Wednesday, March 28
...Buddha Said To Say "Hello"

Despite the more Southerly Latitude, Kyoto is not very warm at nights. The temperature hits -2 in some regions and it is compounded by the fact that Japanese homes do not have central heating. I have two quilts on me at night and an electric heater in my room. However, getting up and away from the sanctity of my room challenges me with glacial horrors of the Canadian kind.

Another big breakfast. Rice and all.

There is so much I want to take pictures of. However, I learned that my camera only stores 36 images on a 32 MB card at the highest quality setting possible on it - which happens to be the default setting. Either it needs to have a way of jumping into economy mode easier or I'll have to buy another couple of 5,000 yen memory cards just to keep my snap-happiness alive.

I need to buy a USB cable to connect the camera to my brother's computer. Why they don't include one is probably the same reason why they don't included printer cables with printers. Until I have one, I won't be uploading pictures to the Net.

I was gypped. The same camera was in the store's flyer at 39,000 yen when in the store is was labeled at 41,500 yen. "Big deal" was my reaction. "I like my new toy and thirty bucks isn't going to change my mind on that." Big Business bilking cash out of the Little Guy pisses me off, but my sense of apathy far outweighs my self-righteous, socialist opinions.

Seiko's mother and my mother, on the other hand, is a different story. Simply put, Miharu called up the store and - while I have no idea what she said - I do know that she sounded very pissed off and insisted that they rectify the situation immediately. Despite the fact that the "silly gaijin" (tourists) were probably the butt of many jokes between the staff, that I would want to go back to this place at least a few more times. The final settlement was for store credit - my suggestion. Unfortunately I won't be able to bring home a cool plasma HDTV on 2,500 yen credit.

Today, we walked through what I mistook as "just another garden". That's not to say that is was not extraordinary since I was still blown away be the beauty of the foliage and intricacies of the garden. However, we walked up to a 'T' splitting the path to our right and left. Groups of other gaijin and dozens of deer were roaming freely around the park.

At the end of the walkway at my right was a tremendous structure. At the end of the walkway to my left was a tremendous structure and temple. We walked to the right structure first. Not due to any religious or traditional significance but because I needed batteries and that's where the shops were.

The gateway was about 140-180 feet high, built entirely of wood (no nails) and is about fifteen centuries old. Once again, something you just can't see in Canada.

Towards the other end of the path was another gate you have to pay to enter. On the other side is a Buddhist Temple containing the largest statue of Buddha in the world. The head alone is fifteen feet high. The temple is the largest wooden structure in the world - even bigger than the Ghoster Coaster at Canada's Wonderland!

Every photo I took, I tried to include people to help scale the size of the object of my focus. However, I worry that the immense size of these views will not accurately make the translation to photograph. Nor will the effort of walking up (literally) a mountain of stairs for ten minutes and only then being at eye-level with the roof of the temple make a translation into my Journal. I also worry that walking up all those stairs, hunched over, carrying the front of my nephew's stroller, chanting "ichi-ni, ichi-ni" (one-two, one-two) will not successfully trigger your sympathy.

All in all it was an experience to remember. It's only Wednesday and I'm enjoying this trip more than (almost) any trip I've had. I believe that it is in strong contention with my Banff ski trip as numero uno seeing as this is a full two week holiday.

Stayed up to 11:30 pm posting my first few journal entries to the web. My usual bedtime around here of 9:00 may have been contributing to tossing and turning for an hour each night. I only got up once overnight and I slept through until the Sun came up - about an hour before everyone else woke.