We took the train from the restaurant in Hiroshima about a half hour outside of the city to a port, and then crossed on a ferry to Miyajima island.
Most temples in Japan are structures, but Miyajima is different. In this case, the whole island is considered a temple. There's a temple on the island too, but in this case the island is the temple, as is the water surrounding it, so all must be treated with care (but we can, thankfully, wear our own shoes while in this temple!).
Another interesting thing about this island is it's paper-eating inhabitants: deer. Very friendly, very adorable, very aggressive deer. Arriving on the island, each person is given a map of the island. Occasionally people drop these maps and the deer will eat them. In fact, the deer will often go after the maps while people are still holding them!
We wandered through the winding roads of the temple-city and eventually arrived at the main temple on the island, right near the floating Torii gate. Now, to call it "floating" is a bit incorrect. It sits on the beach of the island and during high-tide the water rises up and gives it an illusion of floating. But during low-tide, like when we went there, the water was draining away from it and slowly the gate was more and more revealed.
Also then, of course, the temple wasn't floating either, and pools of water, moss and crustaceans could be seen in the mud below and around the temple.
In this temple there there was a fortune telling machine. To use it, you pick up a wooden tube and shake it, then put it on an angle and have a piece of wood slide out with a letter and a number on it. You then take that to a cabinet and pull out the drawer with your number and letter on it, and take out your piece of paper. I got my fortune, but had no idea what is said because it was all in Japanase!
I showed it to our tour guide, who is generally very level headed. Upon looking at it her face darkened and said "Oh no. Very bad. I don't know why so many of you are getting these." I wanted a second opinion so Luke and I went and found two young Japanese girls to help translate it. I showed it to them and they paused, laughed and pointed down as if to say "bad". By now I wanted a detailed answer, so I went back to our tour guide and this is what she said:
Direction: Southwest is good.
Sickness: is prolonged.
You will lose something important, only to find it again years later.
I've been waiting for somebody to arrive, but I will have them arrive too late.
Moving locations has a 50% of working out in the better.
You have a 70% of gambling incorrectly.
You will have bad luck traveling.
You will have a poor marriage.
If you go into business, it will fail.
We had a few hours to enjoy the temple before we had to go, and I spent it on the shore after my camera died from using it too much in Hiroshima. After a while I met up with some other people on my tour and joined them on the way back to the ferry. We took it back to the mainland, then took the train back to Hiroshima, and went to our hotel to clean up before supper. It was during supper I realized that they do not sell milk at restaurants in Japan. I'm used to milk in North America, so I found this very strange and it was the topic of discussion for supper.
I am writing this the next day while on the train to Kyoto, so I apologize if it seems rushed.
Until next time.
And, as always, a big thank you to my sweetheart Jessica Nuttall for proof reading a countless number of my articles. I couldn't do any of this without you. I love you.
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Imagine the bustling streets of New York, then times it by ten. Add a dash of Chinese culture, a wallop of nature and half dozen fish balls that don’t actually contain any fish, and you have the beautiful city that is Hong Kong.
At 7.2 million people, Hong Kong is a dynamic city with an incredible history, towering skyscrapers and a unique mix of English and Chinese that can’t be found anywhere else in the world. While Hong Kong has existed for a millennium, it was officially founded in 1842 to solidify a truce between Great Britain and the Qing dynasty of China during the First Opium War. A decade after the British took control of Hong Kong, the Black Death swept into China, killing hundreds of thousands of people. It would remain part of Hong Kong’s life for a century.
During World War II, Hong Kong was captured by the Japanese. For three years and eight months the British-Chinese culture of the city was destroyed, replaced with Japanese text, language and art. The booming city of 1.6 million people was slashed to only 600,000. Japanese occupation was incredibly harsh for the Hongkongese, being the darkest part of their history. Japan ceased occupation on August 6th, 1945, in response to the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. For forty-two more years, Hong Kong was controlled by the British, with the reunification between Hong Kong and mainland China finally occurring in 1997.
If you're visiting Alberta this summer, you probably have your heart set on visiting the mountains. After all, places like Lake Louise, Banff, Waterton and now Castle Provincial Park are some of the most beautiful sites in Canada, and they're always a hit on Instagram (if you're into that kind of thing). But, between Regina and the mountains is a whole province with plenty of sights to explore.
Last year I took more trips than I could count to southern Alberta, but most of them ended near Medicine Hat. Had I gone a bit further, I would have found myself in a myriad of attractions to see, from historical museums to sites of natural disasters and just about everything in-between.
For those looking to make a few stops on their way to the Rocky Mountains, or for those who are just looking for an Alberta road trip, here are six attractions you must visit while in southern Alberta.
As I stood in the courtyard of Fort Henry, I heard screams emanating from within. Fort Henry was constructed to protect the Kingston Royal Dockyard from the invading American forces during the War of 1812. The threat was so real that the capital of Canada – which was then Kingston – was moved to Quebec to protect it. The docks are all that stood between the United States and the St. Lawrence River and both countries were all too familiar with how easily it would turn the tides of battle.
As the screams from inside Fort Henry faded, I turned to the man beside me. He had come with his family. We got talking, trying to calm our nerves as bloodied clowns and undead mimes began wandering out from inside the fort.