Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Back to Japan

I had such an amazing week in Korea with my friend and his family. I was sad to leave! I met so many old friends, experienced the busy life in Seoul, the quiet peaceful places in Seoul (I was surprised to find how many there are), and I have been up in several tall buildings at night to see the spectacular views. I even went to an amusement park, and near the DMZ to look over at North Korea with binoculars. I tried so many interesting foods, and was able to eat more spices than I thought.

The last day together my friend and I went to Gyeoung Ju (maybe that is how to spell it). It is an historical area in the country side. I saw some famous temples, and took a crazy bus ride up a mountain when it was raining, or we were in a cloud, im not sure, but it was a wet road, and he was driving fast through the hair pin turns and I had to keep closing my eyes so I couldnt see over the edge. At the top it was a beautiful view into nothingness as we were for sure in a cloud. It wasnt raining or anything, just mist, like you are dreaming, but not really. Seeing the shapes of temples and lanterns coming out of the mist was truly amazing. We walked through the rain/cloud drops falling from the trees until we got to a building that housed a large carved Buddha statue that was sitting serenely up high on the mountain. My friend said that he had been there once at dawn and seen the colours of the rising sun reflecting off of the statue and the jewel in its forehead.

After braving the bus ride back down the mountain we went to a museum to see archaelogical finds from the large tombs of the area. There were so many things on display, from buttons to crowns, mirrors, pottery, tools etc. I was glad to have my friend to help give me useful insight to all of the treasures. We then went to see the tombs themselves, HUGE earthen mounds rising into the sky like pyramids almost but round-kinda like what you would see on teletubbies. We could tour inside one of them to see the structure of the tomb, pretty cool actually. After that we went to see an old observatory, a platform upon which people went to see the sky more clearly. It is not very high, but the shape is rather intriguing.

We stayed in Gyeoung Ju for the night, in a motel near the bus station, and then took a bus to Busan in the morning. He saw me off at the international ferry terminal, and I continued on my way to Hakata by boat, and then to Hiroshima by shinkansen. I arrived here and realized that I am a bit tired. I took it easy, and just walked around the park tonight (with another girl that I met here--it is a little sketchy there at night). We saw the atomic bomb dome and the statue of Sadako and the 1000 paper cranes that I learned about when I was in brownies. It is beautiful at night, but I am sure it will be even more so in the daylight.

Tomorrow my plan is to go to Miyajima if I can wake up early enough, and then go to the peace museum. I will take a train to Kyoto later in the afternoon, and see Daimonji (the fires on the mountain) there tomorrow night.

It is HOT in this computer room, and the keyboard is strange, and I pay by the minute, so I am going to sign off now. More to come later.

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