Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Stayed in a Buddhist Temple with Buddhist Monks, visited a graveyard, and arrived at K's Hostel near Mt. Fuji. Japan Day 13-15

While we were on the bus to Osaka we made a conscious decision to stay a bit longer in Japan in order to experience a Sumo match which occurs on the 12th of September. We ended up staying at Koma's backpackers hostel in Osaka and we decided to go to Koyosan and stay overnight in a Buddhist temple near Oku-no-in which is an enormous graveyard filled with stone monuments.

Preparing for our journey we decided to go to a nearby coffee shop that looked like the Japanese version of Denny's. I worked with our waitress to figure out if it was possible to get a pizza with no meat since they like to put ham or bacon on everything here. It was possible and when my pizza came I did not realize it was going to be the size of a pizza you see in a lunchables package. But whatever food is food and it was actually quite tasty.

At Koma we met a guy named Brad who is also from CT and taught English in Korea as well. He high fived us both for 1 me coming from CT born and raised another for Eden for teaching English in Korea. He was extremely helpful and pretty much mapped our journey through South East Asia. So kudos to Brad and good luck on your journey to Korea and India!

We headed out and got on a train from Namba station to Koyosan. When you head to this temple they stop at the station before you get to Koyosan. From this station you need to take a cable car up the mountain. Once we reached the top it started to rain and it smelled so fresh like a rain forest. We got on a bus that dropped us off in front of Rengejo-In Temple.It is so peaceful and beautiful here. There is a zen garden, cherry blossom trees and the place smelled like incense.

We were greeted by one of the monks and he explained the rules to us. He brought us to our room and we had a small table with 4 chairs and after the 5 : 30pm mediation the monks come into your room to set up your beds which are flatter than a futon and a pillow that felt like it was filled with beans. You were allowed to help yourself to as much green tea as you wanted and help yourself to a little red bean cake which Eden knew I would not like based on the face I made when I bit into it. So Eden and I both realized that when the older monk was explaining the rules to us this younger monk came into the room and yes I kid you not we both thought he was too hott to be a monk. Now I am not into Asian guys, no offense to the Asian men, but this monk was hott and he had really nice muscles. Ok ok I know we came here to be enlightened and meditate not check out hott monks.

 Here was our schedule for the night and next morning : 5 :30pm meditation ceremony, where we sat in Indian style and meditated for 40 min., 6 :00pm dinner time, which was a vegetarian meal of tofu, vegetable tempura and noodles, 6 :30-10 :00pm you were able to take a bath, where Eden and I both got into our birthday suits, took a shower sitting up followed by a hot bath and then lights out at 11pm. At 6am we had to wake up for mediation. The gong woke us up 5 min. before mediation and Eden and I barely got any sleep, we scrambled to get ready for mediation and we were 5min late but they still let you enter the mediation room. Breakfast was at 7am which consisted of another vegetarian meal with white rice and sweet tofu.

We went back to our rooms and checkout was at 9am..... well Eden and I thought it would be ok to nap a little bit more and I kept hitting the snooze button to my alarm. All of a sudden we realized that we had overslept and we were 30min late past check out. Luckily the monks did not have an issue with it. We then headed out to Oku-no-in to see the graveyard. This was unlike any graveyard I have ever been too. ''Any buddhist worth their salt in Japan has had their remains, or just a lock or two of hair, interred in this cemetery to ensure pole position when Miroku Buddha comes to earth.'' Thank you Lonely Planet. We are lead into the temple on a cobbled path lined with tall cedar trees and thousands of tombs. While we entered the cemetery I watched a mosquito land on my arm and decided to have a conversation with it. I said " Oh yah you think you are going to get me well think again!" I smashed it with my hand and covered myself with bug spray. Thinking that I outsmarted the mosquitos later that day I noticed that a mosquito worked itself up my pants and now I have a mosquito bite on my butt. Note to self will now put bug spray everywhere including the butt.

We then walked around Koyosan and saw other temples and shrines. Attached are some photos.

Back on the cable car, back to Namba and we head out to Osaka station to get on our 10pm bus to Fuji!!

When we got to the station we got lost trying to find our bus stop we also had no idea where to buy or pick up our tickets. We went to 3 different information booths until finally someone helped us. We got lost again and this American guy who spoke Japanese and he noticed we looked extremely lost. He took us to another information booth and he showed us where we needed to go.

We then tried to shove both of our heavy bags into a small locker. We tried to pay for our locker but could not figure out the machine, pushed a bunch of different buttons in Japanese and realized our things were stuck in the locker. This woman tried to help us and she ran to get a guard. Luckily we eventually figured it out. Lol seriously!!! Oh no wait it gets more amusing so we go to this cafe to eat dinner before we got on the bus and again language barrier issue happens again. There was a variety of sandwiches to choose from and I wanted one with no meat since you all know everything has pork. So I tell the guy no meat and he thought I was saying more meat so the more I said no meat he kept showing me sandwiches that had more meat than the last one he showed me. So we played the game of no meat more meat. I gave up and chose a wrap with salmon followed by a sweet potato that I found in the food court area. Wanting to waste more time before our bus ride we went in search of a bookstore that sold books in English and walked by a subway, you know the eat fresh kind of subway, so we bought some books and grabbed some sandwiches and got on the bus.

When we got on the bus we were amazed. They give you a bottle of water, a blanket and slippers plus the seats had soo much space between them. It was like the Jet Blue version of a bus... more leg room. We both looked at each other and said DUDE! However, Eden and I were both unable to sleep and so on a bus from 10pm to 8am we were on 0 hours of sleep and we arrived at Kawaguchiko and are now preparing for our trek up Mt. Fuji.

Wish me luck!!!!

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