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Sidetrip: Kamakura
(Sat., Sep. 8, 2001)

 Saturday, September 8, 2001 (click to see all posts from this day)
  • Stations: None
  • Other places visited: Kamakura
  • "Prayed" at: Engakuji, Kita-Kamakura
  • Stopped at: N/A
  • Slept: Tom and Yuka's, Kamakura
  • Kilometers covered: 0
  • Total kilometers so far: 32.2
  • Words and Pictures: Engakuji
  • Words and Pictures: Tsurugaoka Hachimangu
 The Old Tokaido

After I spent the morning working on my homepage, Tom and Yuka and I headed into Kamakura. This ancient capital of the first shogunate--the Minamoto, or Genji, family's rule--has long been my favorite place in Japan. I came here once or twice a month in my first year in Japan! So being here with good friends is a real treat.

Our first stop was Engakuji, very near T&Y's house. I came here with my buddy Wendy over four years ago. It's one of the largest Zen temples in Kamakura, and I said my prayers today in front of a magnificent Buddha image. See the Words-and-Pictures page, which includes one shot of The Temple Guy at prayer!

We went on to a couple of small temples. One is a charming place where women pray for childbirth. There is a large red phallic rock standing in the sidewalk outside. Touch it, they say, and you're sure to become pregnant. I've touched it a dozen times, and--nothing.

The next temple was the site where the Hojo family--the true power behind the Kamakura shoguns--committed suicide by disembowelment (harakiri) rather than face defeat at the hands of the invading forces of Yoshisada Nitta. You can read more about Hokaiji here.

The last place we went (before dinner) was the great shrine Tsurugaoka Hachimangu. Here's a Words-and-Pictures page. To me, this, the Hasedera, and the Daibutsu (Great Buddha)--whom I missed this trip--are Kamakura.

After dinner, Tom and Yuka took me to buy a keitai--a cell phone--at a convenience store! It really IS convenient!

You can buy the phone without registering for any service (because THAT'S how they usually get you.) Then you buy prepaid cards, and use them instead of billed service. Meanwhile, friends can call you anytime. (In Japan, the caller, not the receiver, pays the airtime for cell phone calls.)

So now it's easier than ever for me to reach out and touch someone--with no hassle.

Finally, a funny e-mail. Remember the man who took my picture on September 5th? Well, he sent it to me today. Thanks, Mr. Kawahara! [Sorry, this is the original-sized file. How things have advanced!]

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Posted September 24, 2019

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