We see things like this in Kyoto all the time. We turn a corner and and see some tiny store, selling something or other. There's never a lot of it, whatever it is. And not in a large space. But it's adorable. Here's an example:
After the bloody ceiling adventure last Sunday, we stopped at this barber shop. Their haircuts for school kids were only 1300 yen! The boys were due. Max stepped right up.
He doesn't look happy, but he was raving about the orange-mint shampoo. They even shaved off his lip fuzz with a little razor!
I do so love a man with short hair....
Alek was less enthusiastic about the process. The barber has three boys of his own, though, so he just grabbed him up in the air and plopped him in the chair.
No smiles. This is "before." The barber was marveling at the loft of his bedhead. I didn't learn the Japanese word for that. Nepatsu perhaps? Anyone? Reading manga in the waiting room....
Hugo got a good haircut, too. He was even less enthusiastic than Alek. But the lady did his bangs just the way he wanted. Then we were off for Kura Sushi! The barber said his own 16-year old can put away 30 plates there. I will do a blog about that soon.
Anyway, it was yet another experience with some very friendly and patient people. I can't imagine that the average US small business would be so nice to a bunch of people who don't speak the language very well, and whose kids had to be manhandled into the chair.
Do you know the best way to get three young boys to visit a 400 year old temple?
We got a great tip on this from our American friends in Kyoto.
Hint: It's not by promising them a lovely garden.
And, surprisingly, it's not the window of enlightenment.
Or the window of human suffering. (Both of which are beautiful.)
In case your kanji are a little rusty, that reads, "blood ceiling."
This ceiling in this next picture in fact. Above my head, you can see....
The full story is told better here. But in 1600, 10 soldiers were in Fushimi Castle (in South Kyoto), outnumbered by 40,000 troops. Instead of being killed, they all committed suicide in the...let's just say...traditional Japanese way. Their blood soaked the floor of the castle. Later, to bring peace and honor to the men's souls, the leaders (who eventually won the war) arranged to have the floorboards incorporated into five separate temples.
What can I say? It was pretty cool.
The rest of the temple was also very peaceful and open.
We are grateful to the generous support of the Fulbright program and the Japan-US Educational Commission, which is making our year in Japan possible. This blog is not an official Fulbright Program blog. The views expressed are our own and not those of the Fulbright Program, JUSEC, the U.S. Department of State or any of its partner organizations.