vrijdag 9 mei 2014

JAPAN | Osechi ryori and SCARY shrine visit

During my stay in Japan I have been to several Shrines and/or temples. I got the chance to walk through them and really observe the architecture. I remember the day I landed in Japan, the first glances I took at the houses... I was already amazed by that, but the Shrines and temples would be something else!

I have seen churches and cathedrals, but I have never seen a Shrine or temple in real life. This particular Shrine that I want to show you guys, looked like a complete film set. It was so neat, colorful and huge. The story behind it made me shiver. But first some fooooods.

1st of January breakfast

On the morning of the first of January there was a special kind of breakfast served for us. This traditional Japanese New Year food is called Osechi-ryori, (お節料理). Mostly this will be eaten throughout the first three days of the new year. It gives house wives some days off from their responsibility of cooking. There is a combination of sweet and salty tasting pieces.

I really liked the beans(sweet) called Kuro-mame which translates into black soybeans and the Datemaki(sweet), to be found on the first row in the middle, which are sweet rolled omelette mixed with fish or shrimp. 

Before going to the Shrine

The plan that night was to hang out with one of Tatsuya's friends. We would meet with him somewhere and he would drive us around for a bit. But before we left Tatsuya's dad learned us to make Gyoza. It was a lot of fun and very interesting learning the difference between Japanese dumplings and Chinese dumplings. I quite sucked at folding the dumpling sheets around the pork mixture. Next time better perhaps! But yeah, the first bite was so tasty! There was so much flavor to it and I couldn't stop eating! But I had to, because we were heading out for a mysterious drive that night, hehehe.

Adventures and scary stories
Visiting the Shrine was a spontaneous idea. There wasn't really something planned to go and do. First off we met at a 7-Eleven shop, I got some chewing gum. Second off we got in Gaku's car. We drove around and ended up in a park were they used to hang out after school when they were younger. It was so dark that I kept looking around if nobody was following us, haha. They told some scary stories which were quite frightening.

Pipi Machen
After walking around for a bit I needed to go to the bathroom. Awesome Japan wouldn't be awesome Japan if it didn't had public toilets everywhere, for free! Haha I kid, I kid, no..., Japan is not only awesome because of its free public toilets of course! But yeah, continuing.. They pointed out where the toilets were and I walked in. The very first impression I got when stepping inside was: "JUCCCK!". Damnit, it was super dirty in there and stinky. I searched for the cleanest toilet, but there wasn't even one better than the other. So I decided to wait until we encountered the next 7-Eleven store or some other place were I could take a leak. I left the bathroom.

Creepy toilet story
Once I reunited with the guys we strolled to the car. The toilet was close to the parking lot, so we did not have to walk far. During the walk one of the guys told me a story. I don't know if it was Tatsuya or Gaku, but either way it left me with eyes wide open. Now, this story happened to somebody in real life. It was about this person who wanted to go to the bathroom too, so he went to a public toilet. He opened the door and stepped inside. On the other side of the bathroom he saw a man. Just a man, standing there, not saying a word. His face was pointed towards the ground, not moving or anything. All by himself. I don't care if you think I am a coward, but I would get the hell out of there. What would a grownup person be doing in a public bathroom, at night, all by himself? (fapfap?) This scared me, because this was told to me right after I left the bathroom. If they would've told me before, I probably wouldn't go.

Old high school
Finally, save and well in the car we drove off to our next destination, their former high school. Gaku parked the car in the same street and in a few seconds we were standing in front of the school's gates. For me it was pretty interesting seeing a Japanese high school. Probably it doesn't differ so much from the Dutch ones, but it still evoked a lot of curiosity. I asked them if they liked their school and if they had fun. They told me some stories and we chatted for about maybe 20 minutes there. 

Shrine visit
Warning: pictures made with phone in the dark!

The last place were Gaku took us, was a Shrine. I can't recall the name of it anymore, but when I remember I will put it in this entry! It was late and the sky was pitch black. The stars were really shining bright. Even thought it was so late already, there were still people visiting the Shrine. We headed towards the entrance and walked up a pile of stairs. The guys walked in front of me and I behind them. There was a reason for that.

Jealous spirit
There is a story behind this Shrine, as most Shrines have in Japan. This Shrine in particular is from a spirit of a woman. So the reason we were walking like that, is that the woman spirit gets jealous when a woman is walking next to a man while passing the gates and entering the shrine. And of course you want no jealous spirit following you around, now would you? Especially if it is a woman, a Japanese woman spirit that is jealous of you for walking next to a man crossing her gates. I have seen enough Japanese horror movies to know what is coming next.... 

I don't know why every time I looked through my phone the whole area would light up green. The place didn't look green when walking there. Maybe my camera has night vision?

*Dong, dong, dong* for good luck I suppose!

Thanks for checking out my blog again! Have a great day!

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