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Connie: Miyajima

November 26, 2010

Miyajima is a very famous tourist spot. It’s an island near Hiroshima city. Me and several friends took the trip out there last Saturday.

Some of the things Miyajima is famous for:

The red fall leaves. The whole island is lit up like a metaphorical fire of foliage. I remember back in Minnesota and Wisconsin they would have signs about the autumn scenery, but those were really nothing compared to Miyajima. I think it’s the mountains and the traditional Japanese architecture that really does it.

This gate. While riding the ferry to the island we spotted it standing majestically out of the water. Of course tourists were packed around the shores when we got off trying to photograph it. The group of us wandered around until 2:30, when the tide was lowest, and then walked out with everyone else to stand beneath it. I touched all four pillars (for luck) and stuck a 5 yen coin among the barnacles clinging to its sides. It’s amazing that people so long ago were able to build such a structure and have it stand for so many years. It’s still sturdy as ever.

The deer. They’re all really tame. You can pet or pose with them with little worry, though there are signs advising you take caution in doing so. They will sleep anywhere and ignore the hundreds of tourists passing them every minute. Some people say how horrifying they are. Their cute appearance is just a facade and they’ll maul you if you have food to offer. Actually I just thought they were cute, but I wasn’t carrying any food with me. We did see one trying to break into a food stand, however.

You can also do おみくじ (omikuji) at Miyajima. It’s like getting your fortune. You take this canister and shake it up until a stick comes out of a tiny hole on the bottom. There’s a number on the stick that corresponds with a drawer. You open the drawer and take out your fortune. It’s written in old Japanese, so there was very little I could read on my own, but I got a Japanese girl who came with us to help me translate it.

My fortune wasn’t very good. In fact just about everything on it was bad news. I would buy something expensive then lose it, my marriage would be terrible, I would lose, the person I’m waiting for won’t come. Things like that. Luckily, if you get a terrible fortune, you can tie it off and get rid of it for good. That’s what the picture above is – my bad fortune tied away.

So I’m not going to lose, and I’m still waiting.

Miyajima is a beautiful place, but I don’t know that I like feeling so touristy. I want to feel like I’m living here. Something more than endless sightseeing.

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