Day 20: Daitokuji And Day 21: An Adventure in Philosophizing

The last few days seemed to be rather busy and I wasn’t able to keep up with my daily blogs, sorry!

Lectures are starting to grate on me, I just cannot sit still for 3 hours. On Wednesday our afternoon field trip was to Daitoku-ji, a  Rinzai Zen temple known for its dry rock gardens. Daitoku-ji originated as a small monastery founded in 1315 by the  monk Shuho Myocho

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This is our meeting spot after lunch for the field trip, this tree is gorgeous!

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We sat watching the rock garden for some time, unfortunately it brought me no thoughts of enlightenment and it did not bring me to any epiphanies.

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At the Doshisha University today I bought the text books for intermediate Japanese (they are like 3x cheaper here), I have so much motivation to continue my language skills right now and I plan to take the intermediate class in the fall.

When I got home I worked on my assignments and recopied some of my notes, Tony came over to help me with one of my journals. After he left I got to bed super early, Yay!

So I know I haven’t done this before but I am behind on my blog and this last one was rather short so I’m going to combine two days here.

Day 21…

I had sooo many hours of sleep last night, today I feel great. I wasn’t dragging my feet trying to get ready and I didn’t need a coffee…until lecture started, even then I did pretty good paying attention (for a bit, which is longer then usual).

On Thursday our field trip was to Ginkakuji, The Temple of the Silver Pavilion. Ginkaku-ji is a Zen temple along Kyoto‘s eastern mountains (Higashiyama). In 1482, shogun Ashikaga Yoshimasa built his retirement villa on the grounds of today’s temple, modeling it after Kinkakuji (Golden Pavilion), his grandfather’s retirement villa at the base of Kyoto’s northern mountains (Kitayama). The villa was converted into a Zen temple after Yoshimasa’s death in 1490.

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This temple was very beautiful but it was very difficult to appreciate it fully as the sky had decided to dump the entire oceans worth of water on us in one day. I don’t even know how to explain this to those of you back home and those who have not experienced this type of rain…it is nothing like Manitoba rain, its harder, faster, and there is 100x more of it. Today it was even lightening and thundering, the first time we have seen that in Japan.
…So I had worn a new outfit I had purchased here, I had received so many compliments on it today…unfortunately it was not the best choice for today. I was completely soaked by the time we even made it to the temple because the bus stop was a 20 min walk from the temple. Even my umbrella was dripping water on me, it was that saturated. The only thing on me that stayed dry was Natasha’s SLR camera and my iPhone, I did my best to protect it with my life Natasha.

I also wanted to share this, almost every Japanese woman wears heels at all times of the day, I have no idea how they do some much walking, standing, and stair climbing in 4-5 inch heels. So at Ginkaku-ji I saw this woman wearing at least 5 inch heels traipsing around on these…

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Visitors that go to Ginkakuji also generally visit the Philosopher’s Path. a pleasant stone path through the Northern part of Kyoto’s Higashiyama district. Approximatley two kilometers long, the path begins around Ginkaku-ji and ends in the neighborhood of Nanzen-ji. The path gets its name due to Nishida Kitaro, one of Japan’s most famous philosophers, who was said to practice meditation while walking this route on his daily commute to Kyoto University.
I really didn’t want to do it which is unlike me, I like adventures, but today I was soaking wet and not having a good time. On the way down from the temple it stopped raining so I bought some thing to eat and my mood changed.

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This is the “Potatornado” basically a potato on a skewer and deep fried. It was soo yummie. Oh, Tim and I also shared this giant cream puff filled with macha (green tea) flavored filling.

I’m really glad i ended up going on the walk because it turned out to be a really nice walk and I got some great pictures.

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When I got home I avoided napping in hopes of getting to bed earlier. I did some much needed cleaning in my apartment and laundry for the upcoming overnight trip this weekend. I had a lot of motivation to get my school readings, journals and notes finished as the last week of the program will be rather busy (you will see as you read my blog). Right as I was getting into school work I was invited to go back to the university to speak with the Japanese students who will be attending the University of Winnipeg in the fall.I thought this could be a really good experience so I tagged along.
Most awkward experience that day…the English speaking students (there were 4 of us) were separated and given about 8 Japanese students each to speak with. At this point my Japanese language skills are more than horrid and they were all shy to speak in English, to top it off they didn’t have a lot of questions so I mostly rambled about Winnipeg this and that. At 10pm they turned out the lights in the cafeteria so we all headed home, on the way to the subway one of the guys at my table started a conversation with me. This surprised me because he hadn’t said much in the group but was more than willing to talk to me one on one. Any ways, it turns out that we were taking the same subway line in the same direction so we chatted until my stop, we also exchanged email and facebook details. It was pretty late when I got in, and none of my homework had been completed, but I had made a new friend! I tried to stay up and do more school work but soon gave up and went to bed.

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