Sunday, May 30, 2010

It feels great to be alive.

Today was one of the greatest days I've had yet here in Japan and in my life as a whole. I know it's really something to say that, but I mean it. The day began with a tour of Byodo-in, also known as the Phoenix hall, a national treasure of Japan. This temple is nearly 1000 years old. This just isn't something you can find back in the states. There's something about the ages of these places and monuments that fascinates me. I imagine all the people that must have walked and interacted here and it instills in me a sense of awe, leaving me speechless really. It's hard to compare a 1000 years of blood, sweat and tears to anything else I've experienced thus far in my life. After we left the temple our group split up to find some lunch. A friend and I looked around for a while and were beginning to think we wouldn't find a satisfactory place to dine. Our efforts were not in vein because eventually at the end of the road (ironic?) we found a soba noodle place on the 3rd floor over looking Uji river. I didn't know what to expect from the food but I soon realized it was some of the best I've had since we've been here. Immediately I noticed the spectacular view of the river and mountains. Breathtaking really. The perfect place to enjoy Japanese cuisine while at the same time taking in the scenery if there ever was one. I had tempura soba with shichimi, a Japanese spice consisting of 7 ingredients. When were finished with our meal we took a stoll through the market again and bought some green tea ice cream. I wasn't aware this even existed but in Japan there's virtually green tea everything. Very delicious. From there we went down to the river I spoke of previously. This is where things really started to fall into place. There was a man playing an oboe whose music permeated the surrounding atmosphere and set the mood perfectly. In that moment time stopped and the dream was alive. One of the most memorable moments in my life, one that I'll never for get. I took this energy and put it into a sketch of the view I had from where I sat. I wanted to keep working but time is of the essence and we had a train to catch. Besides, once you stop letting these moments move through you and you try to hang on to them, they lose their meaning. I was there, I lived it and I loved it. I can't wait to return.

Because I found it interesting, and because it's pretty culturally significant, here's a link to learn more about green tea.

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