Hello good people. Thank you to all of you who continue to check our Bear Blog, and believe in our Bears! Updates these days are coming less frequently as I try to make our remaining Bear pictures last. While I will always believe that the Bears will return home someday, at a certain point I will run out of Bearaphernalia (Sorry, had to do it..). At that point, this Bear Blog will become but a beacon for our lost Bears. Until that time arrives I will continue with weekly updates..
I recently finished writing the Bear song for the final video. I recorded the piano track yesterday, and now all that remains is to add a few more elements to the music and start editing their final footage.. This process brings complex and bittersweet feelings to the surface, as it feels a bit like a final homage or a farewell to me. I don’t know. I suppose we will know how this all fits together when it is completed. Today we return to Kyoto for more Bear adventures. Enjoy!
After our trip out to Amanohashidate, we returned to the beautiful city of Kyoto for more exploring. There are over 1600 ancient temples in Kyoto, so it is nearly impossible to see all of the sites worth seeing.
Our first stop was Sanjūsangendō temple. For almost 1000 years this temple has been offering visitors a view of one thousand life-sized golden statues. These thousand statues surround one giant Bhudda statue. It is quite a vision to behold. It is said that if a viewer looks closely at each of the statues faces, they will see their own likeness in one of the faces! This piece of information got the Bears really excited, and they ran all over the temple looking for the “Giant Golden Bear”. It turns out a few of the statues were on loan to a museum, so when they didn’t find the Bear faced statue, we assured them that it was probably one of the statues that was on loan. This made sense to them, as the “Giant Golden Bear” was certainly the most beautiful of all the statues, and therefore in the highest demand!
We said goodbye to the our one thousand and one golden friends and went looking for some tasty food. Just down the road from the temple, we came upon a Spanish tapas restaurant “Levant” and decided to give it a try. We snacked merrily and struck up a conversation with the young men who were working there. We all told tales of our travels and the food that had accompanied them. I shared a recipe for “Flaming Bishops”, a winter drink that is a favorite in my family. We asked them about what cool things we should see in Kyoto..
They told us about a place called the “Doll Temple” where a doll festival called Hina-matsuri is celebrated every year in order to ward off evil and promote health among the young girls of Japan. During this festival many dolls are displayed, and sweets are eaten. They told us that this is also a place where people can take their own dolls if they want to get rid of them, but don’t want to throw them away. The dolls are then properly disposed of by the temple. When we asked what the proper disposal was, hey said that the dolls were burned.
It was at this moment that I noticed that our normally boisterous Bears were whispering to each other in hushed voices under the table. I asked them what was up, and they said they thought we should skip seeing the “Doll Temple” because Bear #1 had a stomach ache. Bear #1 bellowed and snarled and growled like a Bear with a stomach ache. Hmmmm.
The next day….
The next day, the Bears said they wanted to stay at the Hotel. This was completely unlike our Bears! After a little questioning, it turned out our ferocious Bears were very afraid of dolls, and more importantly afraid of being “disposed of” at the doll temple by mistake. We promised them we would skip the doll temple and we all headed out into the warm and sunny Kyoto day.
Our first stop was Ninna-ji temple. It was founded in 888 AD, and consists of a beautiful walled garden with cherry trees and a pagoda. When we arrived they were closing early due to a special event. That sounded intriguing to us, and with a little coaxing they agreed to let us have a quick look around.
As we walked in, we saw that the entire temple was opened up and had banquet tables laid throughout. There were people in formal service attire walking through the temple setting up for an obviously very fancy event! We asked what the event was, and it turned out to be a wedding. It had to be someone of some prominence to be held at this special temple and we were of course quite curious. With a serious expression and formal manner, we were told that such information could not be shared. Oh well..
Well, this kind of exclusive event is exactly kind of thing our Bears love! They ran from table to table searching for their seating assignment, the whole while assuring us that they were honored guests at tonight’s banquet. Soon this degenerated into dancing on crystal glassware, and using oyster forks to catapult each other across the room. They told us that we should just leave and come back later that evening to pick them up after the banquet. I proposed they stick with us, as someone might pick them up and take them to the doll temple, mistakenly thinking they had no other home… The Bears reluctantly agreed, and suggest we take their picture to commemorate their invitation to such an exclusive wedding party. Deal!
We left the temple and continued our exploring of beautiful Kyoto. We walked a lot and laughed about the Bears and the doll temple. They even joined in, suggesting we go to the doll temple and then crying “No! No! No!” while laughing and running away.
I hope that wherever our Bears are, they are still joking about the “Doll Temple” and remembering our fun time in Kyoto.