Sunday, July 8, 2012

A Shrine, A Swamp, A Castle, A Geyser

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Ben and I went on a field trip with the Uenohara English Conversation Club today. It was a perfect day for a feild trip and we had an amazing time. We went to Suwa, in the prefecture of Nagano, it was about a 2 hour drive, and worth every minute.
Our first stop was Suwa-Taisha Shrine. Today was considered a lucky day, so we were able to see two weddings. Traditional shinto weddings are quite somber. Everyone is suppose to wear all black, except the bride, who wears all white. All the attendants of the wedding maintain a very serious face, and their are many processionals throughout the ceremony. The bride begins the ceremony in a hood, which hides her horns of jealousy from the gods, and demonstrate that she is a maiden fit to be married. During the ceremony the bride and groom observe a tradition called san-san-kudo, where they drink 3 glasses of sake 3 times together (a total of 9 glasses of sake). I really have no idea how walk in their traditional shoes, let alone stay sombre after that many drinks. 
After the shrine we went to a swamp. It was beautiful and serene. The clouds were changing above us so quickly, that it was almost dizzying.  The rolling hills and warm sun were positively spectacular.

After the swamp we went to Takagima castle. It looked how I pictured Japan before coming here. It was grand, angular, and exotic. The gardens surrounding it were lovely. They were manicured to perfection, and had a perfect balance of sun exposure, and cool shade.


After the castle we visited a geyser near Suwa Lake. I love geysers, and I don't think I'll ever grow out of the anticipation and excitement cycles I always feel. They are like natures fireworks. Geysers are one of those things that taking pictures only detracts from the experience, so instead I leave you with a picture being exactly a boy.

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