Yokohama and Kamakura, Japan
OMG! What is up with Japanese Internet service??? I tried to post the previous post online a thousand times, and not once did it let me get onto any websites. I could get to my emails but that is about it. STRANGE! I heard that in Korea it will be better, but we shall see.
The ship docked in Yokohama and we decided to go with Ellen to Kita-Kamakura instead of Tokyo. We felt that Tokyo would just be another GIANT city like so many others we have been to already, and even though we were staying overnight and could spend the entire day and night if we choose to, I really wanted to see a small village so we went with Ellen. Ellen has been to Japan many many times for business and pretty much knew where to go and what to do, so we basically tagged along with her. She plots out her route down to the second, almost, and is an avid photographer, so we know that we will be in great hands with her.
First let me tell you what the people of Japan are like. Everyone and I mean EVERYONE is extremely polite and extremely well dressed, some in traditional dress and others extremely avant-garde.. When you are handed a ticket it is with both hands and a bow. Everyone is constantly bowing and thanking everyone. Japanese people are always trying to please, so even if they don’t know something they will smile and nod and hope to please.
The city provides a shuttle for our ship, and we took advantage of it. There were volunteers who spoke English; they helped us to understand how to get to the train station so that we could get to Kita-Kamakura and Kamakura.
Since you aren’t allowed to smoke anywhere in Japan they have special designated smoking sections, and the shuttle stopped right in front of one…
It was second-hand smoke hell! But at least they are contained. It was right in front of the train station. I would say the train station is a similar to Grand Central Station but definitely not grand. You buy your tickets from a machine and find the track you need. The sea of people was non-stop. People everywhere, running to trains, jobs and who knows where.
The train was filled with kids in uniforms and we assumed they were going to school. You see lots of people wearing masks. Japanese are so very considerate of everyone that they use masks when they feel that a cold is coming on.
Once we got off the train there were kids everywhere, and I mean everywhere. There must have been thousands of kids all in one type of uniform or another.
Some background on Kamakura.
Kamakura was the Japanese capital from 1185 to 1333, so it is one of the most ancient of cities in Japan, with more than 70 historic temples and shrines, we saw 3 temples and a couple of shrines and one extraordinary Buddha. The temples are in complexes that have private residences for the monks, tea rooms and gardens. They have tons of steps and winding paths. Some are Zen Temples, others are dedicated to different gods. There was one Temple devoted to the 10 Judges of Hell.
And here they are!
Do you see all the kids?
The King of the 10 judges of Hell. The next time someone tells you that you look like hell, show them this guy.
The tranquility of the Temples can be felt walking along. There were 2 women sitting quietly, drinking tea in a garden by a tea house on the property of one of the temples. There were ways to place a wish or prayer. You just write a wish or prayer on a paper or small piece of wood and tie to the the post.
We were approached by a group of kids who started talking to us in English. One of them pulled out a notebook and asked us questions that must have been his homework. Once we finished answering the questions, he said he had a “thank you” gift for me and handed me a small origami crane, which in Japan represents a desire for peace. It was a lovely gesture. Here are the kids. Adorable!
There were kids everywhere, like I said before.
And here are just a collection of some interesting pix that we took.
The “swastika” symbol in Japan is used on maps and public directions that denotes a Temple or Shrine.
Sake Barrels at the Temple.
Traditional Wooden Sandals
Rickshaw driver’s shoes.. Similar to skeletor sneakers.
The Buddha’s Sandals
Purifying your hands before entering the Shinto Temple to pray:
$200 knives.. Don’t I wish I could have purchased them! Divide the prices shown by 78 to get the price in US Dollars !
Rain Bells – Used as rain gutters at the temples
Sugared Dipped Grapes… All the kids were eating them, they were huge grapes and they were selling for a $1 a grape!
The train that took us to Kamakura.
We arrived back at the ship just as it was getting dark.
Here is the view of the City of Yokohama at night from our ship! Note that every city in Japan worth its salt has a large Ferris wheel !
Chinatown tomorrow morning. We are pulling out at noon.