Monday, March 20, 2006

More about Nikko (March 6th)

I decided to go to Nikko in the middle of my work topsy turvey drama (which now is temporarily resolved for no change to happen.) to try and ground myself. I wanted to get some fresh air and clear my head. I wanted to feel more centered and connected to something bigger. So I grabbed my jacket, borrowed The Boy’s memory card and my camera, and wrapped the red scarf the reminds me of mom around me and headed North.

As with many of my day trips, I got a later start than I wanted and didn’t get to the proper train station with a proper ticket until like 1pm. This is the Express train to Nikko, and therefore is supposed to take ONLY over 2 hours. This is however, the slowest looking Express train I’ve ever seen.

I promptly fall asleep on the train and wake up briefly when the train stops every half hour or so. The city stretches on for what seems decades. Some women sit by me but I’m so tired that I’m completely passedout. I sleep well in moving vehicles even when I’m sitting up and by the time the train exits the last of the suburbs and enters the mountains, I’m feeling refreshed and ready to stretch my legs.

I love small Japanese country towns. I love the rice paddies mixed in with the streets and schools. I love the rotting old houses and the lack of neon and pachinko (like slots) parlors. and I was quite excited about the snow on the mountains.

after getting my bearings, I headed to Nikko National Park. one of the first things I ‘found’ was the Sacred Bridge. Since I’m bymyself and have not ablility to read the history of such things by myself, I don’t know why it’s sacred or what I’m supposed to do about it. It looks like I need to pay for a ticket to walk across it rather than on the normal street/bridge right by it. I pass on the ticket and head into the park.

So one of the nice things about working a job with a slightly wonky schedule is that I have Mondays off. This means that when I go do touristy things, places aren’t as crowded. so while there were some group tours and handfuls of foreigners here and there, it was generally really quiet.

I started out poking about a kind of old slightly neglected shrine. I wonder what kinda god lives here. what do they think of the moss growing over everything? is it a good thing for them or not?

I love it. The cedar trees are gigantic and make the place feel even quieter.

next I head to one of the main shrines past the copper dragon fountain. my camera tell me it doesn’t have batteries and I believe it, but later find it was lying to me and resist the urge to take pictures of the ridiculous tour group. However, separate from the gigantic shiny shrine, there is a little one. I don’t know what it’s for but seemed colorful and almost maternal.

I follow the road see a huge, old gate. well, it isn’t what I would have thought of as a gate before I learned that’s what they are usually translated to. it’s the huge entrance to a shrine. they are often red, but not always. this one made me think a lot of Dan (you better write me, I miss you terribly!) and his theory that organic life will begin (are?) mimicking manmade structures so that they aren’t cut down.

and then, just by barely turning my head right, was a gigantic pagoda! wow.

[go back to Part 1
continue to finding god(s) in
Nikko pt. 3


Murray said...

Man, I want to visit. I'm tired of only seeing this stuff in pictures. Japanese Art History was one of my favoriteclasses. I loved everything we studied except for the brief chunk when some Japanese artists became determined to copy the western style. That stuff wasn't so got. But I loved the temples and shrines. Those gates are amazing.

Kiki said...

It's so incredible that Nikko is just a train ride away from the dense population in Tokyo. Your pictures and your descriptions are beautiful!

Jason said...

I'm going. And: damn. Hot damn, even. And after only the few pictures I had time to check out.

BYTHEWAY: I'm a big fan of your blog formattation skills, koriwithak.