Life is not a race.
Unless you`re a Clampitt. Then what`s not a race is a competition. If there are no competitors, go up against yourself. I usually take on the inner voice that provides unwelcome running commentary on the day. The one that advises I use my rejected hair from “Locks of Love” for dirty dishpan scrubbing.
I am currently involved in a friendly competition, against myself, to see which one of us can visit the most Japanese UNESCO World Heritage Sites. One of us is a cheater as she counts multiple visits to the same site. She`s the American. The Japanese version of myself, who plays by the book, Ouisar-san, has seen 12 of the 16 UNESCO sites. My American alter ego, Emily, has seen 46 of the 16. (Emily double or triple counts a single trip. Sometimes it`s for good reason and not just list padding. When the Nose visited she took so long going through each site Emily counted each as two visits. The Nose had to journal about each place. Then she transcribed even the most mundane of the minutia- the details of 8th century roof tile making techniques for example. And then she had to sketch it. Followed by a haiku composition. Then she choreographed an interpretive dance. It`s faster to circle the globe.)
The American version of myself runs through the shrines counting, throwing elbows at other tourists for the best picture taking position, cutting in the handicapped line, and knocking tiny elderly Japanese tourists out of the way with her overstuffed fanny pack. Ouisar- san reads all the signage and doesn`t take pictures if not allowed.
Ouisar-san allotted two and a half hours for Myajima. Emily carved out 30 minutes and forced skates on the other members of the party in an attempt to cut it down by 15. Officially known as Itsukushima Shrine, “Shrine Island.” Even people without an interest in Japan have seen pictures of it`s jaw dropping Tori gate entrance.
Built in 1168, the entire island is a sacred location. In order to maintain its purity, no deaths or births are allowed within a certain distance from the shrine. I`m not sure how “sudden deaths” are managed so don`t plan one while visiting the shrine.
The floating shrine with views of Mt. Misen and the bay north of Hiroshima make for a photographer`s dream.Which marks me as a tourist. Mine were spruced up with Instagram proving Emily is a cheater.
Can you find me?
This bathtub gives both a soak and scrub at the same time.
The rickshaw driver fought valiantly attempting to outrun the picture snapping annoyance. The bride and groom ended up as blog fodder anyway.
I soon discovered they were running toward all the food stalls. The local specialties being grilled oysters with ponzu sauce… (Soy sauce, mirin, and lemon juice)
and these meat and seafood mish moshes on a stick.
The only ham in the building is not just wrapped around the stick. The cook is used to being photographed.
As in some other locations throughout Japan, sacred deer roam freely to check visitors` bags for explosives, illegal contraband, and edible grain. As over zealous airport TSA agents, they will rip your packages open and your clothes off.
Miyajima- it ranks near the top of our “Japan Must See” List. Ouisar-san and Emily agree it`s a must see.