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《平如美棠》饶平如

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「女のいない男たち」村上春樹
「職業は武装解除」瀬谷ルミ子

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"Notes on Democracy" Arundhati Roy

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《그렇습니까? 기린입니다》박민규
《소나기》 황순원

~Finished / 読了 / 已读
「コンビニ人間」村田沙耶香
"Factory Girls" Lesley Chang
"Your Republic is Calling You" Kim Young-ha
「色彩を持たない多崎つくると彼の巡礼の年」村上春樹
《裸命》陈冠中
"River Town" Peter Hessler
"Oracle Bones" Peter Hessler
"Country Driving" Peter Hessler
「カンガルー日和」村上春樹
「こころ」夏目漱石
「火の鳥9」 手塚治虫
《呐喊》鲁迅
《娃》莫言
《朋友》余华
"Inside the Kingdom" Robert Lacey
《活着》余华
"A Room of One's Own" Virginia Woolf
「羊をめぐる冒険」村上春樹
《阿Q正传》鲁迅
《倾城之恋 》张爱玲
《茉莉香片》张爱玲
《金锁记》张爱玲
「深夜特急」(2)沢木耕太郎
「1973年のピンボール」 村上春樹
"One Foot In Eden" Ron Rash
「双子の星」宮沢賢治

Touring Hell beneath Fukuoka’s Great Buddha

On August 18, 2012, I met my host mother for the first time in two years. When I studied abroad in Fukuoka, I didn’t live with my host family, but I met with them regularly to travel in northern Kyushu. My host mother brought along her friend, a student from China named Xu Baochang 徐宝昌. She drove us to a tofu restaurant. The decor was Japanese, and we could see the garden from a low window by our table. I ate a tofu hamburger with miso soup, rice, pickled vegetables, and vegetables steamed in a wooden box with various sauces. For desert we had soymilk ice cream and ice coffee.

Tochoji Temple and the Great Buddha of Fukuoka

Next we drove to Tochoji Temple 東長寺 to see the Great Buddha of Fukuoka. Inside a big red tower next to the temple is the 16.1 meter wooden Buddha. Under the Buddha is a jigoku-meguri (地獄巡り), or “Tour of Hell.” We entered through a dark door and an intercom explained the Buddhist hells one by one as we passed lively paintings of torture and misfortune. Finally, we entered a pitch-dark tunnel that wound its way under the statue. I followed the handrail and at last emerged into the light before a painting of three Buddhas, symbolizing escaping hell to enter gokuraku (極楽), or Paradise. We visited the main hall at Tochoji and saw the orange five-story pagoda completed last year. Opposite the pagoda was a wooden hexagonal hall built in 1842, whose doors are only opened once every few years.

The harbor market

We drove to the harbor near Nagahama where my host mother once lived. A little crowded marketplace was selling a variety of sea creatures. Most of the fish, crabs and whatnot were circling little tanks. A bucket squirmed with live octopi. I overheard about as much Chinese as Japanese. After the market, my host mother dropped me off at the post office and we agreed to meet again in two days.

Kieran

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5 Comments

  1. […] My return was part of a five-week trip from Tokyo to Shanghai via Nagasaki by boat. I spent about five days in Fukuoka meeting old friends, teachers, and my host family. (I also wrote a post about the temple of the Great Buddha.) […]

  2. indjagar says:

    Are those living squid in the last picture?

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Kieran Maynard

Kieran Maynard

Writer, translator, researcher, traveler specializing in Japanese and Chinese literature.

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