Friday, June 14, 2013

Tohoku, Tokyo, and Kansai Reflections

“Let beauty awake for beauty’s sake.”

– from Robert Louis Stevenson’s Songs of Travel

Azaleas bloom placidly in the midst of urban frenzy outside the Ichihara’s home near Rikkyo University in Ikebukuro, a suburb of Tokyo.

Sashimi presented as part of a beautiful dinner at a restaurant in Sendai, hosted by the Bishop of Tohoku.

With The Rt. Rev. John Hiromichi Kato, Bishop of Tohoku, The Rev. Shintaro David Ichihara, and Goh Saito, a student and acolyte from Rikkyo University. Bishop Kato attended CDSP while I was in my first year there, so the evening was a welcome reunion of sorts!

Mugiho Ichihara and Daniel compare their ABC’s and hiragana in Ikebukuro.

Korakuen Garden (後楽園), considered one of the great three in Japan, offers a famous example of “borrowed scenery.” Okayama-jo (岡山城) Castle is actually on the other side of the river from Korakuen, but here is integrated fully into the garden’s many perspectives.

A chikurin (竹林 – bamboo thicket) in Korakuen.

Okayama-jo Castle, the “Crow’s Castle”, looks forbidding over the Asahi-gawa River.

Central Okayama (岡山市) includes scattered bronze statues of small children, infants with their mothers, wildlife, and this combination near Okayama Station. The hato (鳩), pigeons, add their own life to the art.

The rooftops of Miyajima (宮島), a picturesque island off the Sanyo Coast near Hiroshima. It includes some of the most beautiful shrines and scenery in the whole country.

The great gate or torii (鳥居) at Itsukushima Shrine (厳島神社), Miyajima. At low tide, people can walk out to the gate. The shrine is accompanied by a beautiful pagoda and numerous other striking examples of classic Japanese architecture. Every other step offers a picture postcard view.

Todaiji (東大寺) Temple, Nara, is among the great ancient Buddhist sites of Japan, and one of the largest wooden structures in the world.

Accompanying the huge, ancient Buddha Vairocana is an eighteenth-century bosatsu (菩薩 – bodhisattva). Crowds of tourists and children attempt to grasp the wonder of this site.

St. Agnes, Kyoto.

The altar at Christ Church (Pro) Cathedral, Sendai.

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