One last stop on my 2017 hydrangea temple tour was at the Meigetsu-in Temple in Kita-Kamakura. The temple is known for having beautiful blue hydrangeas.
I couldn’t help but giggle to myself when I saw the random off color hydrangea. Each time I thought about the monk who planted the hydrangea. “You had one job – plant the blue ones!” Perhaps, he was colorblind.
The other funny encounter of the day occurred shortly after I paid to enter the temple. A worker approached me quickly and said a bunch of Japanese and then said, “shawl” in perfect English. Excuse, me? She motions for me to put on a shawl over my shoulders (I’m wearing a tank top). I don’t have one. Because it’s summer in Japan and it’s humid. The worker left as quickly as she had approached. Seeing the very confused look on my face, a nice person who witnessed the exchange explains that she would like me to put on a shawl if I had one. I don’t, is it ok if I still visit? Hai, he said. Ok, arigatōgozaimas. Hmmmm. As I’m walking around feeling very self-conscious about my bare shoulders, I see several other ladies in tank tops. I use a little deductive reasoning to determine it wasn’t my shoulders that bothered her. It was my tattoo. My very taboo tattoo to the Japanese. The Japanese associate tattoos with the Japanese mafia. I laugh / roll my eyes every time I think of the possibility someone confusing me with Japanese mafia. Regardless, I learned another lesson. To be respectful of my host nation’s preferences, it is best cover tattoos when visiting temples.