Day 03 Home Day 05
Day 04 (Friday, 2016-08-12)
Temperature: 30dC
  • Trip to Kamakura - beach town (100km - 1 hour)
  • Image Notes
    A useful addition to the train platforms is embedding strips of LEDs that both silently announce the arrival of a train and indicate its direction along the tracks. The Cone appreciates the innovation but suggest using orange instead of red - as orange is the more noble color.
    The local muse is happy to cary the Cone in its basket.
    Look what the Cone found. I guess if you teach Kumon you can find some employment in Japan.
    This diorama of Kamakura was built by a local. It captures the train station as it was in 1980. The person who built it made it available to tourists and locals so they can learn about how the city used to be.
    The Cone is hiding among the souveniers. Trying to trick the locals into buying it.
    The Talking Owl welcomes the Cone to Kamakura. The Cone compliments it on its plumage and beak color.
    This is the main gate of the Hasadera Temple. It was restored in the 1920s after the Great Kanto Earthquake (magnitude 7.9) destroyed the old one.
    The trees in front of the temple have very strange shapes.
    This looks like it has elephant toes.
    Inside the main courtyard the Cone is chilling on a lilly pad.
    Looking inside this hollow tree the Cone concludes something fishy is going on with the trees here.
    Next to the pond - it's very warm outside.
    The Cone hanging out with the little Buddha.
    A new acquaintance - a black dragonfly - is brought up to date with the latest dragonfly news from Nikko.
    The Cone is lost within the army of medium sized Buddhas.
    And here is a batallion of monks.
    The Cone participates in hydrating a statue of a monk. This seem to keep all the other little monk statues happy.
    On the left are "the footprints" of Buddha. And the statues represent some karateka that are defending the Boddishatva - or so the Cone thinks.
    Cone d'Oranj dances to the tune of the spinning barrels. That's exotic and spiritual at the same time.
    A local tourist unaware of the presence of the Cone.
    The Cone's climbs on its retainer's knee showing compassion for their work. Buddha was compassionate and the Cone is going through a compassion phase.
    Many arm human - has genetic engineering gone too far?
    The little Buddhas are happy to meet the Cone. The Cone blesses them with its compassion.
    The Cone presents the town of Kamakura - from the top terrace of the Hasadera temple.
    An effective mat at preventing the movement of gravel is found at the temple. The Cone takes a closer look.
    Another Buddha happy to be in the presence of the Compassionate Cone.
    Through no fault of its own the Cone becomes a symbol of adulation. Vistors start praying at its base.
    Temples and tourism

    All the temples the Cone has visited have been overrun by tourists from all corners of the world. Even though the vast majority of them are civilized and meek the Cone finds it hard to pray / pay respect at the shrine while hords of tourists swarm around. The monks at these temples have a very difficult tasks to balance and the Cone predicts in time at the most famous shrines the tourists will need to make reservations.
    And this is the secrete of having a perfect moss lawn. Painstaking hours of moss tickling by many horticultorists.
    The entrance into the cave of wonders. Here the Cone found stationed another entire army of tiny Buddha statues.
    The cave of wonders and its contents. Mind your head.
    Who makes these things? What are they used for? Was this one of those manufacturing accidents where someone added a 0 to the total quantity ordered?
    The Great Buddha - sourounded by tourists. Originally cast in the 1200s this statues was housed inside a temple. However over the centuries these temples were destroyed by earthquakes and taifuns so the Buddha leveled up its stoicism and moved outside on its own. During the Great Kanto Earthquake the statue (made out of bronze and weighing at about 100 tones) moved a couple of meters.
    Police chase in Kamakura traffic. The traffic is stopping crime - so there's no need for any car chase.
    Ambulance response in Kamakura. It turns out a 3rd lane is available if everyone drives really close to the curb.
    Life in a tourist town

    As with praying at local temples the Cone ponders how it would be to live in a small town overrun by tourists? Where do the locals shop? Where do they spend their leisure time? Is there anything else other than tourism that happens here? What's life in the off season? At some point the Cone should travel to Japan in February.
    As the Cone is traversing a town on the sea shore it is always aware of its elevation with respect to the sea level - you know in case a massive surf wave shows up in town - duuude.
    The Cone manages to snap a picture of a fancy motorcycle riding through town - it looks like it has a hand operated gear lever - or is that the clutch?
    The Cone's presence attracts two young adults in Kimonos. They are giddy with excitement - the Cone tollerates it.
    Kimono apparel in daily life

    Everywhere the Cone went and at least once a day someone wore a kimono. The traditional Japanese wear means "thing to wear" (ki=wear and mono=thing) and it seems that there's been an increase in the number of young people wearing it.

    Wearing a kimono in Kyoto has a few advantages as far as the Cone figured out. One can apply for a "Kimono Passport" which offers free passes to Nijo castle, a few shrines and the Kyoto zoo. There are other seasonal limited time offers like free bus passes and lower admision fees to other temples that are available. And couples wearing kimonos appear to be more liberal at displaying their affection.

    There are also some downsides to wearing a kimono. For starters going to the bathroom is a complicated procedure. Taking any form of transit that involves sitting in a seat (like on the bus) is hard as the bow prevents one from leaning back. It's similar to sitting with a backpack on one's back. It forces a good posture but is very tiring. Finally the woden shoes (geta) worn along with the kimono and the short strides imposed by the tight dress of the kimono are deadly for walking long distances.

    In the end kimono dressed people add ireplaceable flavor to any historical building and their effort is well appreciated by the Cone.
    These are the caves of the Hokokuji temple. The Cone could not reach them to investigate them carefully. They appear to be storing some shrines in them and the ashes of the Ashikaga lords.
    Bamboo forests have a very exotic appeal. This one in particular was noisy with the chirping of many cicadas.

    The warm temperature of the lower latitudes increase insect metabolism and result in very noisy cicadas. The cone theorizes that there are fewer small birds in Japan because their songs cannot be heard over the inferno of the cicadas.
    The cone limbed on top of a statue in the bamboo forest. It's trying to find some high ground and look for panda bears.
    A kid plays with fish at the entrance of the temple. The Cone hopes that no cat or raven comes to the bowl at night to try their luck at fishing.
    Behold the Professional rickshaw commander. The Cone has created another allay during his travels.
    The day is again almost over. The Cone returns to its homebase in Tokyo.

    On its way back it notices that on Friday evening most of the outbound trains are full while the inbound trains are empty. It seems most people leave Tokyo over the weekend.
    Cute sign on the side walk in Tokyo.

    For all the attention to details Japan puts in its infrastructure the Cone has problems finding trash cans anywhere. Today it returned to Tokyo carrying its garbage from the entire day. Also as the topic is garbage the recycling options available are very limited - burnable, not burnable and plastics.
    The Cone meets the little kitten of a homeless person. They take a picture together and then say good night.
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