Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Wednesday Weirdness: Goofy Temple Sights

Kyoto is famous for its temples. Stately traditional architecture, glassy koi ponds, sculpted hillocks, well-chosen rocks: every element seems to be carefully designed to promote contemplation and serenity. Most of them succeed, too, even on a crowded autumn afternoon.

Except for these guys.


Sup baby?

. . . and then all the bacon will be mine!

Oh no you just di'nt!

It wasn't me! I swear!


I don't wanna work .  . .

I will haunt you in your dreams.

Yes, even my earlobes are fat.
One of the bigger, wilder temples we went to was also home to a small Shinto shrine, Jishu-jinja, which as the sign below can tell you, is the site of the famous LOVE STONE.

Unfortunately, the shrine was so crowded that I'm pretty sure no one was getting lucky that day!

That same temple, Kiyomizu-dera, also boasts one of the strangest things I've seen in a temple (and I've been to an animatronic Buddhist hell). One of the buildings near the entrance has a winding, pitch-black hallway through its basement, meant to symbolize a passage through the womb of Zuigu-Bosatsu, a female Buddha with the power to grant any human wish.

Following the prayer-bead handrail through the darkness was actually pretty peaceful, to tell the truth. Until you remember that you're supposed to be inside some old Buddha's womb.

Today's Lesson
お寺 (おてら)・ お手洗い (おてあらい)
otera ; otearai
temple ; restroom ("hand-washing place")

How long have we been asking waiters for directions to the temple?!?

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