Monday, November 19, 2012

Ennouji Temple and Hachiman Shrine

Instead of spending another Friday staying inside, I decided to venture out on a tour of a temple and shrine in  Kamakura (a hotspot for Japanese history and tourism that's only a couple of train stops away). What's more, I decided to take the girls with me instead of getting a sitter. The tour was a free event offered by one of the offices at my housing detachment here in Ikego. A lovely Japanese gentleman named was our tour guide and my girls got a kick out of the signs he made to make sure he wouldn't lose us (or so we wouldn't lose him!). I took very few photos, as I had the kids to look after. Almost all of these photos came from one of my friends on the tour, Tonya, and a few extra came from our guide, Gishi.

Incense to light before entering the temple. If you look closely, you'll see a large statue in the middle of the temple. That's the guy pictured above ( Enma Daio). Thing 2 got a lot of laughs when she tried to make the same face as him.

Upon entering a shrine, you're supposed to wash your hands as a symbolic gesture of cleansing oneself before entering.  Thing 1 hopped right up and showed her sister exactly what to do. 

I was one proud Mama.

A group shot in front of the shrine.

Prayer tablets for sale. Purchase one, write a prayer on the back and hang it up at the shrine.


There are many smaller shrines around the main one here, so we found a nice shady place  for lunch. Right after we sat down, a Shinto priest starting hitting a drum and performing a small ceremony for some devotees. 

The girls seemed to enjoy it. 

I Love Japan.
On our way home, we passed a corner fish market. Thing 1 likes to look at all the ocean creatures, but definitely does NOT like the smell. Ha!

We also happened upon a little hat shop and the Japanese clerks insisted that the girls put on some hats. Then, our guide wanted a picture it. Before I knew it, we had a little crowd of Japanese locals gathered around us pointing and "awww"-ing over how cute the little foreign kids were. Thing 2's blue eyes alone usually get some stares.

It wasn't too long a day, but Thing 2 was worn out by the time we got home. I'm so proud of my girls for how well they have adjusted to living in a foreign country. They have no concept of being the minority, no apprehension about doing something wrong, no difficulty not being able to read (especially since they couldn't read English to begin with, heh!), and have quickly learned how to ride trains and visit Buddhist temples and Shinto shrines. Honestly, they are teaching me how to adjust. Simple days like this make me so glad that we made this move. What wonderful experiences they are having.

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