Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Catching Up

The holidays are always a whirlwind of activities.  As soon as November came last fall, we seemed to be busy every waking moment.  Now that we’ve turned the corner into the new year, I have finally found my way back to blogging. 

Before sharing my holiday activities, I need to catch up on the rest of rest summer.  (Yikes-it really has been awhile!)

One of our final weekends last August studying Japanese in Okazaki was busy exploring some special shrines, hiking some mountain trials, and exploring an old castle. 

We began with the shrines. 

Fertility is a celebrated aspect of life here in Japan.  In addition to the special shrines, there are also annual festivals held to specifically celebrate fertility.  During our visits to these two shrines-one dedicated to each sex-we witnessed several families with new born babies, likely giving thanks for the birth of their healthy child. (I am afraid I do not recall either of the temples names we visited.)

The shrine dedicated to male fertility.

Shrine dedicated to female fertility. 
Pregnant women are supposed to crawl through.  If they make it, they will have an easy birth.

The castle we toured-Inuyama Castle-we discovered is the oldest standing castle in Japan.  It was built in 1537 (reconstructed in the 1960’s). 

After refreshing ourselves with some ice cream, we were ready for a hike.  On our way to the trailhead, we stopped to view some lovely waterfalls.  The two waterfalls are said to be a couple-one male, one female.  One of the waterfalls in quite loud while the other is quite quiet.  It’s up to you to decide which is which. 

Our hike was beautiful.  It left me longing for more time in the mountains. 

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