Monday, September 1, 2008

"Observing the Sounds of the World."

Second batch of Nikko pictures! In this prefecture, there are six buildings considered National Treasures - five of them are in Nikko. It's been a World Heritage site since 1999, when locals lit over 400 lanters in celebration of the acknowledgement. The main parts are Toshogu Shrine, Rinnoji Temple, and Futarasan Shrine. Unfortunately cameras are never allowed inside, because there are some sights that are indescribable. There's a painting of an enormous white dragon that stretches an entire ceiling in a room so vast that the echoes made long-ago visitors swear they could hear the creature weeping. There's three statues so large that your neck hurts to look up at them and your eyes hurt from all the details - in every one of a thousand arms there is a different tiny artifact. One is so ferocious that you wonder, if this the face of compassion...

My guidebook generously describes the right carving as an elephant as envisioned by someone who has clearly never seen an elephant before.

It was a good idea to try imaginary creatures instead...

In addition to all the tourists, there were also roaming groups of school children on assignment to engage said tourists in conversation. We were targeted twice, but we received some cute little gifts for our pains.

Every famous tourist spot I go to, I'm pretty sure I get a different view of it than most people do. Like, I'm sure most people aren't as fascinated with the mossy gutters as the gilded temples. But that's how my mind works.

Despite his grimace, I can't take this demon seriously seeing as he has nicely flower-shaped nipples. And a smiley-mouth belly button. His face says no but his torso says "Hey, Dude!!! <3 What's up?!? : D"

So every shrine has a place to wash your hands and mouth, and we took advantage of every single one, less from a feeling of spiritual impurity and more of a feeling of Japanese August. This, however, was my favorite because of an ingenious aqueduct and two well-camouflaged statues behind it that made me feel like I was on a Peter Jackson set:

I was so enamoured I risked life and limb (both mine and theirs) scampering up a little goat-path to get closeups:

I wanted to sling my arm over this guy's shoulder and get a pic flashing a peace-sign, but I was pretty sure we'd tumble off the cliff and I'd never be allowed into another historical Japanese site:

I've never meet a foot-bridge I didn't like <3

And this one juggles and has a bad bleach job...

"Right? Wrong? Who cares, I just want to climb it!"

I love the chorus-girl hand-thing the white one is doing, and I love the blue guy's elephant-head leggings.

I love the irony of how many pictures I have of Japanese tourists taking pictures of me taking pictures of...

I just want this garden. Is that too much to ask?

1 comment:

Grouchy said...

I know it was quite warm there when most of the pictures were taken, but things look so shady and green it just feels cool looking at them.
I sort of understand the fascination with the odd things like the gutter cuz I really like the discolored surfaces with lichen and moss. When you know how slowly those things grow it just adds to the feeling of ancientness.