|Mt Miura Fuji is to the right of the shot above. In the middle is Mt. Hodaiyama. On the left is Mt. Takeyama.|
Our view of the entrance to Tokyo Bay from the top of Mt Miura Fuji.
At the top of Mt Hodaiyama we found this gun battery. It was used during WWII to protect the Bay.
I think the one on the right says something like, I wish for everyone who comes here to have good fortune. Jenn translated it, but that was like, six hours ago...I can't even remember what I had for lunch two hours ago!
At midnight on December 31st the temple bells are rung 108 times. This symbolizes the Buddhist belief of 108 human sins, which can be washed away with the ringing of the bells. I also found out today that when the bell is rung it is supposed to be a gift to the gods because of it's beautiful sound.
This is a little offering site. I think this is the smallest torii I've seen. Someone left an offering of mikans.
We were invited to the home of one of Nina's friends after our hike for a Japanese New Year meal. This was my first visit to a Japanese home. I didn't take too many pictures inside...only food shots....because I didn't want to weird her out by taking pictures of everything. :) We walked into the house entryway, where we put down our backpacks and took off our shoes (turning them so the toes of the shoes were pointing toward the door). From here, we stepped up into the house. Junko's home is so pretty! The kitchen was small, compared to the American kitchens I'm used to, I'm not sure how it compares to other Japanese homes. The ceiling was pretty high, and the storage utilized every inch of that height. There was a dining table right next to the kitchen and then on the other side of the kitchen was a hallway...I didn't wander all over the house, so I'm not quite sure what the doors led to on that side of the house. We sat at a small coffee table in the main room. The coffee table had a big fluffy blanket under it, which we sat on, and then it had a blanket draped over it, with a table top sitting on top of the blanket. I couldn't figure out why there was a blanket draped over the table legs, but under the tabletop, until I sat down. The heat from either the floor or the blanket or maybe the table itself (? I'm not sure which) sent heat up into the blanket that was draped over the table. So, we sat down and then pulled the edge of the tabletop blanket over our legs and the heat that was trapped under the table warmed up our legs nicely.
Okay, so back to the meal. First, we had a plate of strawberries...yummy strawberries. I think Junko said she got them at LaLa Port in Yokohama. They were so sweet and delicious! She then prepared oshiruko. Which is a meal often eaten at New Years. Basically, it is a soup made with azuki red beans and a little bit of sugar in water. Then, she toasted mochi, which is a rice cake that has been pounded until it forms a paste, and Junko placed the mochi into the soup. One of my first blogs describes, and shows, the process. The mochi went well with the soup, but it was very chewy. Apparently, there are quite a few stories each new year about how older and younger people die while eating mochi because it is so chewy. My first bite was, of course, too big...silly gaijin. My subsequent bites were much smaller, and much easier to chew. We also had delicious green tea...nice, warm green tea! It was a great meal, and I had such a fabulous time hanging out with four wonderful women!
WOW! What a fantastic day!!! The weather was pretty close to perfect. It did get chilly in a few spots, but as soon as we hit the sun and moved up a few of the steep spots I warmed right up. I did end up getting rid of one jacket and my scarf. I took my gloves on and off throughout the trip. My fortune rang true for today, I met two wonderful ladies, and I hope to be able to spend time with them again soon!