|Sunburned on a boat, on the deep blue sea|
So let's first start with a little background about where I went and during what time. Our vacation started around the 22nd of July, which was the first holiday day, and I returned to school on August 19th with one week of summer vacation remaining. During that month long period I visited Okinoshima, Hiroshima, Kobe, Kyoto, Izumo Taisha, and parts of Shimane.
|A building at Izumo Taisha|
|Scoping the fibers|
Most of the shrines there have large knots bound in rope-like fibers that hang in the entrance. I was reminded that the idea of lovers being tied together is present in western culture too. We or course say "tying the knot" when we refer to being married, and this shrine was full of knots twisting and tying together. I got up close to see the end of one such knot. The fibers were tightly bound and wrapped inside a mesh screen on the end, to deter tampering I suppose. But inside the screen people had tucked or thrown various sizes of coins into the knot for good luck or good fortune. I found out that throwing things at parts of shrines is actually a very lucky activity. Apparently if you can throw a stone on top of a torii gate, you will have good luck. I thought that the good luck part was just a convenient excuse to indulge in the irresistible challenge of trying to get something to stick on top of the tall and pleasantly shaped gates, but I kept the thought to myself and continued on.
The cab driver then went back to his car and returned with a name card. On one side was printed his information in Japanese, and on the other side was his (I suppose) adopted American persona. He revealed to us that he had spent some time in college in America, and that's why his name card said JOHN BELUSHI scrawled across the top in big, capital letters.