Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Taking Something For Granted Too Much

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So, the winner of the Malaysian Dream Girl (I shall refer it as Malaysian Daddy's Girl from now on) has been decided and it was no surprise seeing who took the title. Pathetic. Yes, I am utterly disappointed with the result which sees money having the last say over quality. Just like in any other reality shows, the result will always be decided by popularity but I from my humble opinion, Malaysians just failed everybody. To have such model which has such a lousy attitude to represent Malaysia on a bigger stage after this, I just feel really MALU.

Everyone has their own opinion, but make sure you make the right choice and vote based on emotions. Perhaps those voted for her (except her sugar daddy of course) should consume more carrots from know on. Why?

Because you don't see any rabbits wearing glasses, do you?
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I have something that keep on bothering my mind that I think I need to address on. It gave me several times of thinking over this matter, whether or not I should post up this entry as it is likely that it would make myself sounding like the bad guy here. I decided to carry on writing on this and let the rest decide if I am the bad guy after all. This is going to be an entry which will sound more to a ranting post and if you are not interested to carry on reading, that will just be perfectly fine with me.
The incident happened this morning is quite common among us, including myself and I shall say it is more like a Malaysian "Tidak-Apa" attitude that we always find it difficult to get rid of. It was a trip to a tulip farm today, organised by a particular society called 雪つばき (Yuki Tsubaki), comprised of the international students and several mostly-retired college lecturers. As always, we will be given a form to confirm our attendance for each trip and it is not compulsory for us to join in every trip organised. This time it was no exception, just that there were fewer people joining it compared to last year. Nothing wrong on that because usually, it will be the newly arrived students who make-up most of the participants. As for the seniors, they have gone to the same place last year and the tight school schedule nowadays just make it hard for them to find much free time. It was otherwise for me, and a few other seniors as well. So, all of us handed-up the forms and the group which was supposed to go this time should be around seven to eight people, excluding the four lecturers who will be taking us there.
The day came, and when I got to the normal spot we used to assemble before we set off for any trips, there were only one other junior there. It was already a couple of minutes past the time we were supposed to assemble but surprisingly, the Japanese lecturers were not there yet. An uncommon sight, because we all know that Japanese are really particular when it comes to punctuality. I guess they have had enough of our infamous attitude of coming late that they decided to follow our "pattern" this time. Perhaps that was just my own assumption, but I didn't know that worse thing will come afterwards. About five minutes later, the four lecturers arrived in their cars, four in total expecting that everyone who had handed-up their forms will turn up, unless they suffer from last minute sickness that morning. However, the next thing they found out was, only four of us will be joining them.
You heard that correctly. FOUR person.
Unbelievable as it may sound, but that was the fact. I could see the surprised feeling among the lecturers in their face, but of course they didn't mention anything about that. Most of the reason given was that they were sick. That is comprehensible and you cannot blame them for falling sick because I am quite sure they didn't want to be in such condition either. However, it was otherwise for others. They claimed that they had some other commitments (personal and study related stuffs) and unable to join the rest. That is, also comprehensible. Despite so, the least they could have done was to inform either one of the lecturers the night before the trip that they could not make it and not make the lecturers coming with four cars. Sadly, they didn't. Talking about taking something for granted and for this case, it appeared to be a little bit too much.
I just feel that this is a very bad attitude towards the others. It just shows how immature they are for not being able to carry a small responsibility of informing the lecturers earlier. These lecturers are not obligated to organising trips for the international students. However, they took some time off from their daily schedule to plan and take us around, yet not gaining any special financial benefits. Furthermore, we are not required to pay a single yen on most of the trip. I am not trying to say that I have been influenced by the Japanese way of thinking, but this is some basic thing in life that require nothing more than some cow sense. I am just voicing out my opinion from a general stand. Besides, it will certainly leave a bad impression towards the rest of the international students and I believed our image has been tarnished to a certain extend, just because of some irresponsible acts coming from some quarters. More likely than not, they will assume that every single Malaysian has such attitude, which I cannot disagree totally on that because the majority of us have grown up in the "Tidak-Apa" environment since we were young. I am not an exception either. Nonetheless, it just depends on when and how we carry that attitude, at the right time and in an acceptable way. Again, you may think why am I so particular on this minor thing and putting excessive attention to what the Japanese would think of our attitude.
I choose to digress.
What stated above are entirely based on my personal opinion and I would like to know what will be your take on this. You can throw me with criticisms if you feel that I rightly deserve them, but I hope that it will be a constructive one, and not a baseless disapproval that come before they are given enough thoughts and considerations first. Thank you.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

The Lamest Thing I Have Ever Done

I can't believe this happened to me.
Do you know how it feels when your greatest secret is found out by someone, even worse when that someone is that kind of person that can't keep secret for even one second, and the next thing you will know when you spill out your secret, it will spread around faster than the bullet train. This is by a few thousand of light years, the lamest and crappiest thing I have ever done in my life. All thanks to Pinksterz. Haih, I also don't know why I always got pwned with this girl one. Well, it started with a normal MSN conversation and out of boringness I suppose, she suddenly posted up two blog's links.

pinksterz is me says (12:47 AM):
http://calvinong.blogspot.com/
http://calvin-ong.blogspot.com/

Calvin says (12:47 AM):
lols
no such blog ok

pinksterz is me says (12:47 AM):
THIS ONE IS U!!!!!!!!!!!
the second one is u!!!!


Calvin says (12:47 AM):
lols
lemme check

pinksterz is me says (12:47 AM):
-.-
how can u forget it is ur blog?!


Calvin says (12:48 AM):
wtf
who is dis fella wei

pinksterz is me says (12:48 AM):
it is u rite?
hello same email and everything la
calvin_ong87@yahoo.com
shud be u ok

Calvin says (12:49 AM):
O-M-G
(at least five times of my super exaggerated OMG emoticons)
if u hadnt tell me
now i know dat
i did blog b4
haha

pinksterz is me says (12:49 AM):
-_________________________-"
Yes, now you should know that I have another blog. I started blogging there somewhere in 2005, but the thing is that I didn't even remember that I actually own that blog. That is why when Pinksterz was telling me it that the blogger was me, I cursed that fella wondering who the hell he is and also for copying my name to set up a blog. When I clicked on the first link, what came out was a male blogger based on his profile's name, who stays in KL and posting up an entry containing a set of pictures at some old folks' home. However, when I clicked on the second one, I went,
"WTF! ALAMAK! WHAT IS THIS CRAP?!!"
calvinsblog
As you can see, my full name is terpampang up there like so obvious can!
My heartbeat just stopped there for no less than five seconds when I saw my full name at the top left of the blog. If that is still insuffecient, it is clearly written there on my location. It is so unlikely to find someone who shares my name and my hometown, isn't it? By that time, I was just as kan cheong (cuak) already. How couldn't I not having such feeling, when that blog has only one entry and that one particular entry was detailing about my personal experience in the National Service programme which I attended after I finished my SPM. It was almost like a personal diary and it would be an huge embarrassment if it is made public. Therefore, the most obvious thing I thought of doing is of course signing into that account and personalise the site before anyone knew about it and gain access into it. But the ONE BIG PROBLEM is, I have not been using my Yahoo account for ages and couldn't recall my username and the password for that account.
Damn crap, right?
It took me a while to figure out and try on a few passwords, but to no avail. Along the way, of course I was &^%#@&^# myself for not being able to recall my password. Fortunately for me, there is this smart invention called password retrieval application that allowed me to retrieve my password and thankfully, I managed to access into the Yahoo account in the end. I straight away changed the setting and made it a restricted site because I wanted to clean and delete any personal-related stuffs plus the story about the girl I secretly liked during my time in the camp and also some bitchings I did in that entry. Nevertheless, the blog was nothing too personal. It was just my first entry on my three-month stint for at the National Service camp in Gopeng. But when I read it again, I really feel that it was a lame entry. The last line just top off the entry and it was by far the gayest line:
"well, his bed is just by my side!"
It is quite obvious that there is nothing much to browse through this old blog, because I merely posted up one entry. The reason why I didn't continue blogging there is kinda crap actually. To be honest, I have forgotten then about the link of that blog when I wanted to post a second entry, which made me abandoned it totally until it was found out after more than three years. THREE-LONG-YEARS! Can you imagine that? This blog really looks like an abandoned site, just like quite a number of blogs out there created by these people, who will usually create a blog, post up a few entries, and just can't be bothered to update it anymore after that out of laziness, suffering from writer's block or whatever other excuses. I never wanted to become one of them when I started blogging on this current site, but I guess I just have to take back my own words now after rediscovering my old abandoned site. Things were made even worse when I clicked on the comments box. All three comments I got was spams and the best was certainly the third one, advertising on their service that offers degrees with just a few thousands of dollars. Sounds familiar, eh?
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I don't think that I owe myself a PHD: Permanent Head Damage to my future.
Now I am wondering, do I stick to my current blog link or change into the one I had created once upon a day? What do you think?
P/S: Just in case you are interested in the two other ocassions I got pwned by this same person, here is the link.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

A Late Late Birthday Surprise

Finally, it has arrived!
After exactly 17 days had passed since my birthday earlier this month, the parcel that I have been waiting for more than two weeks had finally arrived last Thursday. When I saw such huge writings, the only person I thought straight away to be the sender has to be nobody else other than Kok Hong. Yes, the most leng zai guy that I have ever know, according to what he always claim lah.
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Felt lazy to blur my address already. Not that anyone is even bothered to know about it either.
The presents were put into such a huge envelope. In fact, it is even protected with those air-filled bubble plastic, which I used to play by popping them when I was young. My guess on what he got for me this time was some naughty stuff, just like what he got for me at the end of our travelling together last summer. Besides, of all the birthday presents I got this time, more than half of them are either boxers, a pair of bra or panties. Hence, I obviously was not hoping to get any of those again.
So, we shall see what he got me this time.
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You went to you faculty's garden and stole these arh?
First up was a few fresh flowers and leaves, which unfortunately started to dry off when it reached me. These are what you could expect to get from someone who is taking up Bio-environmental course at the moment. Seriously, I have no no idea whatsoever on the name, yet alone the species of the flowers and leaves. The only thing I could tell here is that there are pink, red and purple flowers, plus a few types of leaves and grass.
However, there are more than just a bag of flowers and leaves.
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Lucky thing that he was smart enough to write the title on the CD or I would have thought it contained NSFW materials.
I got a birthday message written on a A4 sized paper, and I assume it was a last-minute work. His writing is still better than mine. And there is a CD entitled, "Basic German". Yes, both of us are currently taking German as one of our optional subjects and I have only started to learn how to pronounce their alphabets so far. So, I guess this will come in handy for me very soon. And in a less than a year, we will be having a conversation which contains English, Manglish, Japanese, Mandarin, Hakka, Cantonose, Hokkien and German between the two of us. This is so nice when we are talking bad or gosipping about someone. But both of us are nice and friendly people and we do not do such stuffs.
But the best of all must be these three things.
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Suitable gifts for the upcoming Childrens' Day in Japan next week.
A sweet, a box of mango flavoured Kit Kat and one packet of balloons which came in bunny shapes. And all of them are so colourful that it could even suit the atmosphere of Deepavali celebrations. As you can see, all the stuffs were so damn random, right? Lucky thing that he didn't follow the trend of the rest by sending more lingeries items to add to my already over-loaded collection. Thank you very much and I know I will be using all of them, including those balloons. You know what I am going to do with it, just like what you always do to that thing I sent to you last year.
Or have you used all of them up already?

Friday, April 25, 2008

The Great Buddha Of Kamakura And Enoshima's Kabukicho

~ a continuation from the first and second part ~
Visiting numerous shrines and temples in Japan is undoubtedly will make you feel like you have had too much of them, and just turn you holiday to become a tedious one at times. In spite of that, I continue my visit to Kamakura to Kotokuin, a Buddhist temple of the Pure Land sect of Kamakura.
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Majestic.
This temple is renowned for the Great Buddha or daibutsu, a monumental outdoor bronze statue of Amida Buddha which is one of the most famous icons of Japan. The statue stands at 13.35 meters high and weighs approximately 93 tons making it the second largest Buddha statue in Japan after the one in the Todaiji Temple in Nara. Here is a scale of comparison of the size of this statue.
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From left: Me, the Great Buddha and the bird (top right).
The statue is believed to be cast in 1252 in the Kamakura period, when temple records report the construction of a bronze statue, following an idea by the priest Joko, who also collected donations to build it. However, it is unclear whether that is the present statue. The statue is originally build and located inside a large temple hall. However, the temple buildings were washed away by a tsunami tidal wave in the end of the 15th century but the statue remains and since then, it stands in the open air.
Repairs were carried out in 1960 to1961, when the neck was strengthened and measures were taken to protect it from earthquakes.
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The statue is referred to as "The Buddha at Kamakura" in several verses that preface the initial chapters of the novel Kim by Rudyard Kipling, 1901. The sculptors were One-Goroemon and Tanji-Hisatomo.
The former sounds more like one Doraemon, isn't it?
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The statue is hollow, and visitors can view the interior for a mere 20yen (60cents) a person. I knew that there would be nothing to see inside the statue, but my curiosity made myself to go ahead to have a look. So we had to take a narrow staircase up one floor before we came to a platform to see something like this.
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That brownish part is the head of the statue.

And a board detailing about the history of this statue, I suppose. As if I was bothered to read those.
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I felt I was damn crap to pay that amount only to be presented with the bronze wall inside a dark interior of the statue. I should have save that and get a packet of nasi lemak, isn't it? Anyway, at the side of the statue, a pair of the Buddha's slippers woven from strips of dried grass is hung on the wall.
The pair of slippers is just gigantic.
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The Buddha's slippers.
Our initial plan was to return to Tokyo after our visit to the Great Buddha, but I got to know that Enoshima, a small seaside town is located just 30-minute train ride to the south from Kamakura. I have always wanted to visit this island, after watching the touching Japanese drama called Taiyou-no Uta which was filmed in this island. When I saw myself at the Enoshima station, I was reminded of the few scenes that took place at the very exact location.
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I took this picture just before I went back.
We went there using a special line, called Enoden and the green train is somehow looked rather unique and interesting with some antique touch on its design when comparing it to the normal trains I usually take.
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Fujisawa is the last stop of this train.
Enoshima is a small island, about 4 km in circumference, at the mouth of the Katase River, which flows into Sagami Bay in Japan. Part of the city of Fujisawa, it is linked to the Katase section of the same city on the mainland by a 600 meter-long bridge, and during low tide you can walk there on exposed sandbars. Adjacent to the closest beach to Tokyo and Yokohama, the island and the nearby coast are the hub of a popular resort area.
Enoshima's many sights are concentrated on the island of Enoshima itself, in front of the beach and the modern town. Enoshima is blessed with the abundant beauty of nature and sea. The classic view of Mount Fuji as depicted in Japenese art can be seen from Enoshima on clear days. Giant hawks called tombe fill the skies, squawking and diving.
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The island is surrounded by high sea cliffs, rocks and tidal pools. The pounding surf and rocks make swimming at the island rather suicidal but many people walk across the exposed rocks, exploring the tidal pools and crab pots. Access is on the cliff side of the seawall behind the marina or by going over the top of the island.
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Both of us explored the island with only the guide map we got from the nearby tourist guide information counter and we started our tour around the island along a street that leads from the Enoden and Monorail Station to the beach, which has souvenir shops and surfer accessories shops.
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That street leads up to the few shrines found on the island.
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Enoshima Shrine is best known for its rather unusual naked statue of Benzaiten (hadaka Benzaiten), the goddess of music and entertainment which is a Shinto deity rarely found in such a state.
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When it comes to shrines in Japan, coming across the sight of people tying the fortune paper called omikuji at the wooden poles placed around the shrine is nothing new. This goes the same with Enoshima Shrine.
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However, I noticed something more than just fortune papers in Enoshima Shrine. There was a section below a tree called the "Tree of Knot" where couples will write their messages on a wooden tablet and hang them under the tree. Just like its main purpose, which mainly focuses for couples, it is quite comprehensible that the wooden tablets are in pink, rather than being conventional wood brown.
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The Tree of Knot.
We continue our climb to the other end of the island to catch the sunset later that evening, but before that we came across the Kabukicho of Enoshima. Perhaps you have no idea what Kabukicho means, but it is one of the biggest red-light-district in the heart of Shinjuku in Tokyo. I paid a visit there in the later part of my trip this time and I shall blog on that some other time. Anyway, this four palms of Enoshima's Kabukicho has nothing to do with eroticism, just in case you think I am trying to do so in this entry.
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We ended our trip to Enoshima by witnessing the sunset at the end of the island, in an area surrounded with high cliffs and rocks. Unfortunately, it turned out not to be the best sunset I have seen because the cloudy sky spoilt the scenic view of dusk that evening. Despite so, the serene and tranquility around this part of the island made it a great spot to spend some quality moments with our loved ones here.
It is peaceful over here.
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I concluded my trip by getting a box of the famous biscuit from Kamakura before I headed to the next destination.
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This biscuit uses plenty of butter as its base in the shape of dove and is called Sabure Dove (Hato Sabure). It was said that during the Meiji era, there was a shopkeeper who made a model of a biscuit and gave it to a French salor to have a try. That Frenchman later revealed that it tasted similar to the Sabure in France and that marked the beginning of the biscuit being known as Sabure. Not long after that, basing on the motif of the dove found in Tsuruoka Hachimongu shrine, the biscuit was created and that was the beginning of the story of Sabure dove.
Apparently, this biscuit is so well-known that it even has a Wikipedia entry in Japanese version.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

My Camwhoring Adventure In Hasedera Temple

~ a continuation from the first part ~
Being one of the places where the influence of Buddhism is much stronger than the native religion of Shinto, it made our stop at Kamakura filled with visits to quite a number of Buddhist temples and shrines. Our next stop at Kamakura was Hasedera Temple, located in the proximity to the train station where we were greeted with an interesting walkway across the railway upon our arrival there.
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Main gate and the red lantern; but visitors enter the temple through a public entrance beside this gate.
According to legend, in 721 A.D. the pious monk Tokudo Shonin discovered a large camphor tree in the mountain forests near the village of Hase in the Nara region. He realised the trunk of the tree was so large that it provided enough material for carving two statues of the eleven-headed Kannon. The statue he commissioned to be carved from the lower part of the trunk was enshrined in Hasedera Temple near Nara; the statue from the upper half, in which is the larger of the two, was thrown into the sea near present-day Osaka with a prayer that it would reappear to save the people. Fifteen years later in 736 A.D. on the night of June 18, it washed ashore at Nagai Beach on the Miura Peninsula not far from Kamakura, sending out rays of light as it did. The statue was then brought to Kamakura and a temple was constructed to honour it.
Since time immemorial, Hasedera Temple has been known as the 4th station among the 33 holy places in the Kanto area.
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The main building that houses the statue of Hase Kannon.
The magnificent statue of Hase Kannon is housed here for all to see and worship. It is 9.18 meters tall and has eleven heads in addition to its main one: three in front, three to the left and three to the right, plus one at the top and another on back. Each face has different expression, signifying that the deity listens to the wishes of all types of people. Hase Kannon is unique in that it holds a staff made of tin in its right hand and a vase of lotus flowers in its left. Gold leaf was applied to the statue in 1342 at the request of Ashikaga Takauji and in 1392, Ashikaga Yoshimitsu had the halo added.
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Hase Kannon inside Kannon-do Hall.
Although Kannon is usually described in English as "the Buddhist Goddess of Mercy", strictly speaking, it is neither masculine nor feminine. Kannon is Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva (a Bodhisattva is a future Buddha), destined for enlightenment who has vowed to save all sentiment beings and represents compassion, mercy and love.
Next to Kannon-do Hall is a building where a golden seated statue of Yakuyoke (Protector from Evil Spirits) Amida Buddha, one of Kamakura's six principal statues of Amida, is enshrined. In 1194, Minamoto Yoritomo, the first shogun of Japan commissioned this statue that measures 2.8 meters in height, excluding its large halo.
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Yakuyoke Amida Buddha
Halfway down the steps to the lower level is a small building, in which Fukuju Jizo, or "Happy" Jizo is enshrined.
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Surrounding the Hall are thousands of little Jizo stone statues standing in long rows, some wearing bibs or knitted caps and festooned with cute charms. The statues are there to comfort the souls of unborn children. Jizo-Bosatsu is a Bodhisattva possessing.
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I was so tempted to take one of these back home.
On the far side of the upper level is a platform overlooking Yuigahama/Zaimokuza Beach and Sagami Bay with Zushi Marina and the Miura Peninsula in the distance. There are picnics tables for the comfort of visitors there. It was early spring when we were there and the weather was still relatively cold although we saw the blue sky and the sun was shining brightly that day. We took a time-out at the platform while camwhoring a little bit.
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Wearing sunnies in spring? This guys is damn weird.
This temple centres on a small Japanese gardens decorated with a variety of flowers around its surrounding. There were cherry blossom and peach blossoms among others, blooming at its peak time, which certainly made it a beautiful sight while we were spending our time there.
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In the middle of the gardens, there is a pond called Hojo-ike pond that has a lot of huge Japanese carps.
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We continued our walk around and decided to have another rest camwhoring session after we saw a red Japanese traditional umbrella connected onto a wooden chair. My reckoning tells me that that bence, which has bushes of bamboos in the background is provided for the elderly to take some rest. Instead, it was this two dude who ended up on the bench.
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Mingrong will never miss out on posing with his "peace" sign.
Y'know what? Suddenly, I realised that I am posting up so many pictures of myself in this entry, although I have said that I will lessen on it this time around. Before we went into any hall of statues again, we tracked up a slope and at the highest point (which was not high at all), this is what we saw.
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On the way down, there were rows of carved stone statues like the one we saw earlier. However, the sizes of these statues were much bigger.
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Anyway, across that Japanese garden is housed an image of Daikokuten. It is a replice of the original one in the Homotsu-kan Museum which was carved in 1412, making it the oldest image of its type in Kanagawa prefecture. Daikokuten is one of the Seven Japanese Gods of Good Fortune, He is considered the god of wealth (or more specifically the harvest), or of the household, particularly the kitchen. Recognised by his wide face and beaming smile, he is often portrayed holding a golden mallet and standing or sitting on bales of rice.
As what is written on the small board below the statue, it was stated there, asking visitors to feel free and touch it to gain good fortunes. Knowing that, I spent one-long hour sitting there and continued touching that statue non-stop, because I am kiasu and I wanted to get all the good fortunes from this statue took a few touches on it too. However this time, I did not do something silly on the statue like what I did last summer.
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Come, come and raba me lah!
I got out from that little building and came across a pair of huge concrete foot-steps just opposite of it. I straight away camwhored with it, without even knowing a single thing about its significance. Sounds like a person in great desperation to camwhore, no?
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On the other side of the temple is Benten-kutsu Cave where Benzaiten and 16 children are chiselled out of the rock walls. Benzaiten is a sea goddess and the only female among the Seven Gods of Japan. Her temples and shrines are located near water - the sea, a river or a pond. She is the patron of music, the fine arts and good fortune in general and usually carries a biwa (Japanese mandolin) or plays a lute.
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How the interior of the Benten-kutsu Cave looks like.
The interior of the cave was dark and the ceiling was so low that I had to bend my body in almost all parts of the cave and it was not comfortable at all to be in that position. That is why when I came out from the cave, I felt something was not right. I was walking in a weird body posture. That was when I realised that I was diagnosed with first degree of osteoporosis.
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Well, that is just an excuse to camwhore for the last time in this entry.

~ to be continued ~

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Kamakura And My Lost Backpack

Kamakura is a coastal town, located in Kanagawa prefecture and is accessible under one hour from Tokyo. Kamakura became the political center of Japan in 1192 and the government continued to rule Japan for over a century. After the decline of the Kamakura government in the 14th century and the establishment of its successor, Kamakura remained the political center of Eastern Japan for some time before losing its position to other cities.
Today, Kamakura is a very popular tourist destination. Sometimes called the Kyoto of Eastern Japan, Kamakura offers numerous temples, shrines and other historical monuments. In addition, Kamakura's sand beaches attract large crowds during the summer months. In other words, Kamakura can be considered the Malacca of Japan, although the old city of Kyoto may have a stronger claim on that.
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There is one interesting fact about the train in Kamakura. Considering that it is a small town built in a limited piece of land, it is not unusual to see the railway lines spread through the middle of the town. There was one train station in which the passengers were required to walk across the railway track to exit the train station. I know this could be a common thing in the countryside area of Japan, nevertheless it was my first encounter with such scene here.
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This practice appears to be dangerous but the people have been doing this for years.
Speaking about trains reminded me of my carelessness during my train ride from Oyama to Kamakura earlier that day. There were no trains that provide a direct ride from Oyama to Kamakura and that made us having to exchange trains at a few stations. Trains exchanges is nothing new to me, but something stroke me during one of the exchanges that I forgot to take down my backpack I placed on top of the steel ledge in the train. I guess I should blame nobody but myself because the two of us were chatting away along the journey, which made me totally forgotten about my backpack when I got down. This was my first time making such a simple mistake which would surely lead to lots of troublesome work of tracking back my backpack. That left me cursing myself for a few good moments before I figured out the next thing I was going to do.
The moment I realised that my backpack was left behind, I was not panicked nor got tensed up as much as you would expect me to be, because I trust and understand how things work in Japan. When the thing is not their possession, they will never keep it to themselves but will return it to the authorities no matter how big or small the value of that thing is. Of course I do not rule out some cases when such acts are non-existance. Anyway, the only thing I was able to do is to get down in the next station and inform the station master about my left-behind backpack, hoping that they will recover it and guide me to a particular station to retrieve it back. I know I will get my backpack eventually, but it would be just time wasting and troublesome, which will affect my well-planned itinerary.
However, thank god that my carelessness didn't cost me too much of hassles that day. Lady luck appeared to be smiling at me. It so happened that the train in which my backpack was left behind stopped at the same station that the exchange train I took. So, instead of informing the station master, there was still a slight chance that I would be able to get to that first train and look for my backpack myself first, while at the same time hoping that it will not take off yet for its next ride. Just like what you would have guessed it, one of the cleaners of the train was just going to get his hand on my backpack when I stepped inside one of the coach. I told him what had happened to my backpack and thanked him. Finally, I was reunited with my backpack.
Despite going through such misfortune, the tense moments didn't make me lose my mood to explore Kamakura when I arrived there.
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Trishaws for tourist who prefer to explore the town with a guide along the way. Just like in Malacca, they don't come cheap.
From A.D. 1180 to 1333 Kamakura served as the political and cultural centre of all Japan under the capable and enlightened shogunate government. This was also an age of religious flowering, marked by the arrival of Zen from China and the birth of important new native sects as well. As Buddhism in its diverse forms swept into the hearts of the people, temples were built in increasing numbers and with increasingly central roles in everyday life. These various pillars of popular faith and the treasures they embrace have been meticulously preserved in Kamakura through the centuries.
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Masks for kids on sale at the entrance of the main shrine of Tsurugaoka Hachimangu.
Wakamiya Oji, the broad path leading up to Tsurugaoka Hachimangu is lined with cherry trees that burst into glorious bloom each spring.
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Dankazura, the principal section of Wakajima Oji.
Forming the historic centre of the city is the Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Shrine, Kamakura's most important shrine.
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Camwhoring in front of the main building of the shrine.
Within the expensive precincts of this complex lie a trove of architectural gems from the city’s early years, including the Hongu main shrine and the maiden dance stage. These are complemented by a pair of lotus ponds, a charmingly scenic bridge and the lush trees set off by the surrounding mountains.
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One of the section of the shrine.
Various events are held at the shrine throughout the year. During the New Year holidays, Tsurugaoka Hachimangu is crowded with over two million visitors - one of the country's most visited shrines, and in April and September, horseback archery known as yabusame is performed on the lane that leads to the shrine's dance stage and main building.
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If you still recall my time when I visited Meiji Shrine in Harajuku and getting to witness a fake wedding ceremony, this time I saw a real one held on that maiden dance stage. When I was there, they were performing the tea ceromony which looked similar to Chinese wedding as well. However, the families and relatives attending the ceremony were only limited to closed members, and as far as I could notice, there were only the parents of the bride and bridegroom on the stage. I didn't spend much time witnessing the whole ceremony because the process was just too slow, so slow that I decided to leave for the next stop.
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Wedding ceremony on the dance stage.
However, before I left the place, I was fascinated with the huge number of pigeons flying freely at the surroundings of the shrine. Nara and Miyajima may be famous for their deers while Shibuya for their infamous crows but as for Kamakura, it would be pigeons. These pigeon are so tame, but brave enough that they will get close to the visitors who were feeding them with dried corns sold there.
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But sometimes, they get too much action in their acts that they would just fly onto the body of the feeder, especially small kids.
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I tried to feed the pigeons too. At first they instantly came close to me when I began to squat down but later when they realised I was feeding them with something else, they turned away. Guess what I tried to feed them?
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A white piece of map I got from the tourist guide counter which I folded a few times. It made me sound to be the most evil tourist ever.

~ to be continued ~