I’ve uploaded pictures documenting the entire WGI trip.
22AprHere’s the link: Aimachi WGI - 2008These pictures tell the story of an amazing trip which concluded in a powerful and unforgettable performance. One I’ll never forget.
After an exhausting week of rehearsal and traveling and adventure, Aimachi captured the bronze medal at the WGI Championships in Dayton!!!Pictures and blogs documenting the trip will soon follow.
The final day has come.While this adventure is ending, another begins.I will always carry with me the experience I’ve had at Aimachi.I’m excited for what’s ahead,but I’m so sad to leave…What a special place this is.
When I came to Japan last September there were many things I wanted to do, but only one thing I knew I MUST do - and that was visit Kamakura and recreate a picture my grandfather took 57 years ago in front of the Great Buddah while serving in the Korean War.
Kamakura is located in Kanagawa, Japan, about 50 km south-south-west of Tokyo. It is sometimes considered a former de facto capital of Japan, as the seat of the Regent and Shogunate during the Kamakura Period. According to The Institute for Research on World-Systems, Kamakura was the 4th largest city in the world in 1250 A.D., with 200,000 people, and Japan’s largest, eclipsing Kyoto by 1200 A.D. As of January 1, 2008, the city has an estimated population of 173,588 - thanks wikipedia.
With my time running out in Japan and having yet to make the visit, I began planning. Unfortunately, the distance from Nagoya to Kamakura is nearly 400 km’s, so “asking for a ride” from someone at Aikiyo wasn’t really an option. The only other option was the train - so that’s what I did.
I picked the best day of the week - qualifications were weather and overcoming my weekend stomach bug - and took time to plan my route. We were in our last week of rehearsal so I couldn’t spend the night. This was going to be a day trip - and a long, expensive day at that. On top of that, I was going alone.
At 8 am I left Aikiyo with my itinerary, maps, camera, tripod, a book, and my grandfather’s hat. I was on my way.
To fill in the next four hours, I took the train into Nagoya, the Shinkansen (bullet train) to Yokohama Shinkansen station, subway to Yokohama main station, subway to Kamakura - switching trains along the way by the advice of an Australian guy I met on the way - and finally, the electric trolly from Kamakura to Hase station: my final destination. I made it.
Something I noticed as I arrived in Hase station was how beautiful this city was. It gave off a Sicilian/Greek kind of vibe. Very beautiful, narrow but clean streets, and no overpowering buildings. The path of the trolly barely seemed big enough as it comfortably squeezed in between houses along the way. I remember saying to myself (without knowing any better) “I feel like I’m right by the water.”
I was a little caught off guard by how “touristy” it was. The only blemish on an otherwise perfect little city. This actually paid off to my advantage as finding my way to the great Buddah was very well marked. I walked up the street heading straight, just like my map said, but ended up taking a random left turn. I could see many people flocking to a temple entrance. Maybe I thought that’s where I’d find the Buddah, maybe I wasn’t thinking at all - but that’s where I went. This might have been one of the most beautiful temple sites I’ve been in. It was nestled right on the mountain’s side which gave it a kind of cozy feel. As I got further in something on the horizon caught my eye. It was the sea.
I took my time exploring the rest wandering in and out of temples, exploring a few caves, but no Buddah. While in the caves, however, I met a friend - Real Rodriguez - who was also exploring Kamakura by himself. Real is currently working in Singapore at an investment banking firm but enjoys traveling so much he’s willing to do it by himself no matter where he’s going. After helping each other take a couple of pictures, we decided to keep each other company for the rest of the afternoon.
We headed up the road and found what I was looking for. I could see Buddah’s great head poking over the trees as I entered. A sigh of relief came over me. Now I made it.
Since my grandfather’s visit in 1951, the grounds have been rebuilt. Fortunately - best I could tell - the Buddah has remained the same. With Real’s help and a photocopy of my grandfather’s picture, we recreated the memory best we could. What a great feeling…
We took a walk down to the shoreline, chatted about our backgrounds and careers - future careers in my case - and then found some lunch. Real was generous enough to pick up the bill, which considering my VERY limited budget, would pay off big sooner than I would think.
Travel time to get to Hase station from Handa City was 4 hours and with rehearsal at 8:30, I had to start making my way back. Around 3:30, we hopped the trolly back to Kamakura station and then the rail line towards Yokohama. Real was headed back to Tokyo so we parted ways about halfway to Yokohama Station. We traded business cards, shook hands, and promised to get in touch the next time either of us were in their part of the world.
I made it home without a hitch - and without more than 20 yen in my pocket - in US $’s, that’s about 20 cents. Thanks for lunch, Real!
And now, what you’ve all been waiting for…
Here’s a link to the entire photo album: Kamakura Album