Ms. Pady's Trip: JAPAN (on-going)

Ms. Pady

            Music teacher Mrs. Pady, along with her husband, has taken a year off to travel the world. Starting in Tokyo, she’s made her way to the Japanese cities, Kyoto, Nara, Hiroshima, and Miyajima. Lucky for us, we can trace their journey, read their stories, and browse through a gold mine of already nearly 200 stunning photos complete with captions. It’s worth zipping over to their site (HERE) just to see that in Japan, venders sell square watermelons! There’s also a neat video of high-ranking sumo restlers circling the ring before a match.

            Posted by: Mitchell & Deborah | September 30, 2008            from Mitchell and Debbie's Weblog

            Hiroshima has by far left the deepest impression upon us so far in Japan. The city’s horrifying history has been preserved through a park that contains the haunting skeletal remains of a domed building that was at the epicenter of the bombing as well as several beautiful memorials and a fantastically detailed museum. While the city works hard to ensure that this tragedy is remembered in hopes that it won’t be repeated by mankind, life continues to thrive around it in a way that we have not seen anywhere else. In a country that we have already come to know as friendly and welcoming, Hiroshima’s citizens are the kindest we have encountered. From the moment we arrived via the shinkansen train, EVERYONE we have met has been so warm and genuinely thrilled to have us visit. This is a city where complete strangers will walk up to us to ask us how our day has gone or if they can be of any help to us. Unbelievable. We were fortunate enough to meet up with three quarters of the Smith family once again on our first evening in Hiroshima and landed ourselves in a fun and quirky restaurant called Organ-za that serves delicious meals along with free use of a sewing machine or typewriter while you listen to recordings of Christmas music played on steel pans (seriously… we’re not kidding). The next day we visited Miyajima where the Itsukushima-Jinja shrine and its bright orange torii appear as though they are floating in the water just off shore during high tide (we arrived in low tide to wander through the mud right up to the torii).

            While we were visiting this temple, a traditional Shinto wedding took place at the main shrine. This was an unannounced surprise, and while wonderful to see, strange to realize that such a private event was taking place while hundreds of tourists walked past. Right next to the floating temple was the Daigan-ji shrine which is dedicated to the goddess of the arts and of water (the rhythm and pattern of water is considered to be the inspiration for the arts). In the evening, our return to Hiroshima was completed with the most fantastic meal of okonomiyaki (a huge pancake of noodles, egg, cabbage, meat, onions, seafood…. and pretty much anything you feel like dumping into it). The cheerful humour of the chef while he was cooking everyone’s meals really added to the flavour and the atmosphere.