The Safest Driver #

While in Japan, I have been visiting many temples and shrines, and have been filling out a Goshuin. One of the temples I visited was the Kawasaki-Daishi Temple. When I walked there, I was surprised at the HUGE parking lot for this place. My first thought was “Wow! This place must be used for big events!”. As I went, showed my respects, and sat in the temple, a ceremony started. So I was just thinking “Ok, I guess I’ll join in”. And so I went through a Buddhist prayer ceremony… and then the monk brought everyone outside… and everyone stood by their car. I was, in fact, not at the Kawasaki Daishi Temple. I was at the Kawasaki Daishi Prayer Hall for Safe Driving. I had walked to the Safe Driving prayer hall to pray for the car I didn’t have. So now I am the safest non-driver.

どうぞ! どうぞ! #

So when I moved to Osaka for a month, I didn’t do much research. But the pictures of the apartment looked nice, so I was like sure this should work. I arrived at my apartment without hassle, and slept until 11am the next day. When I awoke, I left to go check out the area. I maybe walk a block before I hear “どうぞ! どうぞ! (come! come!)” I turn my head and see a beautiful lady, and an older lady, who is the one beckoning me. I think “huh that’s weird.” do a courtesy bow, and continue on my way. Maybe 20 steps later I hear another voice “どうぞ! どうぞ! Hello!”. And I turn my head and again see another young lady and older lady. At this point, the gears start turning in my head, and I look up the area I’m living in. Sure enough, I’ve moved into a red-light district! But even further, when I was talking to my Osaka friend, he informed me that I have moved to Tobita Shinchi in the Nishinari ward. It is not a red-light district. It is THE red-light district, famous throughout Japan. It’s so famous, there are even online guides of the area, because people come to Osaka specifically to come here. It is also apparently the “most dangerous” neighborhood in all of Japan. It still felt way safer than Oakland, though, so… uhhhh… take from that what you will. Also, do your research when moving to a new place I guess haha.

Rare Trains #

So I got a suggestion to take the Tadami Line Train (只見線), which is a super scenic 5-hour local train ride through Fukushima Province. The problem, I discovered, is the train schedule. There are 3 trains that run each weekday. The first train is impossible to get to from another city; it leaves at 6:08am, and other trains to the station aren’t even running yet. The last train of the day leaves at 5pm, and the daylight is gone quickly. Which leaves one scenic train each day at 13:05. I missed that train. By 5 minutes. I thought the train left at 13:15.