“If you reject the food, ignore the customs, fear the religion and avoid the people, you might better stay at home.” - James Michener
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Kinkakuji Temple (The Golden Pavilion)
Kinkakuji Temple (The Golden Pavilion)
All that glitters is gold at Kinkakuji Temple in northern Kyoto. Gold leaf covers the two upper floors of Kinkakuji or the Golden Pavilion which was once the retirement villa of the shogun, Ashikaga Yoshimitsu. When he died in 1408, his villa became a Zen temple of the Rinzai sect of Buddhism as specified in his will. It is officially called Rakuon-ji which is also the name given to Yoshimitsu on his journey to the next world.
The Golden Pavilion represents three architectural styles. The first floor is in the Shinden style featuring a large room with a veranda and wooden pillars supporting the upper storeys. The second level reflects the samurai style and was used for private meetings. It's completely gilded on the outside. The top floor emulates Chinese Zenshu style of architecture with cusp windows, gilding inside and out, and houses the Amida triad and 25 Bodhisattvas. A bronze phoenix which is also covered in gold leaf crowns the rooftop. These three distinct styles blend harmoniously to create a glittering shariden that houses the relics of Buddha. Kinkakuji was rebuilt from scratch in 1955 when a crazy monk burned it to the ground in 1950. The Golden Pavilion is closed to the public as is the Abbot's House or Hojo.
Kinkakuji is beautiful to behold from across the pond which bears its reflection. The pond and surrounding gardens have been designated as a National Special Historic Site and Special Place of Scenic Beauty.
Abbot's House (Hojo)
A stroll around the property could be a relaxing walk in the woods were it not for the hordes of tourists and students who are everywhere. It's hard to find a spot where one can quietly enjoy the scenery except perhaps in the tea garden where I found a few empty seats behind the foliage.
Crowds notwithstanding, the walk up to the upper pond is pleasurable with much to catch the eye. I especially liked the little fishing deck on the side of the Golden Pavilion. Before leaving the temple grounds, visitors toss coins at these statues for good luck.
Buses 101 and 205 stop at Kinkakuji from Kyoto Station. It costs ¥220 for the 40 minute ride. There is an entrance fee. It's open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Carlos "Botong" Francisco, FILIPINO STRUGGLES THROUGH HISTORYOil on canvas, 1964, (located at ManilaCity Hall) A National Cultural Treasure owned by the City of Manila Carlos Botong Francisco: A Nation Imagined is the latest art installation at the AyalaMuseum in Makati to celebrate the 100th birthday anniversary of Carlos “Botong” Francisco (1912-1969), a Philippine National Artist. Forty paintings and lithographs were culled from various private collections to form this exhibition. Of the large scale paintings on display, Maria Makiling and Fiesta, both oil on canvas, are representative of the indigenous genre which Botong loved to portray. In Maria Makiling, Botong reveals a relaxed and recumbent woman with her legs dangling in the cool waters of the stream and playing with an exotic deer by her side. Fiesta is about how the Filipino people gather to celebrate an important occasion, be that a religious feast or a wedding. The central figures are dancing the tinikling, a po…
Tinapa Spring Rolls
I've read and heard about tinapa spring rolls but have never tasted one. So on a stopover in Manila recently, I decided to try these much talked about "lumpia" appetizers with a twist. MESA at Greenbelt 5 in Makati serves these lettuce wrapped delicacies. I could smell the tinapa (smoked fish) as the waitress approached my table. I dipped the roll in the vinegar sauce and mmmm, what a delight! I've missed eating tinapa, tiny fish with bronze skin you can peel open intact. The tinapa meat is delicious but it has bones. There were no bones in the tinapa rolls I tasted. The kitchen must have deboned the fish first before making them.
This plateful of tinapa spring rolls is only P140.00. And it's a generous serving for one person. There is also tinapa fried rice on the menu. I didn't try it because I ordered palabok (a noodle dish) instead.
Lorca's house in the outskirts of Granada Today I gave a travel presentation at work about Spain and I included this sonnet from one of Spain's greatest poets/playwrights, Federico Garcia Lorca. It's full of visual imagery which not only gives the reader the ability to see what he's written but it also leads the mind of the reader in search of meaning.
Sonnet of Sweet Complaint Never let me lose the marvel
of your statue-like eyes, or the accent
the solitary rose your breath
places on my cheek at night.
I am afraid of being, on this shore,
a branchless trunk, and what I most regret
is having no flower, pulp, or clay
for the worm of my despair.
If you are my hidden treasure,
if you are my cross, my dampened pain,
if I am a dog, and you alone my master,
never let me lose what I have gained,
and adorn the branches of your river
with leaves of my estranged Autumn.