Monday, February 18, 2013

Views from Shitara

Before the Kabuki performance, we had some time to visit Damine Castle. Inside the castle was Samurai warrior armor.

South Middle School Principal, Mr. Chung, dubbed me the Dryden Dolphin Warrior. What do you think of that? The helmet alone was very heavy! I can only imagine how strong the ancient Samurai warriors must have been to don such heavy armor while in battle.

The view from the lookout tower was breathtaking. In a country about the size of California with a population about half that of the United States, it was surprising to see so many beautifully preserved mountains and freshwater rivers all around me.

A tradition I greatly appreciated during these cold days in Japan was the expression of warmth and hospitality with the offer of a fresh hot cup of tea. Everywhere we went, we were offered tea in such beautiful ceramic cups. These brief moments with a cup of tea helped me get to know people more closely through conversation while having a chance to relax and re-energize for the busy schedule that lay ahead.

After sitting for 6 hours to watch the Kabuki performances, we were ready to stretch our legs. We walked through a rice farm that was over 1,000 years old. The rice farm continues to be tended in traditional ways rather than with modern machinery due to the hilly landscape. To see how the different levels of the farm was tiered with stones was impressive. I tried to visualize how green and lush everything would look during the spring and summer as I walked through the peaceful area, only hearing the pleasant trickle of the streams.

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