Monday, April 21, 2014

Usai in Japan 2013 - Kyoto's Golden Temple Kinkaku-ji

Hello my dear mauw-mauws,

when I get asked, which is the most impressive/beautiful building in the world for me, I would answer without hesitation: "Kinkaku-ji". I think I have never seen such an impressive building as the temple is in my whole life. On our photos it almost looks like the temple is painted and the reflection of the temple in the water is also striking. The temple is girded with an unique splendor. Crystal clear, that it is one of Kyoto's greatest landmarks (or even of whole Japan). I'm so happy that we visited the Kinkaku-ji and the garden during our stay in Japan last summer.

the temple is covered in gold leaf

The temple was probably built at the end of the 14th century and is a temple of Zen sect of buddhism. The temple has been burnt down more than once, no matter due to wars or arson (1950s). In 1955 the temple has been restored and is by now recognized as UNESCO World Cultural Heritage. You have to pay an admission of 400 Yen (~3,30€) to enter - but it is worth!!! I don't think I need to write any more details bout the temple and it's garden - the photos speaking for themselves:

tourist mode ON - it looks like Im standing in front of a painting - but the temple is reality X'D

Kinkaku-ji and the pond Kyoko-chi

Kuraude, Don and Mochi in front of the installation
souvenir shops and more

The day we visited the temple was probably the hottest day during our journey in Japan. It is told, that it is in Kyoto almost always even warmer than in the rest of Japan. Japanese summers are way hotter and muggier than in central europe. Ironically, I didn't had any sunburn in Japan (yeah!!) but sadly I came back to germany with no browned skin at all and had to bear my friends/colleagues funny jokes about my "so not browned" skin. Seems like my fair skin is immune to sun...

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Kuraude's B*Day - Japanese Tea Ceremony and Eko-Garden Düsseldorf

Hello my cute mauw-mauws,

like last year, we celebrated Kuraude's birthday again in Düsseldorf. This year we had great-great weather and went to the Eko-Garten and took part in a japanese tea ceremony. First we strolled through the garden and enjoyed the beautiful view

Mochi, Don and Kuraude

sun is blinding me XD
At 2.00pm started our ceremony and we were introduced into the "Sadō" (茶道 / way of tea). We learned that tea ceremonies are held in traditional japanese rooms and that the ceremony itself consists of many rituals that have to be learned by "heart". The rite has been strongly influenced by Zen Buddhism. The green tea (Matcha) is first prepared by the host and then served to the guest. Additionally, some sweets will be give to the guest to balance the bitter taste of the tea.

A japanese tea ceremony is much more than only serving tea to ones guests. It is about art and aesthetics. The tea ceremony should be an "occasion" to bethink and appreciate one's life for the "simple" things: company of friends, the design of the tea room, the nice weather - simply a moment of pureness. Im lucky that I could finally take part of such a japanese tea ceremony. The ceremony is a interesting but seems to be also a deep topic for which you need to understand and learn a lot.

After the ceremony we went to the buddhism temple. What an impressive atmosphere we had in here:

Now time had come to enjoy the great weather by having a picnic (I was so hungry XD) and presenting Kuraude.

Kuraude, Mochi, Don, me and PrincessTenko.
The Eko Haus / Garden isn't that central located in Düsseldorf but it is worth a visit. Nowhere else in NRW you can enjoy such a japanese atmosphere and moreover, the Eko-Haus culture centre offers a quite wide range of culture and buddhist events. ^__^