Went to our first temple and shrine: the Daijuji Temple. It was simply gorgeous and instantly learned about the etiquette regarding entering temples: how to take your shoes off before entering, how to pray etc. etc.
We then visited the Toyota Factory where we were greeted by two really really awesome prototype products: a fully functional robot that can play various songs on the trumpet
as well as a very futuristic looking wheelchair/car.
They were both insanely cool and definitely gave the image I thought of as Japan being “the technological capital of the world”. After the showcase, we went to the actual factory where we saw the massive assembly line where each Toyota car is made. Additionally, at a cafe near the factory, I discovered my new food-related love: oddly enough, eel (in the top right):
As our tour guide/instructor puts it quite simply: “it’s f**king amazing”.
Next stop was the Hatcho Miso factory where Hatcho Miso, a soup made out of just soy sauce, water and salt is created over the span of 2 years.
This miso has been popularized by being the choice of the Emperor for years. We saw how it was made and then got free samples.
It was pretty good but the Hatcho Miso flavored ice cream was amazing. Probably one of the best flavors I’ve ever had.
Shrines, Shrines and more Shrines
The architecture of some of these places is simply astounding at times. It was also interesting to learn that before entering places like this, you had to “cleanse your spirit” in water fountains located before entering.
Today was also the birthday of one of our instructors. We all celebrated at an irish pub owned by another one of our instructors. It was a fantastic time and a great way to wind down after all of the traveling we have been doing.
We visited Okazaki Castle. It was enormous and filled with tons of cool stuff including lots and lots of samurai swords and armor: which we had the awesome opportunity of trying on. The whole place was covered with history, digital reenactments of war and some really interesting stories involving conflicts with rival feudal Japan families.
We were also able to get a great view of Okazaki City from the top of the castle.
Later that day we visited a fish restaurant. The catch? We had to catch, skewer and cook the fish ourselves. It was a huge feast and everything was delicious. I seriously love this place more as the days go by. All the cultural differences; the way it’s at times the complete opposite of America, really intrigue me. The food is more elegant here, always needing to eat with chopsticks. Every building and structure has a substantial amount of charm and visual appeal. Sure the differences give the impression that living here wouldn’t exactly be the best choice for me but it’s definitely the kind of place I would love to visit time and again. And the best part is that I still have about 10 more days here.