October 8, 1961 – Kyoto

Miyako Hotel, Kyoto, Japan – Clear

     “Ow” I mumbled when I woke up this morning.  My massage last night had left me sore this morning but nevertheless I got up.  I regretted that this one hadn’t made me feel as good as the last one.

     We got up earlier than normal this morning so we could go to communion.  I’d been raised Catholic but had taken issue with the church when I became an adult and changed to Presbyterian.  And even though I wasn’t Catholic anymore I thought it would be interesting to see how communion was performed here so far away from the United States.  Arrangements had been made for those that wanted to go to St. Mary’s Episcopal Church for communion.  Edith and I chose to go but several in our group didn’t.  I loved the service and it felt good to hear familiar words again so far from home.  After the service at 9:00am we went back to the hotel to pick up the remainder of our tour group to leave for Nara, our next destination. 

     Once we reached Nara we went to the Sacred Deer Park which included the grounds of the Todaiji Temple and Kasuga Shrine.  The Todaiji Temple housed the world’s largest statue of a bronze Buddha and it was so colossal I felt tiny standing next to it.  After we left the temple Kiki took us to the Kasuga Shrine which was so unusual because of the thousands of stone lanterns set along a walkway and then there were two thousand bronze lanterns hanging surrounding the shrine. 

Todaiji Temple with its Colossal Bronze Buddha

Avenue of Stone Lanterns in Nara

     After leaving the temple and shrine we continued to walk around the deer park.  I loved walking around the park and it felt good to be able to enjoy the scenery with all its lanterns and the amazing deer.   Kiki told us that the park had around 700 deer and they were amazing.  Somehow the deer had learned to bow when they were given a treat and they bowed so low.  They bowed just like the Japanese people did and in response we bowed back after giving them a treat.  I’ve never seen deer respond to getting a treat like that and I had to laugh because it was such an amazing sight.  Kiki also told us they were Sika deer and were traditionally regarded in Japan to be the messengers of the gods. 

Deer in Park at Nara

     All over we noticed all the recent typhoon damage to many trees.  Many had even been blown down.  Kiki had told us previously that the destruction from the typhoon was the worst in the Nara district (where we were now) and the Ciska district.

     After walking around so much I was ready for lunch so I was glad Kiki took us to the Nara Hotel next to eat.  Once again our food was superior just like we’d been served all over here in Japan.

     Our tour left after lunch for Osaka, an industrial metropolis that had many canals connected with Osaka Bay.  Once there we stopped at Nakanoshima Park which housed several public facilities such as the Osaka Central Public Hall and a lovely rose garden.   Kiki also took us to Osaka Castle which had been converted into a museum and was considered a popular place during the festival season especially the cherry blossom one.

     While driving around Kiki gave us several statistics that I found interesting about Osaka and made me wonder:

  • 142,000 persons die of cerebral hemorrhage every year
  • 90,000 succumb to cancer because of too much salt
  • 11,000 die as traffic fatalities
  • 32,000 are victims of tuberculosis

     I was glad at 3:00pm when we were finally taken to our hotel because I was a little tired.  However, when the clerk gave me a letter from Bob I got very excited.  The Osaka Grand Hotel was a huge ornate structure located in the middle of town.  I was glad we’d gotten to our room early enough to have a few minutes to ourselves before going down for dinner.  I read my letter from Bob and it made me miss home a little.  I decided to think of something else and while I rested I started a letter to Ramona since Edith had sent my last letter to her to the Fillmore Herald:

 Oct 8, 1961 5pm – Osaka Grand

Dear Ramona, Janice, David, Mike, Ray, Binky;

     I think you will have to get your news of my trip from reading the Fillmore Herald.  Edith is writing and sending in letters about what we’re seeing.  I started writing you and Bob yesterday but she asked me to send those letters in with hers so I did but didn’t have time to write them over again. 

     We have been moving fast and touring.  I am pretty tired.  Last night at Kyoto I took another steam bath and massage but by a woman this time.  Each was $4.00 last nite but at Fijiya Hotel it was only 85 cents. 

     These hotels are positively beautiful and the table service perfect. 

      I didn’t have enough time to finish my letter before it was time to go down for dinner so I folded my letter up and tucked it into my bag.  I noticed that Edith seemed interested to see where I put the letter and made a face when she saw where I put it. 

      Dinner was good as usual and I loved the wonderful beef dish with sautéed mushrooms I had.  When the entertainment began it was not what I expected because instead of the musicians playing Japanese music for us they played Spanish songs all evening.  By the time Edith and I went upstairs we laughed and joked about how we felt like we were in Mexico not Japan but we had to acknowledge that we felt lucky to be staying in such a nice hotel.

      Back in our room I decided to write some more on my letter to Ramona before going to bed.  I was tired but didn’t think I could sleep right away because my soreness from the massage last night had gotten progressively worse during the day.  I took some aspirin and started writing some more on my letter to Ramona and waited for the discomfort to subside:

      9:10pm just came back from dinner.  A lovely meal as usual also good music, a Japanese orchestra played Estrelette and other Spanish songs till I thought I was in Mexico instead of Japan except it wasn’t so nice when I visited there. 

     Speaking of Mexico, will you send me my brother, Ed Timmons address if you can find his last card with his La Jolla address? 

     Some of the crowd is going to a night club tonite but Edith and I decided not to go.  I’m tired tonight so I’m going to bed in a few minutes.  There was a letter from Bob here when we got in this afternoon.  Was good hearing from him. 

      I’d thought I’d be able to write more but just couldn’t so I gave up and went to bed.

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