Hello good people,
Thank you all for your continued support in our search. Your kind emails and helpful suggestions warm our hearts and keep our spirits strong. The Bears, wherever they may be, are grateful too! If you support our Bear search, please email us a picture of you (or your Bear!) holding our lost Bear flyer to : email@example.com. It will help us in the next stage of our search. As there is no news to report, todays post will be another episode in the great adventures of the Bears!
Bears on a train..
All great adventures start with a train ride, or at least they used too, and this one does as well…
We boarded the train bound for Kyoto on a warm summer morning with our bento box lunches in hand and the Bears at our heels. We were pretty excited to be on the train, heading to unfamiliar places with all the new experiences that accompany them.
While we ate, the Bears ran up and down the train car, peering out every window, and checking out what all the other passengers had brought for lunch. After a while they both returned to their seats, happily singing songs (mostly grunts,squeaks and growls) and munching on mini portions of various lunches. It must be good to be a Bear! All the excitement, coupled with the hypnotic sound of the train and four full bellies, sent us into quiet reverie and eventually sleep…ZZZZZ
When we arrived in Kyoto, we dropped off our luggage at the Hotel and headed out to see some sites! For those of you who have never been to Kyoto it is one of the best preserved cities in Japan. There are endless temples, palaces and gardens for the traveller to visit, plus all of the great things that most modern cities have to offer. It is a city well suited to walking, so it was a natural fit for us and the Bears!
First stop was Ryoan-ji temple (The Temple of the Peaceful Dragon). It is a very important historic Zen Buddhist temple that is best known for it’s rock garden. The garden consists of fifteen boulders in a bed of raked gravel. It is designed so that one can only see fourteen of the boulders at any given time no matter what angle one is viewing from. It is said that only through achieving enlightenment could one see the fifteenth boulder..
Cool! We sat and gazed at the peaceful garden. The Bears became surprisingly serious about achieving enlightenment, and once they had exhausted all the possible viewing angles (including some pretty creative ones), they followed everyone’s lead and relaxed into silent meditation..We didn’t see any “peaceful Dragons” there that day, but there were some relaxed Bears; for us it was The Temple of The Peaceful Bear..
Next up was the Kiyomizu-dera (clear water) temple. It dates all the way back to 798, though the buildings currently standing were built in 1633. One of the amazing things about this temple is that there is not a single nail used in its construction! Three hundred and seventy seven years old,without a single nail, in a country known to have earthquakes? That is what I call craftsmanship! The name of the temple comes from the fact that there is a waterfall running through the grounds of the temple. Beneath the main hall, the water channels into three separate streams and eventually empties into a pond. People come from all over the world to drink the water, as it is thought to have therapeutic properties. Each channel is thought to confer a different quality to the drinker- wisdom, health and longevity. Legend has it that you can only choose two; if you drink from all three, bad luck will fall upon you! The Bears ran around the pond looking for salmon, but when they found none they became distracted and started to play one of their many bizarre Bear games (often a number game involving the numbers 1 and 2)..
What a rewarding day! After so much culture we were overdue for a beer and a snack, so we stopped by a pub on the way home. We ate and drank our fill, and began our walk home.Kyoto. You are over a thousand years old, yet your spirit is so young. Walking through your streets we felt like teenagers; the hopeful anticipation of morning remained present throughout the day. The buoyant sounds of youth rode gently through your city, on warm air..