As cold weather blew into Beijing, I’ve been busy setting up our home and family to stay warm! That means buying space heaters, humidifiers for each room (because it is SO dry, and then you have to use all the space heaters), warm layering clothes, jackets, etc. The leaves are just starting to change to yellow, and I am looking forward to some nice family hikes in the coming weekends.
I didn’t quite finish sharing about Japan. All in all, it was a beautiful country. Very easy to travel around using the train system, and while everyone does not speak English, the road signs are in both languages for the most part. While we travelled we tried to stay calm and be aware. Sometimes the train station hubs were confusing and everything looked the same, but my husband found that by standing in the middle and observing, he could find the right path. People we met were very friendly. Many people we met at the tourist sites had never met or seen an American before, so we often had school children and tourists approaching us for photos.
At one temple in Kyoto, I was approached by a group of high schoolers to participate in an interview about Peace. They were studying Hiroshima in their class and wanted to learn from foreigners about peaceful solutions. As part of my discussion I was happy to explain that my children attend Montessori school, where peace is a really important part of the curriculum, as well as learning about other cultures.
Nanzen-in Temple, Kyoto
One of my favorite gardens. A lot of the vegetation in Japan we have in our garden in North Carolina. We also have plenty of
moss, so maybe one day, we will create a zen Japanese garden in our yard.
One of the many such shrines along the street in Kyoto. I just found out that these apron covered rocks are statues of Ojizo-sama, and they are placed for still-born children and miscarriages.
One of our best dinner experiences in Japan was at the June-sei restaurant in Kyoto. We would not have found this restaurant if a group of exuberant high school girls were not following us and chatting with me! This restaurant specialized in tofu. We had a traditional yuba dish, which means that a pot of soy milk is brought to a burner at your table. After it boils for about 10 minutes, a skin forms on the top, which you then skim off and eat.