Monday, 13 February 2012
winter persimmon, Kyoto, Japan
You'd think with all this time I've had lately to write, I'd be able to blog a bit more than I am doing. But on the other hand, it probably means that my writing is going well, leaving me no gaps for a post here.
teahouse, Kyoto, Japan
I am still reeling (in a nice way) gladly, dizzily ... from our recent holiday (Thailand and Japan). We skype SEAR on Sundays, and it is a good way to keep in touch and to communicate grandparently joy ... but it's just not the same as being there. The photos bring it all back to a degree.
a New Year arrangement - many doorways or gateways display these - each component (pine branch, camelia, blossom ... the colours of green red and white ... symbolise different things. The meanings were explained to us, but I have forgotten them now.
Meanwhile, life here at home goes on. I like to start the day with a walk or a swim. This morning it was a swim. I go to the Hot Salt Water Pool in St Clair. (It is actually more 'warm' than 'hot'). This morning I could hear waves crashing against the outer walls of the pool. The tide was high and the rollers enormous. I was in the realatively calm waters of the Slow Lane with another swimmer, who should have been in the Fast Lane. I had to keep working around her swift traversing. I hope my annoyance at her being in the wrong lane didn't raise my blood pressure and undo all the good work!
New Year's Eve. A very cold NY Eve. Steve ringing the large New Year bell at his neighbourhood temple in Kyoto - he rang it three times, each time waiting until the bell was silent again. One peal each of his two children and one for his wife
While on the subject of bells - the other day two bell-birds (korimako) visited the trees outside our back door. This is a sure sign that autumn is here. They seemed to be asking, if we sing nicely, will you put out some sugar water for us again again this winter? They sang beautifully, then went on their way. Of course I will, I said.
a roaring log fire helped keep us warm as we waited in line to ring the New Year bell; I refrained, feeling a mite shy in front of all those lined-up locals. The log used to hit the bell looked very hefty - I was sure I'd miff it (and commit a clanger!)
'It is a custom among most Japanese to visit shrines and temples during the Japanese New Year’s Eve in Kyoto where they pray by the light of bonfire. “Joya no kane” is the name of the Japanese bell-ringing ritual which brings the old year to an end and ushers in the new. Giant temple bells known as ‘bonsho’ made of copper are struck with a large swinging beam at a spot that is decorated with lotus petals. The bell is struck 108 times on the New Year’s Eve in Kyoto to free people from the 108 Buddhist sins. ' (taken from an article in AsiaRooms)
We had our Dunedin grandchildren to stay on Saturday night. Taking them to the Gardens to run and play (and visit the aviary) brought back memories of taking our own children there - many years ago now.