Thursday, May 17, 2007

Day 4 - Everyone loves Rob!

We ventured on our first trip outside of Tokyo to Kamakura. Kamakura was once the capital of Japan (but so were a million other cities) that is famous for its temples and small scale. Before we left for the trip, Huay and Rob were so excited when they found out there was a Doughnut Plant right next to our hotel.

This is the place we went to on one of our trips to Manhattan – they have square donuts with jelly round the middle.

Next to the store was an Anpanman store – Anpanman is a Japanese character that is a superhero donut. Rob had to take a photo with the Anpanmanmobile.

We were so lucky to have fantastic weather today. Kamakura has a lovely pedestrian street that leads up to the main Shinto temple. There are cute stores and restaurants and lots of tourists.

A cute maneki neko – we call them “give me money cats”.

Speaking of tourists, most of them were Japanese students on school trips. They traveled together in packs and were very cute.

Rob got so much attention from them – he would walk past and one or two would say “Hello” or “Good afternoon” and would giggle when he responded.

At the main Shinto Shrine, Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Shrine, there were lots of people but it was very calm.

There were some lovely smaller shrines and views as well.

Traditionally, you wash your hands and cleanse your mouth before entering the shrine. Of course we followed suit.

We then walked to a Zen Buddhist temple, Kenchoji Temple, to compare the difference in architecture. The Shinto shrine was colorful and ornate, while the Zen Buddhist temples had elaborate carvings but were left in their natural wood state.

There was also a lovely Zen garden where we sat and contemplated the meaning of life.

Afterwards, we headed back to the main part of town for lunch. I had seen this cute restaurant that had owls all over it (and no English menu – thank goodness Mama was there!). It turned out to be a perfect place to rest and eat. The second floor was tatami seating and the service and food were perfect.

There was a notebook where other guests had written their thoughts – it seems like many people agreed with us!

Rob saw another Anpanman and had to pose with him.

This is the point where the trip got very interesting. As Rob and I were walking down the street with the throngs of crowds, we were accosted by a camera crew who asked us to do an interview about our trip to Kamakura. They wanted to know what we bought for souvenirs. The interview turned funny when the interviewer (we’ll call him Hiro) asked us if we prayed at the temple. I pointed to Rob (because he did pray) and Hiro asked Rob what he wished for and he said, “Nothing! I was too nervous to make sure I was doing it right.” When Hiro and the translator laughed at him, Rob asked if he could make his wish then. Rob said he wished he and I could stay together forever, which caused Hiro to bow in respect and end the interview.

Our 2 seconds of fame!

Our last stop in Kamakura was the featured tourist sight – the Daibutsu, or Big Buddha.

For an extra 20 cents, we could go in the statue and look at it from the inside.

We saw some monks at the site – do you think we should have compared bags?

After this, the four of us parted ways. Rob went to Yokohama to see some architecture. He said that the attention from the school girls continued. They even yelled "Hello!" to him from across huge boulevards.

Huay went out to dinner with a friend from college who has lived in Tokyo for ten years. They had okonomiyaki, savory pancakes that are cooked at the table.

Mama also went to Yokohama, but to have dinner with her three siblings. My aunt Kanchan drank too much and wasn’t able to enjoy the dinner, but my mom said it was still a very memorable meal (maybe because Kanchan laid down for much of dinner!)

I went back to the hotel, took a nice long bath and relaxed.

The 16th is Huay’s brother’s birthday – Happy Birthday!

Next up – a day that started out rainy but ended up nicer than we could have expected.


caitlyn said...

Rob's wish was so sweet!
I just wanted to let you know, Mari, that I am *totally* enjoying your posts from Japan...particularly the photos!

Ashley said...

I too am enjoying the virtual tour of Japan. Thanks you for the informative posts!

MinaG said...

Wow, Rob is a mini-celebrity, wonder what movie star everyone thinks he might look like, people in Ichinohe thought Steve looked like Harrison Ford. Love the photos... Ok, what touched me most was Rob's wish. Awwww... I wish that too!

yumi said...

Rob, that wish was wonderfully sweet. I'm so glad you guys are having so much fun. Oh yeah, the food looks so good and Anpanman...

yumi said...

Happy Birthday, Huay!!!

yaiAnn said...

You guys look like you're having so much fun! So jealous of your trip!

lupinbunny said...

unnnghh... you just made me soooo jungry for sushimi. i haven't had a proper lunch because there's nothing appetising in the house. I think I might have to crack open a can of flavoured tinned tuna and pretend like it's sushimi.