Sunday, March 29, 2015

day 2!

day 2: Arashiyama and the Golden Pavillion

The golden pavillion is a must see in kyoto.  It's covered in gold leaf!  it's super shiny and pretty cool looking.

 our kids love to light candles and burn incense at all of the temples!  I think I've mentioned it, but I love the smell of the incense now.  When we first arrived- I didn't like it much- but now it's so familiar and very 'japanesey'.
 metta seems to be growing up more and more every day.  she's really fun to talk to and is always excited about life.  I love her.
 at the golden pavilion they handed out this green drink filled with gold flakes!!  I'm assuming it's green tea or something of the sort.  The boys thought it was crazy that people would drink something that looks this green AND has gold flakes in it!!
 for some reason- here more than any other place- our kids were an attraction!!  metta and zeb and mack are crouched in front of this group of women getting their picture taken!  we had to tell the kids that if they were polite to everybody who tried to talk to them and get their picture taken with them- we'd buy them something special.  they were all really good to be pleasant and give smiles and peace signs for photos :)
this family wanted a pic of us ALL. So I had them snap one with my phone as well!

After our visit to the golden pavilion- we made our way out to 'Arashiyama'- a section of town a little ways out from downtown.  We rode a tram through some fun neighborhoods and through lots of cherry blossoms!!
 Many of the older Japanese still wear tradition kimonos and yukatas out in public- but it's even more common for the young people to dress up here in Kyoto!   it's so fun to see all of the bright colors and patterns!
 we did a decent hike up to 'monkey park' in arashiyama.  I love monkeys.  and I love hiking!
 and I love hilarious sign translations!!
 metta was convinced that these monkeys were going to poo on us!!  maybe because I told her they poo on people who whine about hiking :)
 the view from the monkey park is pretty awesome and well worth the hike!!  I love that japan is full of hikes and mountains.
 I think the kids were accustomed to monkeys because of our recent snow monkey trek. they paid almost no attention to these monkeys!! although they weren't quite as fun to watch or play with as the monkeys in nagano.
 we did get to go inside the monkey house and feed them all!  we walked inside a building on the mountain and they stayed outside.  It was kind of funny to be the ones caged in!!!
 our goal on the trip was to make sure and plan in plenty of fun down time for the kidlets so they wouldn't freak out on us!!  the monkey park also included a playground.
 these boys were all laughing so hard together!

 In all my life in the US- I've only seen one park with a slide this big!  but they are ALL over the place here.  Kent is convinced they have all of these amazing parks to make up for the boring temples and shrines all of the kids get dragged to and from :)
 mack was such a pleasant and wonderful kiddo.  Just hung out in the baby bjorn and smiled at people.  He loves his brothers.
 He had his very own temple in Arashiyama.  that 2nd Kanji is 'ryu' or dragon.  His middle name.
 It's located right next to the Bamboo forest.  this place was ASTOUNDING.  the pictures can't do it justice. It was so calm and peaceful. and the threes were all so tall and amazing.

cell phone pic.

 sometimes I forget we are traveling all over JAPAN!  a lot of the uniqueness is becoming a bit 'normal' and 'commonplace' for us!  And then I see things that seem so authentically japanese and I remember where we live.  It's so exciting!
 look at this old woman.  She is Japan.

 I am really impressed with our kids and how well they did.  We did have to remind them often that these places were temples and shrines and are sacred and holy to many of the people around us- but overall they were very well behaved!
 everytime we turned a corner- there was something else that was beautiful.  I took over 1500 pictures!!!!

 The japanese LOVE these Tanuki statues. we see them EVERYwhere.   they are especially common at places of business because they represent economic growth and good fortune.  But if you take a close look- you'll notice what look to be like the tanuki's legs- are actually his giant testicles!!

I could not believe it when I heard that!  I did a bunch of research and found this to be the simplest explanation:
'Because the Japanese terms for a small ball of gold ("kin no tama") and testicles ("kintama") are so phonetically similar, the image of a tanuki with a gigantic testicular region is now associated with good fortune and stretching one's money.'
pretty funny, huh?

Just before we boarded the train to head back into Kyoto- we passed a little shop with free samples.  Somehow I failed to notice the sign explaining what the samples were.  Probably because there was a lady handing out other samples that she kept saying were "NOT spicy".  I took a bite of one of the chips pictured below. and then nearly died.  see those two screaming ladies on the package?!  that was totally ME!!!  and see the 15 peppers pictured?!  they indicate level of spice.  It was surely the spiciest thing I've ever put in my mouth.  I had welts on my lips.  I wanted to die.  literally.  Kent thought it was all so so funny. I was miserable for quite sometime.

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