Monday, February 12, 2007

Kenkoku Kinenbi

Though the students and staff here work outrageously hard, the Japanese calendar seems to have a surplus of holidays, on average a couple of days every month. It seems that some of these are ignored and people still work, but today many people are out of the office because it's Kenkoku Kinenbi, the day celebrating the nations foundation. I've heard a few alternative interpretations including that this celebrates the day that Japan was literally formed when God dropped a clump of mud from the heavens. However, the official line seems to be that this celebrates the date in 660 BC when Emporer Jimmu took to the throne. It appears that celebrations are kept low key and the people are urged to reflect on the meaning of Japanese citizenship.


I was wondering about what to write for the trip last weekend to Nara. Listing temples is pretty tedious for readers and there are dozens in Nara and the surrounding area. However, Nara is well worth a trip from Kyoto, just an hour away by train. The deer parks surrounding the temples and the giant seated Buddha are all worth the short day trip and the stroll up the very scenic hills to the temples overlooking the city makes for a fine afternoon. Again, most of these are working temples and feel wonderfully peaceful as you look over the modern cityscape below. Well worth the trip there. The extra, short train journey to Horyu-ji temple, around 1400 years old is certainly a good choice and the museum with a collection of national treasures is small but very impressive.

The simple code for an embedded flickr slideshow comes from here.

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