Today I made myself unpopular with the Emperor and his family: I canceled our date! I had read just in time on the Tobu Tourist Information (www.tobu.co.jp) that the 17th was the first day of the annual festival at the Nikko Tosho-go Shrine. On that first day the archers come in action: first the archers receive their arrows in some ritual in front of the 5-storey pagoda (more about that pagoda later). And after that, they ride their horses past three targets and they try to hit all three with their arrow in full gallop.
So I had to postpone my date with Mr. Emperor and go to Nikko. I already have a new date next week. That man is easier to date than any woman I know of 🙂
Nikko is a small tourist town, living off all those visiting the temple complex. And today those were many! There’s a huge temple complex in the north of the town and there’s a lot of gold n them. Hopefully I get a few pics uploaded soon.
At 13:30 the archers paraded up and down the path they would be riding later. And then they tried their shots. Not all were successful, but it was cool to see, if it wasn’t for those zillions of people, holding their mobile phones up high trying to get a good picture. Instead of the first group of riders I got a nice overview of all phones available and popular with the elderly (coz there were a lot of old folks there). But for groups two and three I had a nice view from the tea-and-cake-tent, especially erected for all those policemen at the festival. They were so friendly to let a couple of kids and a few elderly watching from there. And since the policemen were nice, yours truly could make his pics there too.
Last week some Japanese scientist wrote that in some 1.000 years the Japanese will be extinct if the birthrate stays like it is currently. Well, in the temple complex I got a different impression! There were hundreds and hundreds of kids in the age of six to ten, easy identifiably by the yellow caps they were wearing, in sharp contrast with the red caps, which were guided pensioners’ groups. Anyway, those kids apparently had a school project on their hands: they approached everyone, who didn’t look Japanese and ask them (in English!) where you are from, what your name is, where your country is on the map and what your favorite Japanese food is. So I had my story told three times and now at least 15 cute Japanese kids know where the Netherlands are on the map! That was my bit in the education of Japanese children. As a reward I got a nice origami boat from one of the kids. 😀
Once I mentioned that my favorite food is okonomiyaki, but it wasn’t on their list. When they went, they started gigling and mentioned okonomiyaki, so I guess they made a note of my choice…
Now I’m sitting in the train back to Tokyo and getting the gaijin-treatment: no matter how full the train is, most Japanese prefer to stand rather than sit next to or opposite from a gaijin. Hmm, but I got legroom 😉
About the pagoda I’ll write next week, but don’t get yourself exited tooooo much 😉
Oh, btw: I can’t upload any pictures at the moment, because I just got the WiFi working and now I am too lazy to go upstairs and get my camera. Upstairs is no WiFi, so I need to type downstairs. I’ll upload some tomorrow or saturday, if I survive Fuji-san.