Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Wednesday, Apr 11th, Matsuyama, Japan


Most Japanese live on its four largest Islands.  So far, our trip has been mostly on Honshu, the largest of the four by far.  For the last three days, we've been on Hokaido, the smallest.  Tomorrow, we head to the largest of the 8,500 others (Miyajma), and the only one that is entirely a World Heritage Site. 

Cities in Japan are designed around a hill containing either a shrine or a temple (and sometimes both).  Shrines have priests, and are organized to honor millions of Shinto deities.  Temples have monks, and are organized to honor Buddha, and his many representations.

And then there are towns built around castles built by daimyos and shoguns.  Matsuyama Castle, on Mt. Katsu, is one of them.  Most of these were never attacked in their time (we bombed quite a few of them in WWII), and stand mostly so warlords and the Shoguns generals can claim territory and feudal taxes.

We walked up the hill to it, and then up the stairs inside it, and saw the territory.  Today, it looks like any city.  In the 1600s, it was all rice fields and potential rivals. 

But we travel to learn more than who built what hillside shrine, temple, or castle.  We want to know about the culture and people that these structures grew from, and how they exist today.  We ride around the country listening to them, encounter them in shops and restaurants, watch them go to work and care for their kids.  And we try our best to adapt to their living conditions.

Our guide, Kimi, shares her life with us.  And her stories provide us with the insight that we hope will bring us a little more wisdom into how we could lead our lives.

To see all of the photos taken today, click on Wednesday, Apr 11th, Matsuyama, Japan.

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