Wednesday, July 04, 2007
A day in Nikko
Yesterday Leiya and I went with my Tuesday morning English class to upper Nikko which is home to some famous shrines and temples. For the past couple years we five ladies (sometimes with Leiya, sometimes without) go for a day or weekend trip to somewhere not too far away. Yesterday we spent about an hour walking along the moss covered cobblestone paths til we got to the uppermost shrine. I had given Leiya the camera and I find she took over 200 pictures on our hike! So here are a couple to give you a feel of the day.
The weather was cool and drizzled a couple times during our walk but no out and out rain. Even though, the cobblestones were damp and slippery, probably like that all year round. The forest was thick and smelled wonderful and we met very few people along the way. It was a beautiful, peaceful walk and I can see how hundreds and hundreds of years ago people would feel that God lived nearby and would build a shrine.
After our walk we had lunch at a very fancy Japanese restaurant that specialized in yuba which is made from soy milk and is similar to tofu but has a completely different texture. It was delicious and I wish I could explain all the different forms of yuba used in this meal. (Too hard to explain and you really have to taste it to understand!)
Then we went to a wood carving studio and tried our hand at wood carving. Nikko is very famous for the gorgeous wood carving works that traditionally developed here (probably an off shoot of the carvings done on the Toshogu Shrine) and along with Mashiko pottery, this is another handcraft that has made our area famous. I have a couple of Nikko carved trays that I use daily to serve tea or cakes. Well, yesterday we tried carving ourselves and it was a lot of fun, very difficult to do and gave me a better appreciation of the work involved. Leiya and I had a great time and came away thinking we'd like to try it again someday! Here are our meager attempts at carving. They look pretty good if I do say so myself! The design was stenciled onto the wood piece and we used an interesting shaped knife to carve away the stencil lines.
Another great day planned by my good friends. Thank you very much!