On the gigantic ferris wheel, view of some really neato bridge.

Osaka. This wheel went WAAAY up. Mom would have hated it.

Sun over ocean...

Another view of Osaka. It's not usually this hazy, but the weather had been really funky. Actually, with all Osaka's public transportation, smog is virtually a non-issue.

More Osaka.. Total urban sprawl. Do YOU see any green in there?? Yipes.

Forgive me, one more pic of the HUGE wheel.. it was really impressive.

Hard Rock with Ke, Miyuki, Indi, and Josh!!

Rikshas in Kyoto... VERY expensive!

Kuromizu temple, temple of LOOOOOVE ^.^ No, really... unfortunately, no one told us till later about the two huge stone staircases you have to climb leading up to the temple of love, called the "2 year way" and the "3 year way" respectively... if you stumble on the 2 year way, you have 2 years till you DIE!! 3 year way, 3 years!! Luckily, neither of us stumbled!

Interestingly bright bell tower... if you'll recall back to my Korean temple pictures, this color scheme is a lot more reminiscent of traditional Chinese style decoration.

Josh and I at Kuromizu... AAH!! My fingers have been cut off! I have no idea why it came out like this...

View through main temple gate of Kyoto... looks much like Osaka from up here.


This strange hobbit-looking deity is.. well, I'm not certain what he is a deity of, but here he is.

The foyer of the main temple building of Kuromizu... this little girl is ringing the bell that summons good fate.

I don't think I was supposed to take a pic of this, given the really dirty looks I got from those gathered and the whispered "dame!"s ("bad!")... this is the boddhisattva (Buddhist deity figure, one who has refused ultimate nirvana to act as a go-between and help those still stuck in the circle of life) that is the main deity of Kuromizu.

Picturesque view of mountainous Kyoto, with pagoda... too bad it wasn't a nicer day, weather-wise..

Stone stairs and Shinto Torii with Shinto paper (remember, this is a BUDDHIST temple!), leading up to the love stones and various Shinto deities' shrines.

Yeah.. what the sign says. ^.^

This is a really common practice, the theme of transference, transfering your problems, illnesses, etc. onto an inanimate object (paper doll, actual doll, needle, vegetables, etc.) and then destroying the object as a symbol of destroying those problems, illnesses, and so forth. Interesting to note that virtually all shrine activities (ema, transference articles, shrine/temple praying) require some monetary payment, but most are on the honour system (with the exception of actual admittance and omamori (charm) purchase)..

A woman's worries melt with the rice paper...

This whole love stone idea is a sadist's dream. First, the rocks are EIGHTEEN METERS apart in length, and to get from one to another you have to make your way through hundreds of milling Japanese people... impossible?? Yeah... unless you have help from a friend... and even then it's not easy.

Note the nail marks above the torii tied around the tree....

This is the first mention of voodoo-like curses from one live person to another I've seen in Japanese religions.. nifty.. the pic before it shows the tree and nail marks in question.

Me next to a Shinto rabbit holding a shinto paper wand and a warrior...

Catch the water, drink the water.. I'm not certain of the story behind this, but guessing from the looooong line and the temple's overall theme, it probably has something to do with luck in love...

This cute thatched hut is a very very old building located on the Kodaiji temple grounds (Kyoto)..

Main buildings of Kodaiji.. note we're back to the normal Japanese color scheme, very different from the wildly colorful buildings at Kuromizu.

Nifty Zen rock garden.. this one featured mountains surrounded by lakes.. a very pretty effect, though I'm still a little unsure how they did them so perfectly.. and keep them that way.

Lovely wooden bridge over Zen pond... (bridge over un-troubled water?)

Zen rock garden with mountain, and a HUGE daibutsu in the background...

Daibutsu... note the size of the people standing near it. I'm not certain of the medium in which this statue is carved, or its age, as we didn't pay for admission and just snapped a quick shot from outside the temple.

Random Buddhist statue encountered while walking down Kyoto streets..

Now THIS was funny!! In one of the parks in Kyoto, we encountered these guys, who looked like they'd stepped out of the 1950's (hair up to HERE held with POUNDS of gel, old style leather boots, leather jackets, jeans with identical red bandannas hanging out of one of the back pockets---the left, if I recall, each in their own exact uniform..) This was the Kyoto Rockabilly Club (so said their club shirts), and what they did was sit in the park with a boombox that boomed (I joke not) a Japanese version of "Johnny B Goode" while two member stood up, bowed to each other, and then got jiggy with it, 1950's style (with occasional breakdances thrown in). Josh and I sat and stared at them for the longest time, unable to believe exactly what we were seeing.. it was GREAT!!

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7 pages of Photo Fun!!
Birthday photos!!
(Infamous) Trip to Galveston
Moving Jimmy and Stephanie to Wisconsin
The last few pre-departure pics!
First set of pictures from Japan!
First week in Japan, pictures from the dorms
Osaka Castle pics^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ Osaka Castle pics Page2
October PicturesPage 1. . . .Page 2. . . .Page 3. . . . Page 4

CHECK OUT THESE OTHER PAGES!!! (Some have pics of me, and many of the ppl my journal talks about!!"):

Josh and Meredith's Page
Mike's Page, check out Matt's Bday pics at Hakkenden.

Home, sweet home pics