Thursday, August 04, 2005

nagano nagano!

today was a day of good and bad. and all was bad until i got here, pretty much.

the bad:
- i did lundry last night and for some reason it wasn't dry this morning. so i couldn't pack until some stuff dried off... which meant that i also had to catch my train later than planned. my stuff is still went, in a plastic bag as i'm writing this. and, to top it all, apparently hand-washing here doesn't get rid of the bad odours. so i'll have clothing that feel clean but smell dirty!
- i got onto the wrong train. i really don't understand how, still. and the guy on the train was trying to ask me where i was going and where i was getting off, which i had no idea because i didn't know where this train was going!
- i've had many moments where i felt like crying, giving up. all for no reason, but i just felt really vulnerable today.
- remaining bad: i feel really lonely! after staying with justin and having people around, i got used to it and now i'm feeling lonely. i guess that on top of being constantly moving for the first time, this will be the real first time alone, for a long time.

the good:

nagano (the olympic city) is the most beautiful place i have ever seen. surrounded by mountains, the temple are simply amazing, and the complex around the main temple it's insanely big. it's really hard to describe but it's the kind of place that takes you back and makes you feel like you're seeing something greater than yourself. i cannot believe that today i've stood over the ground of a temple (zenko-ji) 1300 years old and which contains the first image of buddha to be brought into japan. yes, that's right. it's that old. i still can't wrap my head around that.

the city center of nagano is also very cute, with nice little shops, restaurants and bars. it's quite a good city actually. but, many of the shops close early! like at 4! crazy.

tonight i'm staying in a temple, right besside the zenko-ji temple complex. actually, the entire street where i am is temple after temple. my tanami room is huge, especially compared with the hotel where i was first staying. honestly, i think my room is about the size of justin's house's first floor. incredible. and i think i might be the only one staying there, although i think i saw a tourist heading that way as i was leaving. so we'd be two. just crazy. but they're pretty strict around the temple in order to preserve 1. the buddhist atmosphere and 2. their old tanami floors. no shoes (of course) but also no bag! i have to leave everything downstairs and bring the stuff i need in a paper bag upstairs. but it's such a great opportunity to stay in a temple! and the place is over 100 years old... so i'm not going to argue!

so there's still a little bit of time before lights out at the temple at 9:30. i will be getting lots of beauty rest tonight! but apparently zenko-ji has an amazing prayer service at 5:30 am so i might try to make it and check it out.

this place is so beautiful, i'm really considering staying another day to take in the sights. if not, i'd have to leave early tomorrow morning to get to kyoto on time to find an hotel room. getting there takes about 4 hours from here, so that takes a big chunck out of the day! so i'll look at things over and might stay another night at the temple. but for that, i need to find a bank that accepts an international debit card! it's really hard out here to find anything. thank god for the post office!

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if some of you are wondering why i'm paying for internet and why i'm not outside checking out the city right now, it is because i had to get my pictures from my memory cards onto cds so that i could take more pictures. but this place has really slow computers! the damn thing is taking for ever... it's been over an hour and my 3rd and last cd hasn't even started yet...

if there's weird characters somewhere in my text, that might be because my keyboard keeps switching over to japanese... so who knows!

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