Wabi-Sabi Sole

Finding Beauty with Imperfection

Category: 2017 (Page 1 of 3)

USS Fitzgerald Memorial Service

On Tuesday, Dave and I had the honor to attend the memorial service for PS1 Xavier Martin, FC1 Gary Rehm Jr., GM2 Noe Hernandez, FC2 Carlos Victor Ganzon Sibayan, YN3 Shingo Alexander Douglass, STG3 Ngoc Truong Huynh, and GMSN Dakota Kyle Rigsby. They were the seven sailors who were killed when the USS Fitzgerald and a merchant ship collided off the coast of Japan on Saturday, June 17th, 2017. Please click on the embedded link for the Navy Times article about the service.

The venue for the memorial service couldn’t hold the entire grieving Navy family of the Yokosuka Naval Base. Those who weren’t able to attend the service, lined the streets of the base along the route the crew and family members would take to transit from the base Chapel to the Theater. It was an amazing display of solidarity and support. The Line of Honor demonstrated how the Navy family comes together when faced with tradegy, to honor fallen heroes and support their families.

On a more personnal level, I found the service to be a beautiful tribute and heartbreaking. Crew members of the USS Fitzgerald spoke of their lost shipmates. They shared stories about their friends. Their memories made us smile and together we cried for their loss. I like to think it was healing for the family members to hear about how loved their sailor was by so many. Flags were folded for each sailor and presented to their respective family member. To me, those specific flags represent the honor, courage, and commitment of the Sailor’s service. As well as, a reminder of the ultimate sacrifice they made in order for their ship and shipmates to return safely to Yokosuka.

2017 is continuing to remind me life is precious and life should be cherished. I send my love to you from Japan. Although we are far apart, you always remain in my heart. XOXO

Itsukushima Shrine

The first part of our tour on Monday morning was a visit to Miyajima Island and the Itsukushima Shrine. The Torii gate of this shrine is one of the most iconic scenes of Japan. Hiroshima Bay has significant tidal changes. We were able to visit the shrine during high tide. This gives the visitor the impression the Torii is floating. During low tide, visitors are able to walk out to the Torii. The views of the Torii as we approached the shrine were majestic. 


One selfie to prove we were here! Pardon my fly away ferry hair! 


Our tour guide shared interesting details about the Shrine. Here is a summary from my notes. 

The Shrine is dedicated to the Shinto Gods of the seas and storms. The island was considered sacred and commoners were not allowed to visit the island. The Shrine was built over the water to allow visitors to make their pilgrimage without actually stepping on the island. 


The red entrance Torii gate, was built over the water for the same reason. Commoners were expected to steer their boats through the torii before approaching the shrine.


Interestingly, in an effort to retain the purity of the Shrine, neither deaths nor births are permitted near the shrine. In fact, terminally ill residents and pregnant residents of the island are expected to return to the mainland to pass away or deliver their child. Simultaneously, burials are prohibited on the island. 

The Itsukushima Shrine was beautiful and presented the opportunity for many incredible pictures. 


After our visit to the Itsukushima Shrine, we walked around the main shopping street. We enjoyed a famous lunch of okonomiyaki. Hmmmm. There was so much going on with this special dish. It was a flour tortilla loaded with everything imaginable. The first picture illustrates the construction of the ingredients. It goes in my list of “I can say I ate it and I don’t need to eat it again.” Honestly, it was the sauce. Too much. It was like a thick and too sweet teriyaki. 


Here is a picture of the history behind the dish. 


The final highlight of Miyajima Island was the number of deer. Yes, deer. Everywhere. And they were looking for food! 

Camped out in front of a restaurant! 


This picture was my favorite! The wild deer was stoically posed by the sign! Ha! 


Miyajima Island was a highlight of the weekend. If we have time when you visit to make the trip, we should spend the night on the island and perhaps do some hiking. I know we will both enjoy our time on the island! 

Yokohama Garden Necklace 

A bright sunny Monday is the perfect time to visit the Yokohama Garden Necklace. 


The Yokohama Garden Necklace goes from the end of March until the beginning of June. It is designed to highlight the green initiatives the city of Yokohama has taken. The main gardens and parks of Yokohama are connected (like a necklace) around the city by filling the urban spaces with strategically placed flowers and greenery. The mascot of the event is the cute bear with a flower hat. Kawaii! 


Today, I went to visit Yamashita Park. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen such an extensive flower collection. The park is along the waterfront of Yokohama Port. The ships provided a nice background. 


And so did the city skyline. 


In the middle of the park, was a large fountain with a statue of The Guardian of Water. 


Interestingly, the Guardian of Water statue was a gift to the people of Yokohama from the people of San Diego. It was presented in 1960. A fitting gift from one coastal town to another! 


As I mentioned, the flowers were spectacular. Roses, foxglove, impatients, iris, lilies, snapdragons, asters, and many others! 


Maybe a few close up pictures. 


Yamashita Park was a small gem bursting with flowers. If you plan a visit next spring, I will be sure to add it to Julia’s tour when we visit Yokohama. 

All Day Scavenger Hunt

I took the Cummings on a tour around the west area of Tokyo on Monday. Dave called on Sunday and was able to reserve two rooms for us at the New Sanno Hotel. This would enable us to spend the entire day exploring and not having to take the train all the way home. 

The first stop on our scavenger hunt was at The International House of Japan. Or as we quickly named it “The International House of Ja-pancake.” 


Here, Sara was able to deliver a book her father published of his notes and recordings from a conference he attended during the 1960s. Fortunately, one of the receptionist spoke very good English. Sara left the book with the receptionist and she in return gave Sara an email for her father to use to contact the library. Mission complete. 


Our next order of business was to drop off our bags at the hotel. As we walked through Roppongi, we could see Tokyo Tower. 


At the hotel, we registered for our rooms and left our bags with the bellhop. Back to the train station we went! This time our destination was lunch! The Vernal Equinox is a holiday in Japan making it difficult to find a place not too crowded at lunch. Outside of Shinjuku station, we found a cute little back alley filled with different ramen shops. 


It was the perfect spot to fuel our Seven Lucky Gods pilgrimage. Lucky us, there were five seats available! 

With our lunch mission complete, we set out on the Shinjuku Seven Lucky Gods pilgrimage. Seven temples to find! 


At our first temple, Taiso-ji, we collected Hotei and purchased the boat the Gods would rest upon. Hotei: God of happiness, family, peace and protection from illness and disaster.


The second stop was at the Hozen-ji Temple. Here we collected Jurojin. Jurojin: God of long life and protection from illness.


I knew our next stop was a tricky one to find and I took us down a couple dead end streets before finding the path to the temple. Without too much delay, we arrived at the Itsukushima Temple. Here we collected Benzai-ten. Benzai-ten: Goddess of music, arts, and speech.


Our fourth stop was around the corner. We walked over to the Eifuku-ji Temple. The Eifuku-ji Temple is dedicated to Fukurokuju. Fukurokuji: God of health, happiness, and long life. 


The fifth temple was a bit of a walk and required a little refueling. A short stop at the Family Mart for ice cream and we were on our way! About 15 minutes later we arrived at the Kyo-o-ji Temple. Here we collected Daikoku-ten. Daikoku-ten: God of grain harvest and wealth. Everyone also had a chance to shake the lucky mallet for wealth! 


To reach the sixth temple we took a quick train ride to the Zentoku-ji Temple. This temple is dedicated to Bishamon-ten. Bisamon-ten: God of protection from disaster and evil.


As we were leaving the temple, we realized we needed to pick up the pace in order to ensure we made it to the last temple on time. Everyone stepped it out! I was so proud of everyone! We made it to Ushi Kitano a Shinto Shrine. 

But, guess what – it was the wrong one! Yep, I messed that one up! Gah! It was 1600. Hopefully, the temple we wanted to visit stayed open until 1700. Back to the train we went!! Our final God awaited at the Inari Kio-jinja Shrine. Here we collected Ebisu-jin. Ebisu-jin: God of prosperous business. 


I consider us extra lucky after this pilgrimage- we found all seven plus one additional temple!! 

After completing our pilgrimage, we went to Harajuku for the reward I promised – cotton candy. And not just any cotton candy… a mountain of cotton candy! But first, we needed a family picture at Takeshita Dori! 


This part of the scavenger hunt was pretty easy. The cotton candy was everywhere! 


We enjoyed walking around Harajuku and seeing so much “kawaii!” Next up- finding  Shibuya Crossing and a snapping a picture with Hachiko statue. 


Done and done! Time to eat dinner. Oh, boy… always a bit of a scavenger hunt and with two kids it can be tricky. If James had his pick, we would eat ramen again. While walking around Shibuya we turned the corner and saw Outback Steakhouse. Seriously. Our search was over. The American mothership called us home. 


We all agreed, this was much better than the sea urchin pretzels Delaney picked up earlier in the day! 


This massive burger with blooming onions on top made my scavenger hunt complete. 


The day was quite an adventure. I lost track of how many trains we rode. Apple steps told me we walked over 10 miles. Even after a full day of walking and occasional wrong turns, I’m the lucky one. I was able to spend the day with friends doing what I love – exploring! 

PS. Sara snapped this picture in one of the many train stations. Me, wiping my ever runny nose. Yep, that’s about my normal look! Haha

Lucky

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! We were fortunate to be able to share the day with friends… who flew in from the U.S. Yay! Team Cummings! Our first visitors! 


Today was a lot of first. Not only did we welcome our first visitors, it was also my first road trip in Japan! Sara, JJ, Delaney and James arrived via an AMC flight to Yokota Air Force Base. The easiest way to get back to our was in a car. Hooptie couldn’t all handle us or the road trip so, we rented a van! 


Yokota is on the west side of Tokyo. When we passed through Atsugi, had it been a clear day, we could have seen Mt. Fuji. Sadly, we had clouds. Here is the route to get to Yokota. I must remind you – I drove that – twice!! Maybe you call me: Princess Road Warrior! 


I was able to see so many new signs on my way to pick them up. I quickly assigned Sara the job of “Queen Shutterbug” and to take pictures of the road signs. Sara was an excellent assistant to wabisabisole. I must give her props for most of the pictures in my post today! Some of the signs were ridiculously confusing and worthy of documentation. 


This one is undeniably my favorite! I mean seriously!?! You want me to do what? And go where? 


I assigned James the job of counting how many tunnels we went through. He promptly fell asleep and released his crown, thereby designating JJ as “King Tunnel Counter.” He came through like a boss. Even when I thought he had fallen asleep, he counted. We went through 10 tunnels!! 

Delaney was the “Princess Backseat Driver.” She was the ultimate trooper and refused to take a nap on the way home! 

There was one more first of the evening. A first crockpot fail. Being St. Patrick’s Day, Dave and I prepped corned beef and cabbage for dinner. I put the crockpot on at 10am on low. When we came home at 4pm, it was far from being done. I flipped it on high and by 6:30, we were ordering pizza! Fortunately, no one went to bed hungry and we have dinner for tomorrow night! 

The best part, we have our friends, our people here for a week. We are feeling pretty lucky in the Dwyer house! 


Happy St. Patrick’s Day! Kanpie!! 

Now That’s a Woody

Before I begin, I must give caution. This post might be considered rated R by many. Proceed reading at your own risk… it is not for the easily offended.

Last year after we found out we were officially moving to Japan, one of our neighbors in Great Lakes gave me very important advice. He told me to make sure I attend the Fertility Festival. Seriously!?! There is such a thing as a Fertility Festival?

Oh, yes, there is indeed. It is held on March 15th every year in Komaki, a small town north of Nagoya. The festival is known as the “Honen-sai” has been celebrated for more than 1500 years and is a festival for fertility and good harvest. Unfortunately, this year March 15th fell on a weekday and Dave wasn’t able to join me on the ITT tour. Fortunately, I could convince Dina to go with me! The drive to Nagoya was about 4 hours on the bus – plus a couple rest stops.

The celebration takes place at the Tagata Shrine. At the shrine are a variety of statues allowing couples to pray for a child, singles to pray for love, and farmers to pray for a good harvest.

Our tour guide escorted us to the shrine and after that we had free time to bang the bell cock, rub the lucky balls, and take pictures with the large wooden penis.

“For whom does the cock toll? It tolls for thee.”

The sacred balls require a good rub. We were instructed to rub the right ball for luck and the left ball for children AND good sexual relations.

The Festival didn’t lack in the bizarre food category. Obviously, there was a lot of octoPUS, crab, meat on a stick and sausage. So much sausage.

Oh and if that wasn’t strange enough – the number of banana cocks were ri-DIC-ulous. I’m not sure I can ever look at a mini Ritz  cracker the same.

The main focus of the festival is the wooden phallus that is brought down the hill from the Kumano-sha Shrine via a parade to replace the existing phallus. Here is the phallus from 2016. Once it is enshrined, it is sacred and can’t be touched. The long line is to rub the balls and ring the dick bell and of course make your wish.

Around the shrine are several penis and vagina resembling rocks.

The wooden phallus weighs approximately 620lbs. The phallus gets bigger every year! It is carved from a single cedar tree. I think we can all agree, that’s a lot of wood! Here is the 2017 lucky phallus.

Before the ceremony, photographs and touching of the 2017 phallus were permitted and encouraged. I can only imagine how many pictures are now on the Internet of Dina and me posing with the massive Japanese dick in a box. Seriously, the paparazzi was ready to get some…pictures.

We also had the opportunity to have our pictures taken with the God Tagata. It was when I approached him I realized I don’t like masks. My expression says it all.

Shortly after this, the parade began. The distance between the two shrines took about 10 minutes to walk normally. For the parade, it took over 90 minutes. Partly because the Mikoshi are very heavy and because there is a lot of free Sake to be drank and also because Tagata is wearing silly shoes for a parade!

Did I mention the steps, Sake and shoes?!?

As the parade progresses, it restructures. The “head” priest leads the way. In front of him is an elder who spreads salt on the road to purify the path.

Eventually, the parade makes it to the shrine of the old statue (2016). It replaces the new one, the old one is removed and purchased by private buyers.

I almost forgot about the virgins carrying penis. Which the crowd was encouraged to touch!!

Just when you thought it was over, it’s time to go again. Get ready to catch mochi! Large, hard flying mochi.


While we were waiting to watch and experience the situation, Dina made a friend who wanted to catch mochi together. He was talking into his phone trying so hard to communicate with us.

He told us he was a veteran at catching mochi and told us to follow him and get closer to the stage. Very soon, mochi was flying.

And shockingly, me – who can’t catch a cold, actually caught a mochi. Maybe it more or less landed on me. And then our new friend gave me another. I gave them both to a friend on the tour who is trying to get preggers.

Talk about an “only in Japan experience.”  I hope I exposed you to the fully Monty. Plan your trip accordingly if you want to experience this next year!!

Sole Adventures-Tokyo Marathon 

Tokyo Marathon 2017 set the bar high with respect to race amenities and organization. 

Before I get into how amazing it was, let’s start with a picture of Dave and me in our corral G waiting for the start. 


We had about an hour to kill, so we took a couple other pictures. A selfie of us and one of Hello Kitty. 


I couldn’t pass up a picture of Hello Kitty with Mt. Fuji. Kawaii! 


Now onto the details of the race. Going through security was painless. We could see the start line from our hotel room and also Mt. Fuji if you look closely into the haze. 


Security opened at 7am. There were approximately 36,000 runners and I knew it would be best to be ahead of the crowds. We left our room at 7:15. I expected it would take us about an hour to get out of the hotel (slow elevators from the 28th floor), walk to our Gate, pass through security, use the restroom and then finally make our way to our start corral. Actually it only took us about 45 minutes. Being early and ahead of the crowd helped. 

The race started promptly at 9:10. We were passing the start line about 8 minutes later. Again, I expected 9:20ish. 


After we started, I put my phone away. Sorry, no more pictures. I took off the case and was worried I would drop it and there were so many people I was worried I would trip fooling around with it. 

Here are some highlights. Being dressed at Hello Kitty made the race a blast. Running on the outside, near the spectators, drew lots of “kawaii” and “Hello Kitty” comments. I would wave and smile. I felt like a celebrity. Simultaneously, by mile six, I was getting tired of waving. Haha. I made Dave move us over to the middle! 

The amount of spectators was unreal. They were literally lining the streets the entire way! They were cheering and had a variety of different noise makers. Surprisingly, we never heard any cowbell! 

The aid stations were every 2-3km. Yes, the entire race was measured in kilometers. Pathetically, we enjoyed doing the math to convert the kilometers to miles to help pass the time. 🤓 Every aid station had water and every other station had Pocari Sweat, the Japanese equivalent to Gatorade. After the halfway point, certain aid stations had bananas, tangerines, tomatoes, and a bread with something in it. I thought it was bean paste. Dave tried the bread and said no, it was chocolate! He also enjoyed several free candies and chocolates from spectators. I stuck with my three honey stingers and a half of tangerine around 32km or mile 20. The last thing I thought my intestines would tolerate was chocolate. I was a little bit disappointed there were no rice balls. I had heard through the grapevine that rice balls were offered. Nope. Let me just squelch that rumor! 

That pretty much covers everything. As I mentioned, the experience was wonderful. So wonderful in fact, we both agreed that was our LAST full marathon. We don’t need to do another. Ever. Half marathons from here on out. As we were enjoying our Sushi celebration dinner I asked Dave if he would rather climb Mt. Fuji or run another marathon. His response, “I’ve done both in 6 months, I’m good.” Simultaneously, he said, he was ready to run Key West Half Marathon anytime!! I couldn’t agree more! 

Thank you for all of the FB cheers, messages, and blog comments. Your support and love was felt by us both halfway around the world. 

To finish lines! Kanpie! 

Keio Plaza Hotel

For marathon weekend, we are staying at a luxury hotel adjacent to the start of the marathon. The Keio Plaza Hotel. Let me start with, the hotel offers a 34th floor lounge with FREE beer, wine and snacks. The view from the 34th floor. 


Plus snacks. 


The room is BIG compared to our “business hotel” last weekend. Simultaneously, the price tripled. “Ahhh, it’s whatever.” We are here for Tokyo Marathon weekend. Bucket list. Once in a lifetime. I want to experience everything. 

This luxury hotel is very spacious. A couple pictures for perspective. 


One more for perspective. Those long American legs. From mid calf down, my legs are not supported by the couch. 


Besides space, free drinks, and snacks, the luxury hotel provides a step up to with respect to toiletries. 

You need it – they’ve provided. 


PS. If the hotel goes out of business after we leave… its Dwyer’s fault. He drank too much free beer… or maybe it was my bottle of wine or three. Kanpie! 

Tokyo Marathon Expo

The Tokyo Marathon Expo is being held at Tokyo Big Sight. Tokyo Big Sight is a ginormous convention center located in the south east area of Tokyo. This is an area of Tokyo we have not had the opportunity to visit yet. Here was our route on the train. 


The fun part of the trip was going on the blue section or the Yurikamome Line. It goes over “Rainbow Bridge.” On the map, the green area is called “Aqua City” and we could see shopping and an amusement park. This will be an area worth exploring in the future. 


The expo is open Thursday, Friday and Saturday. The marathon is on Sunday. We decided to go to the expo on Thursday night because heard it only gets more crowded as the race day approaches. Plus, it isn’t really close to where we will be staying in Tokyo during marathon weekend. 

I’m truly glad we went when we did. I can’t imagine the crowds! 36,000 runners all have to pick up their number, wrist band, tshirts and timing chip. Yes, we have to wear a wrist band until we finish the marathon. It was put on by security and verified it matched my bib number. The band will also be screened at the start to allow me to enter and ensure I didn’t give away my number. 

Finding the expo once we were off the train was easy. There were workers pointing the way. 


Big Sight Tokyo was definitely big and a sight! There was a light up display with audio. 


First stop, number pick up. They had a special section for foreign runners. That’s us! 


Like I said, I’m so glad we came early. There were no lines! And my timing chip is good to go! 


How cute is this, they had a board with everyone’s name, organized by number. Dave found our names! 


From here, we entered the expo part of the expo and had plenty of photo opportunities, give aways and demonstrations. 


I forgot to mention they gave us a free beer, too! 


So much to see! 


It was undeniably the largest expo we have ever experienced. Two entire floors and a food court. 


The only disappointing part was the lack of Tokyo Marathon 2017 swag. There were a lot of tshirts and zip ups but, not things like pint glasses or beer coasters! 


The animated course map was one of my favorite pictures. It just makes me want to run… HAPPY!! 

Asakusa Seven Lucky Gods

After visiting the Tokyo Skytree, we went to the Sensō-ji Temple where we began the Seven Lucky Gods pilgrimage around Asakusa (pronounced A-sox-sa). The Sensō-ji Temple is one of the largest and most well temples in Tokyo. There were so many tourists!


A selfie at the start of our pilgrimage, the front gate of the temple. It was such a bright and sunny day!


After crossing through the front gate, there is a street with many stores selling every imaginable souvenir. Some of the stores weren’t open yet and so I was able to get a couple pictures of the art painted on the store doors.


The temple is very large and beautiful. 

With this Seven Lucky Gods pilgrimage, we were able to collect Temple stamps and small prayer cards that hang from a branch. At Sensō-ji Temple, I purchased the branch with a rooster card (2017 is the year of the rooster) and the card for Daikokuten, the God of commerce and prosperity.



Very close to Sensō-ji Temple was our next stop at the Asakusa Shrine. This shrine is dedicated to Ebisu, the God of wealth and prosperity.

Ebisu is the patron of fisherman and is shown holding a fish on the prayer card.

Our next stop was at the Honryuin Temple where Bisyamonten is honored. Bisyamonten is the God of War. He is pictured with an angry face to defeat evil!

The temple was unique because it had daikon that could be purchased as an offering. According to the temple brochure, “the daikon represents our minds trapped in deep ignorance, emanating poison of anger, but by offering a daikon to Kangi-Ten, that poison will be purged from our body and soul.”

Also, while we were waiting for my temple book to be stamped, one of the monks encouraged us to take dust from a beautiful gold urn and rub it on our palms and all over our bodies to cure any ailments. We rubbed it into our hands and down our legs hoping for a pain free marathon next weekend.

Cleansing water.

The fourth stop was the Imado Shrine or the Lucky Cat Shrine. This one has been on my list of must visit every since we went to the Lucky Cat Temple. The legend of the Imado Shrine was about an old woman who lived in Imado (Asakusa). She was forced to sell her cat due to extreme poverty. In her sadness, she dreamt of the cat telling her to make its image in clay. She created the clay cats and sold them. They were so popular she soon became very prosperous.


Here we collected the first of two prayer cards for Fukurokuji. Fukurokuji is the God of wisdom, luck, longevity, wealth, and happiness. The Imado Shrine features cats coupled together and visiting this temple is said to bring good fortune to your marriage. Also, if searching for a spouse, this is a good temple to visit and pray.


I purchased one of these cute of course a lucky cat prayer cards! Kawaii!


Look at these watering cans!


The next stop on our pilgrimage was the Ishihama Shrine. Here we collected the card for Jurojin, the God of longevity.


I loved the mixture of the stone and red wooden Tori gates.


After this stop is when my navigation went astray. I marked all of the Temples/Shrines on Google Maps the night before. Unfortunately, I tagged two of the wrong temples. Temples often have the same name. Like saying “First Baptist” or “United Methodist” – there can be more than one in an area. I should have looked at the map I was given at Sensō-ji Temple a little closer. I would have saved us about 1.5 hours of back-tracking.


The good part, we found a delicious conveyor sushi spot to eat lunch. All was not lost!

When we finally arrived back at the Fudodin Temple where we collected the prayer card for Hoteison, the God of good fortune.


If you notice Hotei on the map, you will see this temple was very close to where we just were when we went to the Ishihama Shrine. I added a 1.5-hour detour. Fortunately, we did ride the train and eat lunch for some part of that 1.5 hours.

The Fudodin Temple was small and colorful.


Now we were back on track with two stops remaining. As we were walking towards the Yasaki Inari Shrine, we came upon a vending machine selling beer. Yes! Another new experience! Would we be able to buy a beer? Yes, yes we were! And thanks to my fabulous brother, I had a koozie to keep it cool and my hand warm! Kanpie!


I’m still confused about how this is possibly legal. Regardless, we happily drank our beer and walked to next stop, the Otori Shrine also dedicated to Jurojin. Our second Jurojin – Jurojin is the God of longevity and pictured here with a deer, a symbol of longevity. 


I am not clear why there are two Jurojin on this pilgrimage. There are also two Fukurokuju – we skipped the last one. Here is the Otori Shrine. Small and bright. 


Continuing to the last stop, the Yoshiwara Shrine, we came across a small shrine around the corner from the main Shrine. Both the main and smaller Yoshiwara Shrine are dedicated to Benzaiten, the Goddess of water and music. Check out the artwork!


We continued on to the main Yoshiwara shrine. It was just as embellished!

The main altar. Gotta love the Sake barrels!


The prayer card of Benzaiten.


I took another up close picture of the hanging offering outside the entrance.


And one last selfie at the completion of our journey.


Our branch is now complete with our cute prayer cards for each lucky God.

This is my fourth Seven Lucky Gods. I enjoy them because they take you through parts of an area you wouldn’t normally visit. Plus, I love seeing the different temples/shrines. They are all so unique. Simultaneously, I love the scavenger hunt aspect. Yesterday was the perfect setting for wandering around Asakusa gather luck!

This Seven Lucky Gods pilgrimage was a bit longer than the others I have completed. According to Dave’s Fitbit, we walked 13.30 miles on Saturday. (This also included our trip to the Tokyo SkyTree.) None the less, it was a lot of walking and my side excursion only made it longer. By the time we finished, we were ready for a cold beer to celebrate our pilgrimage. Kanpie! 

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