We walk from the train station to a restaurant you might easily pass, across the street from a river where egrets and other birds are hanging out in search of fish.
Inside, it's small and pleasant. Cloth dividers hang from the ceiling to increase the intimacy by blocking most of your view of neighboring tables.
I'm no gourmet, and rarely photograph food, but here we eat at least a dozen courses, each small, visually inviting, and delicious. So I readily fall in with Dael's suggestion that I photograph each one. A few of those shots appear below.
|Green Tea Ice Cream|
It's a memorable lunch, accompanied by sake (courtesy of Yuka-chan, the jazz singer and jewelry-maker)..
|Enjoying the sakura|
Afterward we walk back across the river and take a
|Ignoring the sakura|
|Visiting the bamboo forest by rickshaw|
for holiday fun, because a bunch of schoolgirls and adults mob them and take turns having their
photographs taken with the two.
The geisha participate patiently. Sometimes they don't; but our 12-year-old niece, visiting Donaldo and Midori from rural New Hampshire, was such a sensation that a couple of geisha requested photos of themselves with her.
I'm told some athletes take the job to get in some damned good conditioning work while getting paid for it.
Photographically, they lend themselves to pix that seem to come from some much earlier era in Japan's history. (Maybe I should have pretended these were some old prints discovered in the wonderful used-bookstore near Tombo's show.)
The temple turns out to be Tenryu-ji, which is both a "World Cultural Heritage Site" and an important temple. It's a Rinzai Zen Buddhist temple that was founded in 1339, but another temple, Danin-ji, had occupied the same grounds since the 9th Century. It was the first Zen temple in Japan. The Emperor built a villa on the property in the 13th Century, and his grandson was raised and educated here and became emperor in his turn -- and when the grandson died, the villa was converted to the Zen temple it still is. (Because of a series of fires, however, most of the current buildings date back only to the late 19th Century.)
happened to catch feeding time, and the employee
who feeds 'em told us one in particular would eat
directly out of his hand, then demonstrated. Here, they kind of look like monsters.
|We also saw this fellow in a much smaller pond up in the garden.|
In fact, it was delightful, although a somewhat overcast day.
It's also one of the oldest landscape gardens in Japan, and reportedly remains much as Muso Soseki designed it during the 14th Century.
But not before we pause to photograph another monk praying.