Saturday, January 26, 2013

Hello Kyoto!

We all headed out this weekend to explore the Kansai region on our own. Most of the group navigated the trains again to Kyoto and visited the Kiyomizudera Temple, founded in 780

The main hall was built in 1633, and the temple was built on a hill with views of Kyoto and mountains in the distance. 

We drank from the healing spring and made wishes/prayers. 

 A few of us had the opportunity to meet a HR Manager for an American company with locations in Japan. She gave us a fascinating perspective of American versus Japanese business practices, and was kind enough to answer questions for Jodie's Leadership Action Project. She was also an excellent tour guide of "Kyoto off the Beaten Path." We enjoyed another fabulous meal of new foods followed by local sweets. Who knew there are so many variations of red bean sweets!

Our gracious host also took us to a temple built for a shogun's wife, which was also a residence. We took off our shoes before entering and carried them through the temple as we toured. We took a minute to kneel outside and appreciate the sounds and sights of nature. Our new Japanese friend said she loved this place and was a bit shocked that Americans also liked the relative silence. We appreciated the sounds of the wind in the trees and the sense of serenity

For a brief moment, we slowed our American minds and time to really get the Japanese sense of appreciating silence and how much we could hear in the "silence."

One bit of trivia she taught us - dragons with 5 talons are for the Emperor, so if you see a dragon with 3 talons, it's a lower-ranking dragon!

We stocked up on gifts for our friends and family at home. It was incredible to see the attention to detail in customer service and the wrapping and presentation of our purchases.

Written by: Jodie Bond

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