Tuesday, 5 May 2009

Kyoto gems

The Temple of the Golden Pavilion by Yukio Mishima fictionalised the extraordinary events of a monk who attempted to burn down the temple in 1950 and then attempted suicide. His distraught mother did commit suicide soon after. The monk was sentenced to prison for seven years but was released after five years due to mental illness. A good case study of the familial nature of mental illness and the avenues of refuge sought when inflicted.
The Japanese and their vending machines are synonymous or perhaps symbiotic. A 100 yen coin can spin out fortunes in 3 languages - English, Korean or Japanese.
Holding great stead in wishes and prayers at temples and shrines, the Japanese attach their deepest desires to branches, in pink paper for spring, in good faith.
Inscribed tablets of hope and prayers are common for passing exams, making babies and recovery from grave illness. Foreigners are not exempt from this practice. Peel of the layers and we are all the same - same desires, similar feelings and of course needs.

During the Heian Period (794 to 1185), Confucianism, Buddhism and other Chinese influences were at their height. Art and poetry flourished and new literary genres like novels were established.

The vibrant red-orange colour of the Tori gate, pillars and doors of the Heian Shrine represent the sun's bursting energy.

Gion, in the rain, my favourite place. The visit couldn't have been better timed to get shots like this.

Kiyomizu (pure water) Temple was constructed in 1633. The wooden deck is in pristine condition. No wonder, tripods are not allowed. An Edo period tradition, to "jump off the stage at Kiyomizu", meant if one were to survive this 13m fall, one's wish would be granted. An 85.4% survival was recorded. This probably was the first ever bungee jump without a rope! Ouch!!

Frenzied ringing of the sacred bell to call the spirits for blessings.

And those beautiful kimono-clad girls...spirits bring forth the girls.

Our Haiku:
Historic Kyoto
Almost bombed to kingdom come
Thank god it was saved!

No comments: