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Written on: Monday July 21st, 2008

A journal entry from: Japan

A couple of weeks ago, I met up with some friends, and their new baby, in Kamakura, a sea-side town part-way from here to Tokyo. Kamaura's famous for a large bronze Buddha statue, similar to the one in Nara, but smaller. This one was once housed in a building, too, but the building was apparently washed away by a tsunami about 500 years ago, so now Buddha sits happily out in the fresh air. For 20 yen (about 20 cents) you can also go inside the statue.

After lunch and a stroll, I took a short walk through the woods nearby, and on my way back to the station, I happened upon a pathway lined with white ballons with small lights inside, leading up to one of the main shrines in town. It just so happened that it was a holiday that day - Tanabata - and I was lucky enough to have stumbled upon a public performance at the shrine. Tanabata is a holiday on July 7 that celebrates an old story of two lovers who were separated long ago, and are only allowed to meet once a year. They are supposed to be the stars Vega and Altair, separated by the Milky Way. There was a shadow-puppet play about to be put on at the shrine, with live (traditional?) music, and lights - it was excellent, and peope lined a tall set of steps to watch. Unfortunately, my batteries ran out so I didn't get any snapshots, but ah well.