So, we went to Osorezan!
"One of the three holiest sites of Japan, Founded in the ninth century by Great Buddhist Master Jikaku, En'nin....At the center of the sacred area of Osorezan is Lake Usori, and next to it a large tract covered with white sand. Surrounding them are eight peaks. The landscape of Osorezan with the eight peaks surrounding it represents a lotus flower of eight petals, the symbol of the wold of Buddha. In its central area there are 108 ponds of boiling water and mud, which correspond with the 108 worldly desires and the hells linked to each of them. Side by side with the hellish ponds the woods, the lake and the coast of white sand present a wonderful scene, which suggests the beauty of Paradise." (Taken from the pamphlet they gave us when we got there.)
(I'm really not an Amazon woman. I'm only 5'9.75". This is just a bad angle.)
So basically, many Japanese people believe this is where souls come after death and that it's the gateway to either heaven or hell. Specifically, they believe the spirits of babies who've died or been aborted come here to try to make it to heaven. Therefore, it is literally covered with pinwheels, (to entertain the babies) piles of rocks, (to get closer to heaven) and offerings of food and yen and small statues.
(We actually did dig in the sand a little when someone discovered a little spout of hot water coming up right on the beach.)
We had another adventure in store.
And I'll tell you all about it!
(Or, ya know--a week from now. Whatever.)
(And by-the-way, all this practical journaling for posterity is really getting in the way of me writing pointless rants! I hope all you who are just using me for my Japan appreciate these posts!)