Monday, 26 October 2009
We have had our first rain today, though not enough to dampen us or our spirits. After a short bus ride, we walked up a delightful pedestrian street, Sannen-Zaka to meet a former sudent of Caroline, her daughter and grand-daughter at the Morioka pottery: Caroline, Mini, Fujo and her daughter had lessons there. I talked to the charming and elegant widow of Kasho Morioka III (who doubled as a child-minder) and met her potter son. Fine teaware seems to be their speciality: it looks beautiful to my inexpert eye.
After lunch we jostled with all the other tourists, including hordes of neatly-uniformed schoolchildren, and walked up to Kiyomizu-dera, the most striking religious complex we've yet visited. There, we took off our shoes and walked down into the completely dark passage leading to an eerily lit carved stone wheel: we were "figuratively entering the womb of a female Bodhisattva, who has the power to grant any human wish," so the guidebook said. It was certainly the nearest I've come yet to getting the point of Buddhism - more potent than the rows of white prayer messages pegged to wire lines that you see in each of the sites.