Why does God always need money?
Domingo Mayo 17th 2009, 16:14 pm
Archivado en: Around the world ...,How far Japan...

This intense weekend seems to be like several quotes of Simpson san (Homer). The first one, that is the title, comes from my new discovered hobby of looking for shintoist shrines and buddhist temples. I discovered one of each close to the institute, and visited several times, but i wanted to go to the crowded ones in Tokyo. So there i went. Yesterday was the turn to visit two small shinto shrines, totally empty, and very relaxing and peaceful, as supposed to be. Surprisingly, there are noisy temples, and this counterpart has a name: the Asakusa buddhist temple. I went today, on Sunday, and in addition to all people that visit this place every day, today was an matsuri, or shinto festival. There were several procession of different groups, quite noisy, clapping hands and ringing bells, trying to communicate with gods. Crossing the crowds and going inside the Asakusa temple, you can find an amazingly big market inside, which sells everything, from amulets to food, all kinds; and inside the temple, there are huge boxes to throw coins inside (in the main door), and in front of the Kannon ‘chapel’. There’s lots of people throwing coins (10Y, or more, even notes of 10,000Y) ,so you have to be careful with the flying money, and after they can light a candle or get a kind of luck prediction shaking a box full of sticks and getting one. I wanted to go inside, but i wasn’t allowed. (so Buddha and Kannon need money, but don’t love ‘gaijin’, i guess).  After leading my steps to the gate, i found a ‘kabuki’ (maybe ‘no’? (traditional japanese theather play) ) ,but was about to rain,so i left the crowded-noisy temple, and led to Akihabara, the electronic town. In sunday, this is not so fun, not so many people in there…

The second Simpson-san’s quote, or better say, whole episode, was the fugu restaurant on Friday. My japanese colleagues planned a day hiking, but cancelled by the weather forecast that predicted rain, we decided to go to a ‘fugu’ restaurant. ‘Fugu’, or puff fish, is that kind of fish that inflates like a balloon, and eating it, if not prepared properly, is poisonously lethal.  Fortunately, this wasn’t like that episode, that Homer dies and goes to heaven; we’re still here. The fugu menu is a real show, a display of different ways of preparing it: first, the skin is served, after that the sashimi, the fugu tempura, and a kind of stew made of everything: fugu, adding potato crystal noodles (totally transparent, very cool) , tofu, and rice and egg in the end. That’s a lot of food!! So after eating and wondering when the effects will come, we were told that just the wild fugu are poisonous, as it comes from the food that they eat. So, for celebrating life, we went for beers (Cruzcampo) to an spanish bar (again, the idea wasn’t mine), and these japanese guys ordered jamón, tiny plate with an oh-supposed jamon iberico that,of course, wasn’t iberico at all, but serrano.

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