Japan Day 4, July 6th
The only upside to rain is it breaks the humidity. For the first time since coming to Japan I was able to sleep in. That’s probably from the exhaustion of heat and walking for five hours. Grabbing an onigiri and an umbrella we set up our plans for the day. Rain can’t stop shopping, so we set off for the Osu Kannon temple and the surrounding shops.
Approaching the grounds I could hear chanting from the Osu Kannon temple. Granted, I was able to hear it because they pipe it through loud speakers on both ends of the building. And I’m half convinced it’s a recording they made several years ago and just play on a loop. In any case, it still adds a level of ambiance that’s rather novel. Kana made an offering at the temple, and made a short prayer for a family member who’s taken ill. We both lit some incense and inhaled its scent before proceeding to the long shopping complex.
While rain can’t stop shopping, scheduling can. Kana and I both failed to remember that since Saturday and Sunday are both big shopping days many stores are closed on Monday. This includes yen=g (think dollar a pound clothes shopping.) We resolved to head off to Tagata-jinja, rather than waiting to go tomorrow.
Tagata-jinja is a shrine to Izunagi, the father god of Shinto. Drops from the tip of his “spear” created the many islands of Japan. As such, he is seen as a god of fertility. In short, Tagata-jinja is the penis shrine. There are massive wooden penis charms, stone shaped like penises (some crafted some natural formations,) and massive wooden penis much larger than myself lain inside a shrine. I took many pictures, and grabbed a hold of the balls of romance and fortune. That’s not a metaphor. There are actual balls you grab meant to bring good luck and fortune.
The time was only 3pm when we finished at Tagata-jinja, so we opted for a temple trifecta and scurried off to Atsuta-jinja. While it’s not on display, this shrine holds one of the three sacred treasures that represents the emperor’s right to rule. The main building was under construction with a massive tarp covering it. As such I was unable to see it, but they were nice enough to have a painting of what the shrine looks like on the tarp. Kana told me a little of the history, and we wandered the forest surround in the temple. Trees there are over a millenia old, and due to the humid weather not only does moss grow on them, but grass as well. They look a bit like a green porcupine tree. There were also a number roosters wandering around just outside of the temple, as they are thought to bring good luck. Seems like I’m having a day full of cocks.
Kana and I took a few hours to rest up before heading out for the night. There were two bars on my list to visit in Nagoya, the first being Elephant’s Nest. We opted to walk, and finding our hunger growing, stopped into Yamachan, a chain yakitori restaurant famous in Nagoya. Kana was talking about how amazing their wings were, so we ordered a plate, along with some karage and assortment of small dishes. Everything was good, but the karage and wings were fucking amazing. If they opened up a Yamachan in the Bay Area they’d kill, and I’d be there at least once a week.
The food gave a good base for the drinks at Elephant’s Nest. The place is a British Pub like any other in Japan, but it has a nice design, good ambiance and friendly staff. Drinks are a little pricey though, at $8 for domestic beer and $10 for Guinness. Since Kana was paying for everything up to that point, including my rail fare, I insisted on paying for drinks. We relaxed and talked about her family and life in Nagoya before coming to America. As the night wore on she began to look a little sad.
When we started walking back to the apartment I could tell by the look on her face she was fighting with herself, as she often does. With a little prodding she told me that she knows she shouldn’t love me anymore because we broke up, but she does. She worries about when I start dating someone new and if she’ll be jealous. She doesn’t want that, and she doesn’t want to hurt anymore. I did my best to comfort her, but I think we both know this will take time. We’re certainly not out of the woods yet, but I plan on sticking to the road. At least the sadness was passing, and we were smiling and joking around agan before we arrived at the hotel.