Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Cause it was too beautiful to stay at home

Even though one big work still waited for me on Wednesday, I couldn’t resist going out as the weather was too beautiful.

I saw Yoko – san, my host family mother on Saturday and went to Sasuguri with her. At the beginning, she said we would go to Dazaifu but I have been there several times so I asked her to take me to Nanzoin temple in Sasaguri. We hit there up after strolling a bit in Forever 21 and having lunch at a sushi restaurant in Tenjin. 

Sasaguri is a small town not far away from Fukuoka, where a plenty of temples are located, one of which is Nanzoin with the sleeping Buddha. We walked around the temple, enjoyed the view and some praying spots. One of the most interesting things there is you can see dozens of Buddha statues with many sizes and expressions, some of which are even decorated nicely and cutely with visitors’ caps, wool hats and even scarves. Another one is the bamboo path which could lead you to somewhere. While we were wandering around the temple, we saw a small path leading to the bamboo grove with a sign saying if we walk to the forest for 20 minutes, we could see something. Then we did as I couldn’t resist my curiosity to discover what is hidden in the forest. The path was small and steepy which make visitors a bit difficult to walk. After a few steps, you can feel you are in the middle of nowhere, but if you keep going you can find yourself in a mysterious but beautiful bamboo forest. However, we couldn’t go to the end of the path as Yoko – san felt tired and even kept saying “kowai” (means dangerous in English) so we got back to the temple although we were half way through. I think the forest may lead to some temples and if we had kept walking, we could have seen some more breathtaking views. After the bamboo forest, we went to see the giant sleeping Buddha and one more small temple that I forget the name. 

Sasaguri is home to 88 temples and there are many pilgrims that make it to this place and walk the 88 temple route every year. I was thinking of getting back here someday and do my own pilgrimage to 88 temples. It would be a hard word, I know, as I have done some pilgrimages with my grandma who is a Buddhist to some pagodas in Vietnam, but still want to try as it’s worth trying.
I took a lot of photos of the bamboo grove as well as the Buddha thing but most of them are gone due to my carelessness (I probably pressed some button on my camera, which removed almost photos). 

The giant sleeping Buddha ( I took a paronama of him but sadly it's gone)
Me with the buddha

I do love this photo although it's not the one I tended to take

On the way back to the dorm, I got a message from Huong asking me to go see flowers with her and other people on Sunday. I replied with a nod immediately as the weather was just so beautiful. It’s not the cherry blossom season yet but there are bunches of plum flowers blooming already actually, and one of the places covered by plum flowers is Maizuru Park around Fukuoka Castle Ruins. We were speechless when we got there as the plum trees were super stunning. The lovely weather made them even more and more gorgeous. They were extremely awesome, even too awesome for words. Sang, a Vietnamese girl working in a language school in Fukuoka, and her husband came after us with some traditional clothes. She wanted to take photos wearing our costume with the flowers. I didn’t have any preparation for that but I also wore (with a bit hesitation though) since all the girls did. It’s kind of weird because the traditional clothes often go with very fancy makeup, high heels and other accessories, and I didn’t have anything. Moreover, if you ask me what is one of the most difficult things for me, the answer would probably be wearing dress and being something girly. I do love our costume but wearing it, taking photo with it and especially trying to be girly could break my heart. Anyway, I still wore it and took photos so accordingly I looked very awkward while other girls looked so pretty. I’m not low self-esteem, it’s just being girly is not what I choose to be. 

the plum flowers - no more upset of not being able to see plum flowers at home as we can enjoy them here

A big plum tree
selfie with Huong

 We got this stunning photo after lots of attempts and failures :D
Huong looked gorgeous in  ao dai.
The lovely couple - Sang and her husband
Three of us in ao dai. It's the one I looked least weird
The day of individual study project presentation came. Being the second last along with waiting for 7 hours almost killed me. After the presentation, I was exhausted, all of my energy ran out. I had thought of cooking something yum or dining out with other students but I couldn't do that. I ended up going back to my room and taking a rest! But the spring semester is officially over, which makes me feel better.

Had a skype talk with the girls home this evening as they dined out (so sad, i wasn't there!). It has been a long time I didn’t have a group talk with them. We talked lots of things, they kept me updated loads of news at home which shocked me (in both positive and negative way). The talk with the parents came after. I enjoyed both of them immensely. I realized how badly I miss them. Sometimes, you need only some people to talk with even though you have a bunch of people around you!

Now, all I need to do is taking a rest and getting ready for my coming trip.  My own vacation is not long away!

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