December 31, 2008

Make Your Money Double at Zeniarai Benzaiten Shrine!!!
Look Ma! No Hands!
This out-of-the-way shrine is well worth the short walk from Kamakura station! It's very picturesque with the main area being carved into a large rock/mountain/whatever with many colorful tori gates and carvings near a pond full of colorful carp. My camera crapped out after the first power up, so all I have is the first part of our visit:(
I put all of my yen and dollars into my basket including the coins I had on me. Silly? Maybe. But I fancy myself good with money and what do you want to know--I did come into extra, unexpected money in December and a bit more than "double" what I washed!!!
These eggs and jar of sake were sitting outside the main shrine in the area. We asked a monk who explained that the godess was a snake form and she ate eggs. (Did I get that right Yumi?)
After we prayed, we headed over to a really cool little snack shack that sold sake, beer, soft drinks and small munchies. We enjoyed tea and a few boiled eggs before hiking up to see an old house and garden.
Yumi might kill me for posting these. You can see how tired she is after working late the night before. But what a pal--she got her rear out of bed early (for a change) to take me on a hike through the Kamakura hills including a stop at Zeniarai Benten Shrine. Here's a map of Kamakura if you want to find your own temple adventure and here's more info on this shrine.
Kamakura, Japan

December 29, 2008

Grillin & Chillin
This weekend was gorgeous! Saturday and Sunday were sunny, clear and warm, so naturally we were at the beach both days--Saturday, to hike to a great Fuji viewing spot that we know of and Sunday to meet up with Enamoto San's family. They picked up local seafood and we brought plenty of microbrewed beer, veggies and chili. The highlights were definitely the Red Hook Beer (his wife couldn't get enough of it,) and the giant scallops and clams. All of the seafood was cooked right over coals on the beach with Fuji in the background. Everything was cooked as-is or with one simple seasoning; the clams were given a gentle dose of beer to "get them drunk" and the scallops a little pat of butter to simmer in.
After a pickup game of baseball and a few strolls, we nibbled on dried stingray fins and tuna steaks. Who knew dried stingray with a little Kewpie mayo and Shichimi (spicy seasoning) was so killer?! I could liver here half my life, (and I literally almost have,) and still learn something new every time we get together with our Japanese friends.
Secret Spot, Secret City, Japan

December 18, 2008

The Gal Who Mistreated Her Camera
It should be a fairy tale for children with expensive toys...I'm on hiatus because I've abused my best friend of three years, my digital camera. It's been dropped on cement floors at concerts, knocked around a backpack on hikes and absorbed countless splashes of liquid at restaurants but it was a slippery rock, a very ungraceful photographer and a tiny tide pool that finally did her in. Until I get it fixed/replaced, I'll be relying on Yumi's generous lending of her camera during our outings and the occasional crapp- quality mobile phone photo. Speaking of which, here's Santa Lucifer wishing all of you a very Happy Holidays!