Today was -hopefully- the worst day of the holiday, cause I was so frustrated and tired and just not well.. The thing was, we had to travel all the way from Koya-san to Kyoto. As you might have read in my blog yesterday, I was not super happy about travelling there, as it was just a lot of hassle with the suitcase and we had to change vehicles a lot.
Well, I should have prepared for the worst, cause today was the worst, hihi. But it started pretty okay though. We are staying in this temple called Sekishoin and I was very happy to have a room all to myself. It was beautiful, it was simple and it really gave me the opportunity to think a bit. The fact that buddha was around me was a big help too though. Anyway, I did not really view the temple we stayed at as a temple as much.
It is very mean, but the issue I had with it was that it was all a bit too commercial. One of the monks was a white American dude, which of course should not have anything to do with religion, but it was just a bit odd cause this morning we had a morning prayer, and then he would stop his chanting at one point to tell people they could come forward and offer some scented dust to the gods.
In general I think it is good he was trying to learn us about the process, but it was just, I dunno, it felt a bit showy to me some how. I have seen a lot of temple services, and I have never had someone literally tell me what to do: it is time for prayer, so that is usually what the monks are busy with. Anyway, this all sounds very mean and please, that is not meant this way.
I think it is really good that this place helps people understand the special religion of Koya-san, and the guy can’t help being an American between all Japanese monks either. He probably devoted his life to this, or at least part of it, and that is amazing, I wish I had the courage to do such a thing. I dunno, somehow it just did not feel very authentic to me, but again, that is probably just me. Plus, this is a different type of buddhism than I am accustomed to, so to speak, so may be it had to do with that too.
Anyway, after the morning prayer, which was pretty nice by the way, we had a lovely veggie breakfast (I was so happy!) and then our horrible journey that took way too many stairs started. We walked, took a bus, took the cable cart, took four trains, two subways and walked for another 15 minutes before we finally arrived in Kyoto. I think that could have been done way easier, but may be that cost the travel agency more or something, I dunno. It was not a fun journey. First of all there was the suitcase, I had to drag it everywhere and we kept on going up and off stairs, and then there are those very sweet marks on the floor for blind people that my suitcase gets stuck in, argh.
And then there are the people in our group, one lady has a very agressive way of talking, while another person has alzheimers but his wife does not pay enough attention to him so he gets lost a lot of the time and all the other people in the group feel kinda responsible for him. Our tour leader is not amazing at his job, meaning he will just get in front of us all, use his metro ticket and then he is at the other side while we are trying to figure out which ticket to use (which is not easy when some of them are only in Japanese). I might be a horrible person for feeling this way, but I was just very frustrated with it all. The headache does not seem to go away, I still feel so tired, it’s almost like a burnout, just not getting the energy back, you know?
It is probably not that bad though, but it is just the weird dreams, that feel very strongly, they have been occupying my mind too. And all the thinking I have to do, the pressure of wanting to experience everything there is to experience on this trip; it’s all first world problems really. Anyway, when we finally arrived at our hotel we walked around for a bit, had some lunch, and then after checkin (my own room for three days, halleluja!), we walked in the geisha area close to our hotel, all the way to a shopping street filled with girls dressed up as geisha, and at the end there is this beautiful temple complex that we checked out. We saw a lot of sakura trees nearly blossom, nearly! One was blossoming, so we took a few pictures, we were so happy that at least there was one cherry blossom showing.
After that we were looking for a place to eat, but as the location I had picked off Tripadvisor was fully booked (which happens often in Japan, where restaurants mostly have place for 6 couples tops), we ended up in some pretty dodgy Irish pub. It was cute, the bartender and the cook were adorable, but it was just, well, not like Irish pubs in the Netherlands. We had some okay-ish food and then we went back to the hotel, where I am now. I really want to go out and have a drink with other travellers, but I am just too busy doing other things. And tired.
So, sweet dreams, dear lovers!