Heart Warming Encounters: Kamakura, Part II

The symbol of Kamakura- Daibutsu (the great buddha)

Hm, so where was I? Read Part I, if you haven’t.

To be honest, it’s quite hard to recall everything after all this time.. so let photos do the talk. After Hase-Dera, T-san brought me to Daibutsu, which was quite close Hase-Dera (where we were previously).

Hey look! There are windows on Daibutsu’s back! We did not climb up though, as he said it’s really nothing special. Entry fee was 100 yen.

We stayed there briefly, as it was getting really crowded… and really, there’s nothing besides the big buddha. T-san said there were some nice nearby shrines too, so off we went!

To a small shrine that had a special meaning for T-san.

There was something special about this shrine, which I don’t quite remember now. But it was a really small tiny one.

T-san with this old tree at the shrine. He said its his “family tree” or something.

On our way to our next stop, we saw this old house. He said it was haunted? Or maybe I’m making this up 😀

Our next destination was to the Kamakura Literature museum.

A western styled two stories building. And inside was displaying literatures (books and history) by Kamakura authors/poets.

I was wondering why he showed me the Lit museum, so I asked if he was interested in literatures? His reply was “Not at all.” =_=;; He said he thought I seemed like the type to be interested in literatures and history (Where did that come from?). Plus, I couldn’t read Japanese, so I did not really understand much in the exhibits.

But it was sunny and was a nice walk in the garden.

Street trains in Kamakura! I find Japanese trains to be really interesting… esp after my trip to Kyushu.

Anyway, so by that time, we were close to his neighbourhood. No, he didn’t invite me to his house, but instead showed me his TOP favorite temple nearby.

Hon-gaku-ji (本覚寺). The temple is nothing fancy, in fact, a bit worn out and has very simple decor. But this is the Zen way.

Some Shidare Sakura (aka Weeping Cherry Blossoms), which is my favorite type!

A very cute Jizo with bib.

By this time, it is well around noon, and he seemed to be in a hurry. He told me his usual routine on weekend was to have morning exercise at one of his favorite temples, stay for a couple hours then go for lunch, and finally return home to work. He seemed to be a pretty busy man. Anyway, so he invited me to have lunch with him at a local restaurant.. and he even made a reservation after.

It was a small shop run by a mother and his middle aged son. There were several tables, around 10 seats in total. He ordered he lunch set for us. And as we were waiting for our meal, we chatted and I was showing him some photos I took in Vancouver on my phone. Later, the nice old lady (shop owner) and his son (while cooking) talked with us also… They did not know english but we still managed to communicate, thanks to T-san’s translations. The food finally arrived (dish by dish actually)… I did not take photos because it wouldn’t seem polite to take photos every time a dish comes, right? And I was really hungry then. As I recall, we had sashimi, salad, seafood steam eggs, stuffed potatoes, tempura, Sukimono with rice, and coffee. Everything was fresh and yummy! I really enjoyed the meal and the chat with him. He talked about his family, his sons and daughters, his work. And it’s always interesting to hear life stories of others!

The lunch was on him also… OK, I wanted to pay for his lunch, as I was very thankful for him… but the old lady only took his money T_T Anyway, since he was busy and so I told him he should go and I would continue my initial plan to hike up a mountain nearby. Before that however, I told him I wanted to visit the shore first… so I pulled out my map and asked him about how to get there… And it was a mistake.. because he was so nice, too nice.. that he decided to bring me there! Oh man, I felt really sorry to take up so much of his time!

Anyway, he said the group company of his workplace was around there, so he wanted to show me the nice view from there. We took a free bus (yes, there was free bus to take people there)… and after 15 minutes, we arrived!

Apparently, the group company that he referred to was a Resort, and wedding arena… by the ocean!

The sun was bright though it was cold.

Seriously, the place felt very tropical. Actually, in this part of the town, all buildings (even apartment buildings) were painted white!

There was a wedding in preparation, but we still managed to get in.

Walk straight, and you get 180 degree view of the ocean!

After, he took me to this yacht repair/parking place, which belonged to the resort.

Many parked yachts.

Had a photo taken with an employee there. She had been to Vancouver and she said she liked Stanley Park. OK, so apparently Stanley Park was a popular tourist spot in Vancouver…

So, yes… this pretty much concluded the part with T-san… We took the taxi back( he did not have the time to wait for the free bus) to the station area. He pointed me to the right direction to head for the hiking trail.. Then it was our goodbye. We exchanged contacts and he told me to call him up the next time I visit Kamakura again (Have been there a couple times since then, but did not call him =D But I’ll definitely visit him again and thank him before I leave Japan).

————–

So.. you’d think the story ends here, right? No.

After we had our farewell, I walked into a nearby Starbucks to use its washroom… Ah, it was a long lineup, so I was just browsing the net while waiting. When it was finally my turn, guess who I saw? OK, you’d never guess…. One of my Japanese teachers! The world is just really small, isn’t it? I asked her if she came here for temples (I mean, that’s really what Kamakura is for)… Apparently, she and her husband came here for her friend’s party. And she invited me to join!

A little bit about my teacher, she could not speak English well… but somehow we could communicate through simple Japanese/English phrases and body languages. Both she and her husband (computer engineer!) have retired… so now they are just enjoying their lives and she teaches Japanese when she has time. Seriously, she looks very young for her age.

Anyway, so we first went to a florist to buy her friend some flowers. It really wasn’t a party, rather, it was her friend’s art exhibit. Her friend was a Dutch pottery artist, and the exhibition was held at a small gallery in town. Her friend’s works were heavily inspired by the Japanese cultures.. in fact, the theme this time was Kamakura-Bori (鎌倉彫) and Sakura.

You can find her website and check out her works by searching “Swan Ceramics”. 

We stayed for about an hour at the gallery, having some conversations with her friend and guests. And after, my teacher recommended me to visit Kita-Kamakura (北鎌倉), instead of going hiking… because it was getting late and the days before were rainy- so trail condition wasn’t that great.

Temples usually close at 5pm… and I arrived En-gaku-ji (円覚寺) at 4:30pm. 

It’s one of the biggest temples in Kita-Kamakura. Look at the site map…  -_-”

The main gate… 

I like the roof.

Many Jizos… Actually, the pathway was lined with Jizos, this was just one corner.

A weird looking tree. 

The moon…

A ‘cotton candy’ tree.

After climbing many stairs, I reached a small garden.. and saw many flowers of this type

Some early Sakura blossoms.

Too many buildings inside En-gaku-ji… All looked similar to this.

I got kind of bored, plus it was getting late. So I’d better return to Kamakura (again!), because I still haven’t bought any souvenirs for my coworkers!!

The Kita-Kamakura station…looks small and beat-up, doesn’t it? Wait till you see the train stations in country side of Kyushu…. 

Kamakura station was only one stop away. And look at this ridiculously short escalator.. Just 8 steps from bottom to top =_=” 

Hehe, this shopping street right outside the station was the reason I went back again.

My favorite brand of milk candies when I was little. 牛奶妹!

Totoro store! 

So cute.

Are these really finger puppets? Featuring cute Ponyo.

Meow. The black cat from “Kiki’s Delivery Service” 魔女の宅急便

A Zakka store selling Kamakura souvenirs… 

This looks realy ugly. I wonder if any kids would like this?

Daruma! I really should have bought one!!!! Regret it so much… it was only 500 yen anyway! I want to paint his eye!!

Bought some kind of snack from this old lady… Taste was so-so.

This is what the walkway that lead to Hachiman-gu looks like at night… At the time the Sakura trees on the side had not bloomed yet. 

A local toy store. Loved the ultra man decor above it!

Finally, after much running (stores in Kamakura close really early.. like 6pm), I bought these snacks for my co-workers. 

Many unexpected, yet exciting things happened. Got to meet this nice old man, who guided me around town and joined my Japanese teacher to see a pottery exhibit. And really, compared with Kyoto, I like the tranquility of Kamakura more. Or maybe I’m biased simply because my experiences there- Kamakura will forever have this special place in my memory.

Phew, finally I completed my posts about my April Fool’s journey to Kamakura…. That took long. But now I can move on to blog about Kyoto and other places.. one at a time.

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One thought on “Heart Warming Encounters: Kamakura, Part II

  1. WOW looks like you had tons of fun! And you are so lucky! Running into all these nice ppl =D As you probably know… im too busy to comment on every picture as i normally do… sorry! But dont worry! I read it ALL =D I really wanna go to the totoro store!!! =P

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