Well, it is jam packed post so we better jump right in. It turns out that the whole ‘near perfect memory’ thing is a curse because Linda came home with 4000 pictures (Linda, not me, just Linda) from Japan. And it kept bothering me, “Where is THIS picture.” And “Where is THAT picture” and I started looking, and looking and finally since we made SO many redundancies it turns out that a whole section of 129 pictures was “lost” on the laptop we took with us (they probably accidentally downloaded into my ‘naughty pics Linda shouldn’t see’ file). So I took them off a backup and we have a trip down memory lane from arriving in Hiroshima, to going to see WILD MONKEYS on Miyajima and finishing with the Onsen we took that evening, 24+ hours of photos in all from ONE of the two camera (I’m only showing a small fraction, okay!).
But first, is Mr. Soot from Spirited Away ready for his big 10K adventure on Sunday. I asked and he is. We went to pick up the race packets and there was a “running fair” on. We met with a woman fundraising for assistive dogs from the Lion’s club who said I could get an assistive dog but I asked about the walking of it and who does that and she said to call the chairperson as this was “a very good question.” I also had this chiropractor read my spine and his machine about blew up as part of my neck is twisted one way to the maximum and my C sections torqued the other to the max and my T section are nerve damaged. I was, “um, I know!” (this is why I was in so much pain I hallucinated while trying to sleep this afternoon). Anyway, I bought a top, Linda bought shoes (for her Monday jogging class) and Mr. Soot said he is ready to go!
I was given a calendar this week by of one of the Victoria female roller derby team members and it is a cunning gift as they gave it to me this week and I still don’t know for sure what month it is (it is always April, right?). This is one of the two teams in Victoria and they do it to raise money for insurance which considering three members have broken a leg each since Jan. seems to be high. After looking at the calendar I decided that maybe it was always going to be AUGUST in my study, as Ausust is the captain of the team, Choka. And I bet like you, I wondered, “Is there more to this sport than I originally thought?” Then the friend told me that "NO, they do rollerderby with the clothes ON!!" and my newfound interest disappeared. Still, ever august!
Now, back in Japan a week or two ago, we had just left the blossoms and castle of Himeji by JR train and arrived late into the dockside of Hiroshima, right across from Miyajima. Do you remember, is it coming back? Well, we ate at the hotel resturaunt which had the waterwheel we had seen filling the rice fields with water all the way through the central Japan from Kanazawa. And I had my first “Japan” meal (besides the bento) as my Beef Soba! Which Linda then ruined by going on about the fish smell. Boo to Linda.
The next morning we were up at the crack of….9:00 ish and on the ferry to Miyajima. A local told us where to stand/sit and we got the picture of the ‘floating torii’ and the shine (considered the third most beautiful view in Japan). Though Hiroshima was blasted by the US with an atomic weapon, the island of Miyajima, to the south was blocked by a rise and spared. Which allowed this ancient pagoda and the amazing shrine of Miyajima to exist.
But we had come for...wild monkeys, only to be stopped by “Kaidan” (150 steps to be exact, at two different changing stations). Well this picture is taken at the switiching station, the part where they decided I had enough pluck or determination or spirit and were going to carry me the rest of the way!I only wish it wasn’t SIX guys carrying one female – it does give me a bit of a complex.
So we got to the top and I took some pictures of baby monkeys in the sun (look in the left corner), or trying to get out of the sun because it turns out that the top of the mountain is a rather hot place. Meanwhile a mother and child sunned themselves on a rock away from the dominant males.
The males meanwhile played the Wild Monkey equivilant of Playstation....personal grooming of each other!
While I was stuck in one hot sunny place, Linda was hiking all over the mountain top and had found the OTHER sign (remember the one about don’t look in the wild monkey's eyes or they will chew on your arm), this one is sort of for human AND for monkeys who can read. It seems the major warning of the dangers posed to wild monkeys is that if you stop treating them like wild monkeys....they will turn into North Americans.
Linda really is quite a photographer and it irritates the bejeeses out of me (becuase I work and wait for JUST the right picture), as she just goes about snapping things and gets the most amazing pictures, like this one, which to me might as well be in National Geographic. It captures for me what the wild monkey’s really are: monkeys in the wild, on the mountains of Miyajima.
Of course she couldn’t resist a few “baby monkey” shots either but unlike me could get them from different angles and places because SHE wasn’t stuck in a wheelchair having been carried up two mountain peaks and 150 steps by a team of puffing yet stoic ropeway employees (no bitterness!).
Down in the shrine, she got a picture of me, which while reflecting me even more red by the VERY red shrine also shows in the background the complexity of the structure and how amazing it is for something like this to exist hundreds of years on the ocean.
Flipping through the 129 pictures I came upon two, both with different colour focuses which are uncut, untouched: they are what they are (which is why the Linda style of “oh that looks nice” and thus takes a perfect picture drives me insane). One is a preperation room, look at the rope above the doorway, the complexity of the room, and in the other picture, do you remember when I told you how the monks made rock gardens so as the tide rose it would fill them and create little scenes of beauty below and around the shrine. This is just one of those.
The final pictures are of the Onsen we went to that night in Beppu, and how after hiring a room, there is the “pathway through the garden of mystery” – lit in odd green by the steam of the central spring. Then you get a gratuitous, “Oh, how come I can’t a “Onsen’s of Beppu” Calendar girl?” shot.
The final shot is the first picture Linda took getting off the bus the next morning to see the wonders and mysteries of the hell springs. Nothing I think could finish this tour of the beauty in lost pictures better than the steam, the color of the pond, the cherry tree, all of it, once again, untouched and uncut (how do you do the framing Linda?).
I hope you enjoyed the trip down memory lane, I did, though again, I am the colour of this hell pond with envy at some of the pictures Linda just....takes. But I am glad she is on my side. Happy weekend!
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