A Temple Visit

Buddhists bring vegetarian fare to a new level.
Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Sliced gelatin I am definitely getting the hang of things being in a foreign land, but I am so happy that Jen is here to experience it all with me. The worst part of being alone was that I could not share the new things with her. I was unable to fully appreciate what I was experiencing without her to share it with. We are now in a temple in the mountain town of Koya-san. The monks open their temples to visitors, prepare two meals and include them in prayers in the morning. We just finished our enormous vegetarian meal with all sorts of strange tofu-based foods. Jen didn’t eat all that much because she didn’t like the mushy consistency of the tofu, but I had a ball trying all the new things. The dessert was a thick gelatin flavored of orange. It did not melt in your mouth the way Jell-o does, and you could cut it with a knife. I had fun playing with it as I ate.

After dinner, I took a shower and stepped into a real Japanese hot bath. The water was wonderfully warm and felt great compared to the cold mountain air. It is only 8:00pm or so now, and Jen is already asleep. Hopefully she is just suffering from jet lag. It is very peaceful up here, sitting on the tatami mats with a paper screen door that opens to a garden. We are both wearing the traditional kimonos for dining and sleeping, called yakuta, so I feel appropriately Japanese. Tomorrow we get up for a 6:30am prayer followed by a fire ceremony and then breakfast. It should be fascinating.