Abi at Making Light has started a great parlor game of stringing together memories. I recommend it, but if you don't want to read the 135+ existing comments, or don't usually post there and aren't comfortable starting now, we can play here too.
My version of the rules:
- Tell us a story, a brief and true one. (I, uh, may have violated the "brief" in mine. Brief-ish, anyway.)
- Each story should be linked to one or more prior stories by some specified element. If there's just one ancestor, reply to that comment; if more than one, reply either to the first or the entire post, as you think appropriate, but cite all the ancestors.
- There's no first-come, first-served; stories can have more than one descendant.
Here's what I posted at Making Light, to start off:
Catherynne Valente @ #39 talked about visiting Hase-dera.
We also visited Hase-dera on our trip to Japan last summer--wonderful, and enhanced by a genuinely informative English-language map and pamphlet. All of Kamakura was great, actually, despite the pouring rain in the morning.
But the thing I remember best about Hase-dera, better than the Kannon statue washed up from the sea, or the thousands of Jizo statues, or the huge racks of sutras that, if turned by hand, earn one the same amount of merit as reading the contents . . . is the koi.
Practially every ornamental body of water in Japan has koi, of course, and the ones at temples are quite used to being fed by visitors. We'd been doing heavy tourism in Japan for more than a week, and no longer remarked on seeing koi cluster near pathways. Except these koi were so thick that they were stacked vertically, only their gaping mouths visible above water.
They were my second-favorite demanding animals in Japan. My favorite was the turtle at a small, exquisite temple in Kyoto (Konchi-in) that really wanted food and was willing to stare at me expectantly for as long as it took for me to produce it. We stared at each other for a good long time, as I waited for a special tour of the temple's inner rooms--on which Chad and I were joined by another American couple, who we kept seeing at other tourist sites afterward--including with the deer at Nara, my third-favorite demanding animals in Japan (being land animals, they were a lot more demanding).
Tell me about Japan, or demanding animals, or sacred animals, or seeing the same people over and over on vacation, or being a tourist, or anything else triggered by those memories.