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Japan Days – Meoto Iwa Rocks

June 27,

We wanted to check out the Meoto Iwa (Lovers Rocks).  The rocks jut out of the sea and are joined by a shimenawa (a heavy rope of rice straw) and are considered sacred.  The rope, which weighs over a ton, must be replaced several times a year in a special ceremony.  The larger rock, said to be male, has a small torii at its peak.  Based on the map, we thought walking there would be a breeze.  After strolling along for some time, we reached the end of the sidewalk and were blocked by a number of criss-crossing, busy highways.  Shit.  We rolled into the nearest 7-11 to ask for directions.  After an exhausting bout of questions, doodles, hand gestures, and attempting to explain our goal of getting to the bad boy rocks with the 7-11 staff, a little girl about 15 offered her assistance.  She was the only one who could speak a little bit of English.  She looked at our map, looked at us, and then ran out the door and said, “Follow me!”  In front of a mini-van, she had a conversation with an older woman and then turned to us with a big smile and happily exclaimed, ‘My mum will drive you there’!  The drive was hilarious.  The bright girl named Emina talked all about her love for One Direction and Disney’s Ariel.  While her mother could not speak English, her sarcastic tone and facial expressions were so funny and easy to understand.  She drove us for what seemed like forever and we finally reached the rocks.  The two of them walked us to the temple and showed us the proper ritual for the shrine.  They were both so warm and completely embodied the sheer grace and generosity of Japanese people.

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