of me, I remember this, and I remember the photo, because I thought everything about it was splendiferous. And because it is splendiferous, I can’t believe I can’t find it anywhere on the Google machine . . . ]

[Any tourist trekking Japan’s countryside and visiting roadside temples will quickly notice the many stone statues that litter the rural streets of Japan. These are the statues of Jizo. They are often clothed in stone robes and hold canes and are dressed in red bibs. They are often bald, smiling serenely, with eyes closed. Some, however, are faceless formless stones, only distinguished by the red bibs and aprons wrapped around them. Traditionally it is believed that Jizo is the guardian of unborn children. One often finds the ojizosan in graveyards. According to one legend, children who die before their parents are punished for making their parents grieve, and must build small stone towers to gather good karma. Demons often come to smash the stone towers and beat the children, but Jizo protects the children by hiding them in his sleeves and robe. Flower and water and food offerings, and even small towers of stones are often visible in front of ojizosan, placed there by grieving parents hoping for protection for the souls of their children (buddhistchannel.tv/index).]

[Again, I’m guessing this is Shimoda . . . ]

[White House sources believe this to be the Shimoda Ropeway, an aerial life line in Shimoda, Shizuoka. The line is also called Nesugatayama Ropeway as it climbs Mount Nesugata. The observatory has a view of Port of Shimoda and Pacific Ocean. The line began operation on April 1, 1961 (Wikipedia).]

[Stairway to heaven?]

[See the following photo . . . ]

[Gyokusenji Temple, a Zen Buddhist temple of the Soto sect with its history older than 430 years over 27 generations, used to be a thatch hut belonging to the Singon sect, another sub-sect of the Zen Buddhism, which was converted to Soto sect in the 1580s by Priest Ichirei shunei. The present main hall was completed in the days of its 20th Priest Suigan Bimo. In March 1854, The Japan-U.S Treaty of Peace and Amity was concluded and Shimoda was opened to foreign shipping. When The Shimoda Treaty was appended to it in May 1854, Gyokusenji Temple was officially designated as a resting place as well as a cemetery for American sailors (izu-gyokusenji.or.jp).]

[A room with a view, a place to kick up your heels after a hard day of touring, and wait for a Geisha to bring you a peeled grape . . . ]

[Said view . . . ]

[Not the Geisha I was anticipating . . . ]

[I was shocked and amazed that I found this place where we stayed. The Shimoda Prince Hotel (following photo) looks the same today (in current literature) as it did 37 years ago . . . ]

[Shimoda Prince Hotel is located on the Izu Peninsula, an area known for its beautiful, graceful coastline. This seaside hotel faces the magnificent Shirahama Chuo Beach, known for its pristine sands. Our location affords incredible views of the sunrise over the endless ocean, and scenery that changes over time (princehotels.com).

[A really not too shabby dining room!]

[On the road again . . . ]

[I actually found several identical pictures, but they’re just identified as natural coastal landscape of Izu Peninsula, Shizuoka . . . ]

I was born into a very important family in Japan. My grandfather was a descendant of the Emperor, and we were very wealthy. ~ Yoko Ono

[Masha models for Randy . . . ]

[I model for Roy (or something like that) . . . ]

It is inhumane, in my opinion, to force people who have a genuine medical need for coffee to wait in line behind people who apparently view it as some kind of recreational activity. ~ Dave Barry

[In Nishi Izu, you can visit a park by the ocean where a troop of over 300 Japanese macaque monkeys reside. The wild monkeys play freely on their playground, groom, and feed on grains, vegetables, and fruits. Visitors can walk amongst the monkeys or feed them from behind a cage wall (en.japantravel.com).]

[And here comes a mob of homo sapiens, allegedly close personal relatives of the monkeys . . . ]

[Paradise of the overseas beauty and monkey: Because it is in the southernmost tip of theIzu Peninsula, and the Kuroshio Current flows through the offshore, flowers bloom throughout the year because of the warmth, and the beauty spots of a precipice and the reef zone are continuing, which makes it a rich-nature area (veryjapanese.jp).]

[Said local denizens . . . ]

Despair is always rational, but hope is human. ~ Richard Flanagan

[Our taxi has arrived . . . ]

[View from the boat . . . ]

[Almost Gibraltar . . . ]

Every drop in the ocean counts. ~ Yoko Ono

There’s a long life ahead of you and it’s going to be beautiful, as long as you keep loving and hugging each other. ~ Yoko Ono

[Toku, just ahead of me . . . ]

Land ho! ~ Some sailor somewhere

When I was modeling in Japan, I could blend in a little because of my hair, but my roommates with blonde hair got harassed. People would touch their hair and grope them in the subway. Actually, a lot of groping happens in the subway in Japan, but that’s probably true of subways everywhere. ~ Emmanuelle Vaugier

[When I undertook this undertaking (though never say “undertaking” around an older person), Roy had a specific memory of a “Shuzenji hot spring resort where we stayed in modern Ryokan (Japanese style hotel) dressed up in Kimono and had a formal Japanese meal” . . . ]

[So, I looked it up, et voila – it probably was my favorite part of the trip . . . ]

[Hie Jinja Shrine is one of the 3800 branch shrines under San-no So Honsha (The main shrine of San-no located in Hie-zan). In 807, Kukai (or Kobo Daishi) set up this shrine at the same time he established Shuzen-ji Temple. Although Hie Jinja doesn’t have a big precinct, huge trees are scattered about, and show its sacredness. Two cedar trees attached together at their roots is a symbol of blessing of children (Kodakara-no-sugi). The trees are more than 800 years old and decorated with holy straw ropes. Go through between the trees, making a wish about your children, and then you and they will be blessed (en.japantravel.com).]

[Shuzenji, the town; the wonderful Shuzenji Onsen will be featured in the nest post . . . ]

[See the following photo . . . ]

[The Shuzenji Temple is said to have been founded by Kobo Daishi in the 9th century, and became a major temple with many buildings supported by the Hojo family in the Kamakura period. In 1194, Minamoto no Noriyori was arrested and confined here by his elder brother, the shogun Minamoto no Yoritomo, and eventually committed suicide when Kajiwara no Kagetoki attacked. The second shogun Yoriie, the first son of Minamoto no Yoritomo, was also confined here because of a plot by his mother Masako and grandfather Hojo Tokimasa, and was assassinated in 1204 while taking a bath. This was the scene of tragedies caused by the bad blood in the Minamoto family, and is known as the place where the family historically met its end (shizuoka-guide.com).]

Go to any Shinto temple in Japan and you’ll see it: a simple stand from which hang hundreds of wooden postcard-size plaques with a colorful image on one side and, on the other, densely scribbled Japanese characters in black felt-tip pen, pleas to the gods for help or succor. ~ Hanya Yanagihara

Human reactions to robots varies by culture and changes over time. In the United States we are terrified by killer robots. In Japan people want to snuggle with killer robots. ~ Daniel H. Wilson

Up Next: Part 6

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