I thought I'd share another of our Japan stories to make you smile. It's hard being an obnoxious tourist in a country so different from our own I tried hard to learn some things before we went; I read etiquette books and guide books, but I guess we can't help being American buffoons wherever we go! I apologize to the Japanese people for staring at people on your trains, laughing like hyenas in public places and just being morons while we were in your beautiful, refined country!
Kyoto has many beautiful temples and is a wonderful city to visit. We especially wanted to visit Daisen-In Temple, which has a Zen rock garden that is “designated as the special scenic beauty” and is part of a large complex of temples. There are majestic pine trees and historical buildings along the path that leads between all the different temples. As we walked we were captured by the beauty of it all. We saw a temple where the main gate was closed, but some people were entering through a miniature door where you had to bend over to enter. I smiled at the charming Alice in Wonderland feeling of it all and we happily bowed as we shuffled through. Johnny’s girlfriend and Japanese guide, Manami was with us so we felt like all was well.
There was a tiny garden complete with blooming plum trees and a small cemetery off to the side. I took a photo of the tombstones and Manami was shocked that I would do something so unlucky! Oops—I didn’t know that it was unlucky and I promised not to do it again. Right after that is when disaster struck, proving her point. We strolled out of the cemetery where the other people were praying and decided to look at the serene Zen garden that was there. Daisen-In did not allow photos, so I took a photo of this garden instead. We breathed in the tranquil surroundings oblivious of our transgression.
That’s when he noticed us. The groundskeeper saw us and did not like our presence one bit. He yelled at us in Japanese and Manami tried to apologize. We decided to make a graceful exit, but it was too late. We were clustered around and trying to file through the narrow pathway that led to the miniature door. The man was coming closer and he had a rake. He was madder than hell! He shook his at us rake and shouted as he ran. We trotted faster, trying to reach the sanctuary of the exit before he got to us. He shook his rake over his head. We ran faster and scrambled to get through the door. Finally we had made it to safety. Whew!
Later that day Manami told us that she didn’t think we were supposed to go in there, but since we wanted to go she thought it would be ok. Luckily we all escaped without being “raked!”